Like most Americans that fancy football--or as we say in the states, soccer--I turn my eyes to Kingston with the US Men's National Team looking to grab hold of their group. The possibility may in fact exist for The Stars and Stripes to be set-up for a disappointing night against Jamaica. The team has yet to ever take the full 3 points from a game play in Independence Park. However, the Yanks did just are come out of Azetca with their first ever win and there are plenty of believers who think a first could be in store for tonight as well.
What makes this specific game so unique to the Fulham club, is that they don't actually have a player to support in the match. For years and years back before I was even a Fulham supporter, US Mens National team call-ups were a regular thing around West London. Now, for the first time in... well I'm not quite sure how long... but let's say, roughly, the last decade (actually, I just found an article that says since 2003, so I was close).
It seems so strange that the Whites were not impacted by the US Qualifier and as many have pointed out, Fulhamerica may have come to an end.Between Carlos Bocanegra, Brian McBride, Eddie Johnson, Clint Dempsey and Kasey Keller the Cottagers have been home for quite a few National Team stars. While this bond may end their International streak for the Yanks, Fulham still has a few different members of the club abroad representing their various countries proudly, and in the highest capacity.
Currently we've seen Chris Baird and Aaron Hughes, representing Northern Ireland. Unfortunately they lost to the juggernauts coming out of Russia. They still have a chance to collect points as they face off against Luxemburg, which I didn't even know had it's own football team. But apparently they do. So congrats for however long that's been going on... which is probably been awhile knowing my keen inability to realize global facts.
Bryan Ruiz, Costa Rica,is part of the starting XI taking on Mexico tonight in what is probably the most exciting game for those of us in America. Not only do we get to root for a guy who looks to take a huge step forward this year for our team. He's also taking on our rivals from the south, and Lord knows I'd love to see them stumble and loose out on any points.
Brede Hangeland, the Captain of Norway football. will lead his boys against the evils of Iceland. You know those guys that we all hated in the Mighty Ducks. Their mean and their 90% blonde. What's there really to like, am I right? All jokes aside, Hangeland has been quick to set aside any notion that they should coast through this game.
"All matches will be difficult. This is a very even group. We should be happy that we avoided the top nations, but there are no easy opponents in the pot. It is not impossible to qualify. If we play to our best, we are good enough. We need to focus."
It should be an interesting match and possibly the closest out of all the ones that represent the Whites. Norway is considered a front runner to win Group E out of the European zone qualifier.
Dimitar Berbatov actually turned down the opportunity to return Bulgeria in their upcoming match against But has been removed from the team since 2010. Citing "The boys will manage without me. I have not been playing for Bulgaria, I have lost my rhythm". Berbatov is just one of three Fulham players who have retired from International play. Both Simon Davies and Damien Duff have both recently retired from their national clubs, Wales and Ireland, respectively.
With Premier matches put on hold for the next few weeks it should be fun just to sit back and watch our guys out there representing their countries and it'll be a nice way to put behind the horrible buisness that happened at West Ham, last weekend.