Thursday, May 29, 2008


DID YOU KNOW that the United States soccer team played England in an international match at the new Wembley Stadium last night?

You can be forgiven for missing it. It seems much of the U.S media did.

David Beckham’s high-profile arrival in Los Angeles less than a year ago was greeted by a huge media fanfare.

But judging by the coverage – or lack of it – of last night’s game, television, radio, newspapers and the sports websites have returned to their usual summer diet of basketball and baseball.

For the record, a United States team minus leading goalscorer Landon Donovan due to a groin injury, was comprehensively outplayed in a 2-0 defeat.

It will take more than a week for John Terry to get over the penalty miss that cost Chelsea the Champions League trophy.

But he at least took the first step to recovery by scoring England’s opening goal.

There’s a big difference between the Champions League final and a low-key international friendly.

Following England’s failure to qualify for the finals of the European Championship, which are being staged in Austria and Switzerland next month, there was little more than national pride at stake.

Terry bounces back from Champions League nightmare

But for Terry, at least, it was chance to “get back on the bike” after his Moscow misery.

Handed the captain’s armband by manager Fabio Capello, he responded by giving England a 38th minute lead with a powerful header.

Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard made it 2-0 after 59 minutes to send the majority of fans in a crowd of 71,233 home happy.

Beckham, presented with a golden cap by Sir Bobby Charlton before the game to mark his 100th England appearance against France in March, was not surprised to see Terry bounce back.

“He was disappointed by last week and will still be hurting for a while yet. But he’ll get over it,” said Becks.

“Tonight we all saw the man and the player he is. He’s one of the strongest characters I’ve seen in football. Every one of us was happy when he scored.”

Terry was happy his season did not end on a sour note. “It was a relief really to have the England game rather than have to wait the whole summer to dwell on what happened in Moscow.

“The manager gave me a huge boost when he told me I was going to be captain and, hopefully, I’ve repaid him.”

Last night, it was the United States team who were feeling down. They never seriously troubled England goalkeeper David James.

They could have done with the attacking power of Brian McBride, the striker who announced earlier in the day that he was leaving Premier League club Fulham to return to the USA.

A sad day all round for United States’ soccer.

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