The 2022 World Cup is just 231 days away. Remember: B is for Baby Eagles. The United States will face England in the Robert Green Memorial Derby, Iran in a rematch of 1998’s Great Satan Clash. We must wait til June to find out if Wales, Scotland or Ukraine join them. If it is the latter, the opening foes could be named the Group of the National Security Council.
The US-England game will kick off at 2pm ET on Black Friday. The English tabloids have responded with a searing overconfidence:
Arrogance at General John Burgoyne levels. Battle of Yorktown 2 Electric Boogaloo baby. The reality is, though the English media may look through the group, the English players will not. They have fallen for the overconfidence thing twice, once in 1950, and then again in 2010. Gareth Southgate’s squad is deep, spirited, and experienced in tournament journeys. Iran too will pose a tough challenge to be broken down.
I have no doubt our Baby Eagles can emerge from the group. To do that, they must play simple football, with defined and known roles, including the captaincy. Crucially, they must cut out mistakes. In CONCACAF, errors are not always punished. In the World Cup they will be. But big picture, our young team is so talented. Though they must play both their opponents and the ghosts of the past, the key will be their mental approach to the games – and for that, so much falls on the coach, Gregg Berhalter. When you speak to veterans from previous teams, they will admit when they took the field against powerhouse opponents, deep down they did not expect to win. Lesser. We have always felt lesser. We cannot. We have to feel more. I loved this tweet from GFOP @josephruscitti: England has 0 Super Bowl trophies, 0 SEC championships, and 0 Been To The Moon trophies. I like our odds.
I will admit, I did have a dream Friday night in which Christian Pulisic scored the winning goal against England at the World Cup and reeled away to unfurl a t-shirt which screamed, “IT’S CALLED SOCCER.”
2. Christian Eriksen’s return is one of the greatest storylines the Premier League has ever seen
Christian Eriksen’s inspirational return from Cardiac Arrest continues. The winner the Danish star netted in the Bees barnstorming 4-1 win at Chelsea was his third goal in his last 4 games for club and country. An elite player who has faced death and become transcendent. On a more pragmatic note, Eriksen’s arrival has been emotional and humanly wonderful, but it has also appeared to be incredible business. “We are staying up,” sang the Brentford fans while watching their team dispense an Atomic Wedgie to the World Champions. It is Eriksen who has saved their season.
3. Jesse Marsch is an incredible human being
You can't kid a kidder, but you can press a presser. Against Southampton, Leeds drove Ralph Hasenhüttl’s team backwards. Jack Harrison’s goal was negated by a stunning free kick from James Ward-Prowse, who took sole possession of second place in most free kicks scored, behind only David Beckham (and was named James More Towels by the closed captioning). Marsch later said that kind of a chance is “like a penalty to Ward-Prowse.” Leeds march on. 7 games to go for them. Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea still to come. A win at Watford next weekend will alleviate their relegation fears.
You can watch the entirety of my interview with Jesse Marsch here. It is all kinds of amazing. His life narrative and the lessons he has gleaned from it are so unbelievably affirming. Subscribe to all of our YouTube content. There is more going up all the time.
4. Everton's Season rests on Wednesday Night
We march on. And by march on, I mean experience 16 defeats in 21 games. This is the face you make when you realize screaming at the television might not impact matters 3,000 miles away.
I have come to realize being an Evertonian is a peculiar form of masochistic self-harm. As voluntary as it is excruciating. How bad are Frank Lampard’s Everton? When the club has been at its best, we have always been a collective. Baines & Pienaar, Jagielka & Lescott. There is not a single current player whose name you say, and you immediately associate with a teammate. I would love to see stats on Richarlison passes to DCL and vice versa. The two never seem to look for each other. Two individuals who coincidentally turn up at a party wearing the same outfit, and decide to ignore each other from opposite sides of the room.
The game this Wednesday at Burnley will determine everything. The Clarets keeled over against Manchester City as if they were keeping their powder dry. In their last eight games, they faced two other relegation battlers and only one big 6 opponent. Everton still have to play Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal. It is always darkest just before the Nighttime. Isn’t that what they say?
@MikeyBagels_Lox gave me what passed as a moment of pride by sending this article: Everton beat Liverpool and Man Utd... for most fake shirts seized at UK ports
Louis van Gaal Godspeed
LVG has just revealed on Dutch television that he is battling Prostate Cancer. Wishing that singular outspoken king strength in this battle. We are all Louis van Gaal’s Army.
Blood, Sweat, and Beers
a. Cameron Carter-Vickers scores in an Old Firm Derby. I think the USMNT may have found their permanent Number 9
b. I am interviewing Phil Foden this week. Let me know what questions you have got for him. Email me here
That is it for today. We will be back tomorrow with a European Nights Podcast. We will Greenroom at the final whistle of Wednesday’s Champions League games and Burnley victory. I am going to leave you with this magical profile of Rose Matafeo, whose HBO show Starstruck is incredibly compelling, mostly because of her performance. I love this line: “I’m not embarrassed of emotion, and feeling things, and sharing things that don’t make me look like the most put-together person.”
Pray for Everton