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England vs USA vs Iran: Big brother and little brother meet in the World Cup with an old nemesis waiting

by Ron Poblete

Recently updated on November 30, 2022 02:52 pm

IF there was a match in this Qatar World Cup that is a classic big brother against little brother, England against USA fits the bill. England played against the United States Saturday morning. It was much anticipated because of the significance of the two teams’ history in the sport and how those two somewhat intertwine. 

England is the home of football, the Britons invented the game. Even though they are one of the top teams in the world, they haven’t won the ultimate prize since 1966 and that was the only time they did.

The USA team on the other hand still calls the game soccer when everyone else in the world calls it football. The Americans instead used the word football on another sport which is amusing because their version of it does not involve kicking the ball very often. 

Gridiron, the English term to describe the American version of football, makes more sense as the playing pitch is divided into grids. 

There’s even a funny advertisement that portrays this with one of Football’s legendary stars, David Beckham and former National Football League star Peyton Manning arguing what the right term is to use for the sport. David says Football while Peyton comes back with Soccer. It’s a funny exchange but the differences do not stop there.

This is England’s No. 1 sport as it is in most European countries. In the United States, there is American Football, Baseball and Basketball, while Soccer is relegated to probably a close 4th. American soccer is steadily growing in the United States though in the last few decades. 

Ever since 1993, the sport’s popularity has increased beyond expectations. You can probably credit USA soccer’s development to the creation of their own professional league that can stand side by side with their more established sports leagues like the NFL, NBA and MLB. 

What’s exciting for the fans is that USA soccer can now be compared favorably to its much older European counterpart in terms of quality and style based on recent performances most especially this latest head to head with England.

Comparing England and the USA is like choosing between Madonna and Taylor Swift. You want the former to make a huge comeback because it’s nostalgic but the new girl is just more exciting and sorta brand new. 

And it favors the Americans that it is typical to root for the underdog.

USA needs to win its final match against Iran to stand a chance in securing a berth in the next round of 16. The political implications of such a match is unavoidable. Chants of Death to America in Iran, US incursions in the middle east, the decades old chilly relationship between the two countries with contrasting ideological views will be thrown into the arena of sports. 

The fact that this will be a winner- take- all game because of the points needed by both teams to advance, has the makings of a combustible match up. The US needs to win it to take the 2nd spot in the group while Iran only needs to draw to make it.

England, by winning and drawing its match against Iran and the US respectively, is almost guaranteed to move on to the second round at this stage unless Wales wins big against them and the US wins against Iran or Iran wins against the US or Iran draws the US. England, USA, Iran and Wales are in group B in the tournament. England has 4 points, Iran 3, USA 2 and Wales 1 point.

This World Cup is just getting better and better.

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