I won't lie to anyone, I'd always thought soccer was a game for the kids who were scared of getting hurt playing football. I know, I know, it's football to the rest of the world, but I don't think I'll ever get around to calling it that. I'd watch on ESPN every now and then, but never with much interest. That changed in 2007 while I was deployed. We stopped in Australia on our way home and naturally me and my buddies found our way to the bars. There was one that stood out to us because it claimed to be an English Pub. We have a few in the States, and they're always a good time, so we figured that would be our best bet. We walked in the door to find a sea of red. We had heard of "firms" before, but had never realized they existed outside of England. We were a little nervous because we were severely outnumbered and the crowd didn't look to welcoming for outsiders. However this didn't last long as one of the guys in the bar was an Aussie Marine and quickly recognized us as kindred spirits. He called us over and gave us the scoop on what the bar was all about, Manchester United Football. There just happened to be a game on and so we were quickly given a crash course in why Manchester was great and Liverpool (I think) were a bunch of "fuckin cunts".
This past year, I was deployed again. This time I was on shore in Jordan, and we got a chance to get on the field with the Jordanian Marines. This is where I got my true interest in the game. I couldn't remember the last time I was that tired! Now, thanks to ESPN360, I've been able to follow the Premier and Champions Leagues and am getting pretty fired up for the World Cup.
The point of all this, is that despite my recently found interest, I still lack true knowledge of the game. Obviously my allegiances will lie with the American team, but I'll more than likely be pulling for England as well. I'd appreciate any "expert" analysis on either team as well as other teams that could be contenders for the Cup. Team strengths, player analysis, anything would be helpful. Thanks a lot guys.