england

A week from Thursday the 2018 World Cup will commence in Russia, the nation that’s been waging cyber warfare for against us for the past three years, at least. The United States Men’s National Team didn’t qualify because getting a result against lowly Trinidad & Tobaggo just proved to difficult a task to bear.

With the Stars & Stripes staying home, Americans need a team to adopt, but who? It’s entirely up to you, but really the choice should be the nation your ancestors came from, as all of us our immigrants, and as we know, immigrants- they get the job done!

There are two nations, England and Mexico, with extensive ties to the United States of America that make them a “next logical step” for USMNT fans to take in regards to rooting interest during the 2018 World Cup. Let’s look at the pros and cons for both.

mexico chicarito mexican national team

Of course, you can always sign up for one of those DNA test results, to be more certain (or at least get confirmation) of where your ancestry originates from and thus determine your rooting interest that way.

With 4% British blood, and another 7% from elsewhere in the United Kingdom, I’m going Three Lions all the way, just like I did in 2014, and it was miserable.

(It’s still not too late for me to adopt Poland instead, right? Robert Lewandowski is a tour de force and I have so much Polish blood, and everyone keeps warning me not to jump on the England bandwagon).

The Case for England

The Brits have been our closest ally in the entire world for more than a century, and they’re literally the mother country. We share so much heritage and a language with the nation that invented the beautiful game.

Plus they have so many patriotic songs and fight songs, it’s ridiculous. You already know their songs, and the songs you don’t know you actually do know once you hear them. Given how popular the Premier League is in America, and continues to surge in popularity, England is the team with the most number of players that Americans have heard of. It’s the nation most synonymous with soccer in the USA.

mexico el tri

The Case for Mexico

In America, you will not find more zealous and dedicated soccer fans than Mexican-American and Mexican soccer fans. They really are the primary demographic that helps sustain and grow the sport here. Mexico is our only neighbor to qualify, and the broadcast rights holders of the 2018 World Cup really want us to support them.

(well, actually this is a point against them, as all sports media companies only care about the sports they have broadcast rights to, and do not care about any sports they don’t have broadcast rights to). Mexico is however, battling Portugal for the title of best “greatest country in the world!!!” according to The Simpsons.

mexico portugal

the-simpsons-soccer-manchester-united

The Case Against England

There is a definite pre-2016 Chicago Cubs or Purdue basketball vibe to this franchise. No matter how well things are going, at any point in time, there is still a sense of imminent doom. The guy at the soccer kit shop in Manchester warned me in 2014 before the Brazil World Cup. And again before the 2016 Euros.

Or as another business partner in Britain told me over email last month: “Haha – don’t get your hope us, mate – we’ll flatter to deceive, bore everyone senseless, and go out early again, for sure!” 

30 years of hurt have become 50 now. Watch this video below, and pay attention to the lyrics:

SB Nation analogized every single team in the 2018 World Cup with a college football program, and England was Notre Dame. The justification is as follows:

Maybe the easiest pick on the board. Old money + not all that great since the middle of the previous century + a landmark figure in the history of the sport + sprawling fanbase + huge letdowns that are letdowns despite everyone seeing them coming + always on NBC = Notre Dame.

We also did that article four years ago, but with basketball analogized to that World Cup’s round of 16.

Getting back t0 England though- who would willingly sign up for inevitable heart break?

mexico panama

The Case Against Mexico

Quoting SB Nation again, in their Mexico description: “Fired up! Always top 20, but never No. 1! Probably a little too passionate! How about Oklahoma State?”

They’re right about the too passionate part, as El Tri supporters have an awful, offensive, horribly socially regressive chant that they even use on their own team sometimes. Sadly, despite all the efforts to abolish it, they only seem to be doing it more and more. Also, there is that whole bitter rivalry between USA-Mexico, you know the Dos a Cero thing and what not, so rooting for them, in the idea of supposed CONCACAF solidarity, would seem very unnatural.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.


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