Such is the coverage of the World Cup in some sections of the US media that readers might be forgiven for thinking that English fans have been thinking about nothing but tonight’s match for months. It’s big … but it’s not that big … and then there's the English press who get all territorial about Americans getting into football.
Robert Burns of Fox (the Murdoch-owned ultra right-wing news network) lost the plot after two Liverpool ‘fans’ were photographed burning an US flag as a protest against his club’s American owners. Referring to “this group of myopic peasants [who] took it upon themselves to desecrate the American flag – the Stars and Stripes which represents 300 million people”, he wrote:
“Interested to know which country has purchased the most World Cup tickets for South Africa? That’s right, it’s baseball-loving, Budweiser-drinking, hamburger-grilling America.
“I’m well aware that the U.S. squad in South Africa needs little more motivation to kick England’s butt this Saturday, but I hope this little display of British stupidity ignites a nation.
“I hope U.S. fans rally like never before behind our players and give them the support that those folks in England believe is beyond our grasp. On Saturday, it’ll be time to stop speaking softly and put that big stick to some use.”
The British press are, in their own way, just as bad. The Sun published a typically xenophobic front page on Saturday mocking the widely-held perception that Americans and football are not happy bedfellows.
“Here’s hopin’ that England United shoot some totally awesome strikes past the goaltender in the soccerball world series today”
And this is just the start of the tournament …
Meanwhile, it's emerged that USA fans are set to outnumber England fans in Rustenburg. According to the tournament organisers, around 8,000 USA fans have bought tickets compared to 6,000 from England.