U.S.-England; how the UK papers saw it

The starting 11 from Saturday's 1-1 draw with England in Rustenburg. You might note the man in orange, even if most English papers decided not to.

PRETORIA, South Africa – You saw the scene. You’ve perused the match reports. You’ve chewed on the outcome – and it wasn’t too bitter or salty, matter of fact.

If you need to stuff your U.S.-England stocking just a little bit more, you can check out my story and player ratings at SI.com, or the sidebar on Tim Howard and Steve Cherundolo leading the way.

Otherwise, for something a little different, perhaps you’ll be interested to know how they saw things back in the ETO, the European Theater of Operations.

The lack of mention of Tim Howard is perhaps most interesting element of the match reports coming out of England. Howard got high marks in the ratings, so it’s not like anybody who spells color with a "u" thought ill of the U.S. No. 1. They just don’t really mention his contributions to the 1-1 draw in the match reports.

I don’t think it’s a particular slight, for Howard is quite well respected there. There was just so much in the way of goalkeeping to drag around and kick at from England’s side. (And you know those tabs can be crueler than a gaggle of 13-year-old girls.)

So, having spent some space on their own goalkeeping calamity, they had to then address the rest of the night from the Three Lions perspective. They went on about Wayne Rooney’s conspicuously quiet night. They beat the old Lampard-Gerrard war horse some more. You know, how they just don’t work in tandem. They blamed England for sitting too deep after the goal, but specifically pointed fingers at the Lampard-Gerrard tendency to miss opportunities at runs into the box.

They took the whuppin’ stick to Fabio Capello for his choice of Robert Green over David James. (By the way, James was the first man into the mixed zone interview area, where the athletes have to make their way through a mouse’s maze as journalists line up along the way. The players have to exit this way, so this is the opportunity to speak. So, here comes James straight away, first one out, happy to stop along the way – looking a little smug about it all, truth be known.)

Besides all that, I believe that assessing the goalkeeper gets higher priority in American journalism. It’s probably a throwback to the days of when U.S. writers didn’t know enough about the game to write with much depth. But they could always talk about saves and quote the goalkeeper, where in England they tend to vote thumbs up or thumbs down and move on to more involved bits and bites of the proceedings.

Here’s a fairly typical, succinct summation, representative of most others. You’ll find no mention of Howard.

So much for Capello's new focus and sense of purpose – here was the soul-sappingly familiar tale of Englandflattering to deceive. Early promise subsided into muddling mediocrity until a final flourish almost fooled us into thinking we might actually score. Green's pathetic mistake could shatter his career, never mind his tournament, but the game was really up when we lostrelinquished control after the initial euphoria wore off and poor passing and possession let the USA back into the game and we were fortunate Altadore carried on where he left off at Hull last season. Gerrard was England's best player but like Cole and Rooney stayed too deep for too long. Rooney was wasted in a static central role. Heskey was a fine target man but it was pointless bringing on Crouch if he had no support. Johnson had a good second half but his attacking forays exposed Carragher's lack of pace. The USAdefended strongly in their box but gave us plenty of room in midfield in the second half. They had the best chances until our final desperate push. The best part of the World Cup is always the glorious wave of unifying optimism before a ball is kicked. Back to reality – England to stagger into the next phase.

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