December 06, 2005

Bruce Arena - Wanker.: US coach opens his mouth. Australia and Trinidad seek an opportunity to shut it. As we say in my part of the world - 'he's up himself'. The group draw awaits.

posted by owlhouse to soccer at 08:45 PM - 24 comments

Idiot. Arena's done a reasonable job in the 7+ years he's managed the US but this is out of order. We know he's an arrogant knob but in the past he's been smart enough to keep his trap shut. He may be right on T & T, but not on the Australia I saw play against Uruguay. The point is, why say anything at all? He was savvy enough to say the second round should be our target, essentially (and correctly, imho) telling the US press that it's not realistic for them to assume we should make the last four just because we were quarterfinalists in Korea. And then he has to go and open his gob with this crap? Hey Bruce...from now until July the 19th...shut the fuck up!

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 09:06 PM on December 06, 2005

However T&T will have to wait until the second round to give Bruce his comeuppance. They are seeded with the US and can't end up in the same first round group.

posted by owlhouse at 09:12 PM on December 06, 2005

actual quote, in context: "All the groups are going to be hard, and there are no givens," he says. "The last time around the easy games were China and Saudi Arabia. This time around you'd probably say Australia and Trinidad & Tobago are the weak ones. But Australia has basically all its players in Europe, and Trinidad has a guy [Dwight Yorke] who was once arguably the top striker in soccer."

posted by drjimmy11 at 09:46 PM on December 06, 2005

Read the linked article. As you note, he actually used the words 'easy games' and 'weak ones'. The 'context' you mention is merely the usual dissembling and mantra/cliche about 'no easy games in football'. He knew what he was saying and Australia and T&T have a right to use those words to motivate themselves. I've always thought US soccer lives in a bubble of its own making. This does not convince me otherwise.

posted by owlhouse at 10:01 PM on December 06, 2005

Probably foolish to name names but, geez, out of 32 teams some have to be easier to beat than others. Not sure why he included the Aussies but at least for T&T he has plenty of head to head games to judge by.

posted by billsaysthis at 10:09 PM on December 06, 2005

You really have to be searching hard for an insult for this to be insulting. But then again there are always people looking for that, I guess....

posted by tieguy at 10:20 PM on December 06, 2005

But owlhouse, Arena knows not to portray the team in a bubble, you can sense that in the link I provided, but he ran his mouth anyway. His comments insulted the teams and the coutries who support them...doesn't take an Einstein to see that. Those words will absolutely be locker room motivation if we play Australia or T&T and it points to the purpose of my rant: why say anything at all? I can only stand up as one US supporter in saying in general, I like Arena and what he's done with the team, but I don't support any trash-talking from the US players, coaches or supporters. We're not so far along in World Cup history to proclaim anything other than giving our very best in every game, fighting for every blade of grass. Of all the players I've ever seen wear the American shirt, only Brian McBride epitomizes this ethic. When the day comes and the US is a world footballing power, and I do believe that day will come, I hope we remember our humble beginnings and honor the efforts of those who shed blood, sweat and tears before them. There is no honor in arrogance.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 10:37 PM on December 06, 2005

I believe American players are capable of reaching the same fever-pitch-ohmigod-my-life-depends-on-it passion as any players anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, it's sad that the same cannot be said for the American public at large.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 10:41 PM on December 06, 2005

Thanks Tex (and TBH on preview). I realise the press exists to generate controversy of this kind. And to push the 'righteous anger' button on the front of every football fan's head. In latest developments, Arena has gone into damage control. I agree that any US coach is going to be in a difficult position through having to hose down expectations from the sports press in the States, who don't give a rat's arse about football most of the time. For the US (and for Australia) a second round berth would be a good/tremendous achievement. I think I would be less angry if the Brazil or Argentina coach said we are going to be an easy game. But they wouldn't, because we've beaten or drawn with them before. Not England either, as Sven remembers us beating the Poms 3-1 at Upton Park a couple of years ago. But the feeling in Australia is that we are at least the equal of countries like the US, depite the rankings. Last time we played? 0-0 in San Jose with our team, I think, made up of A-based players rather than those in the European leagues.

posted by owlhouse at 10:57 PM on December 06, 2005

Way to go, Bruce! Nothing like perpetuating the cocky American persona. It's no wonder we are so disliked internationally (and not just our politics). Instead of lighting a fire under prospective opponents, how 'bout lighting one under your own guys, or better yet, the US fans. God knows you don't have enough support here as it is.

posted by willthrill72 at 12:55 AM on December 07, 2005

we are so disliked internationally Dude - and Australia are members of the Coalition of the Willing, dammit.

posted by owlhouse at 01:04 AM on December 07, 2005

Arena's such a dimwit. England are clearly the weakest team in the competition.

posted by squealy at 04:55 AM on December 07, 2005

I'll go along with Squealy on that one. They couldn't even squeeze a draw out of us, and we, not so very long ago, went 13 consecutive games without scoring a goal. Then again, the point is well made that out of 32 teams some will be weaker than others and it's fair game to say so, even if you pick the wrong ones. But the feeling in Australia is that we are at least the equal of countries like the US, depite the rankings. I mean this in the nicest way, because I think it's precisely the thing that makes your nation such a great sporting nation, but when was the last time any of your boys (in any sport) thought of themselves as anyone's equal?

posted by JJ at 06:38 AM on December 07, 2005

US soccer has always sucked. They benefit from FIFA's generous rankings. And hardly anyone in the US really cares about soccer when they have the other 4 major sports and NASCAR. Regardless of where they get put in the draw or what Bruce Arena says or doesn't say, the US won't win a World Cup in anyone's lifetime on this board. They won't even come close.

posted by tadley86 at 07:53 AM on December 07, 2005

Actually - I didn't find the quote to be terribly insulting. This is typical North American sport-speak. However, I don't think anyone really believes the US is the 8th best team in the world. If they were, it wouldn't be so bad. Fuel for the fire owlhouse. He called you guys easy to beat.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:07 AM on December 07, 2005

I fail to see how this is insulting, or even overly arrogant. He was asked a question, he gave an answer. In all honesty, I'm sure that most teams would be satisfied having Australia and (especially) Trinidad in their group. Dwight Yorke is their best player, and he's been crap for years and years. I thought he'd retired, in fact. The only other team that crap is Iran. USA v Iran would be interesting (although didn't they play in the 2002 world cup?). Or even USA v France!

posted by afx237vi at 08:22 AM on December 07, 2005

afx237vi, it was '98 when the US played and lost 1-0 to Iran, safely securing 32nd place. Here's Landon Donovan's take on Friday's draw. That's more like it.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 11:31 AM on December 07, 2005

Arena probably shouldn't have said those things, but the Australian report blows it way out of proportion. He only hurt himself with that kind of comment, but that article was more than just a tad biased. "Our squad has a lot more quality than theirs and I would back [Socceroos coach] Guus Hiddink against any coach." "Tobin, who captained Australia in their most recent game against the US seven years ago - 0-0 draw in San Jose - said: "I'd say he just doesn't know a lot about Australian football. I'd dismiss it. I think Australia will be very competitive at the World Cup. I'd be very, very confident about Australia knocking off the US, with all due respect to the US." Sorry, seven years ago? And that's what some of this is being based off of? A lot changes in seven years.

posted by MGoWhere? at 12:43 PM on December 07, 2005

Bruce Arena is one of the winningest coaches in soccer history, certainly if you're counting championships. And he's brought the US team up from 26th to 8th during his tenure. Oh, but surely those rankings are screwed up now in a way that they didn't used to be, right? Because FIFA really wants the US to shine in the rankings, but not on the field? I call bullshit. Sure, Arena should dissemble, and not give any specific answers to the crap questions he's asked. He's prickly in person, and he probably cheats on his wife, but he's a damn good soccer coach, and anyone who says the US is total crap hasn't watched 'em play recently. The only time T&T beats the US is when they have that referee Prendergrast out there with them. Dwight Yorke is a has-been. I gather the Aussies have a good team this time around. It should be fun to see 'em play. This is all typical storm-in-a-teacup twaddle, and I think if it weren't for the current foreign-policy posturing of the US's inept leaders, I reckon nobody would notice. Brian McBride has been playing well again, but he's pretty foolhardy with his face. And Landon Donovan impresses me despite how much I loathe him. So Bruce Arena might be a wanker. Anyone who takes a coach's prattle this seriously is a wanker too. Myself included.

posted by Hugh Janus at 01:08 PM on December 07, 2005

I am so looking forward to the SpoFi threads this June and July! SportsFilter: WorldWideWankers United!

posted by billsaysthis at 04:26 PM on December 07, 2005

but when was the last time any of your boys (in any sport) thought of themselves as anyone's equal I was trying to be nice. I know it's unusual for us. McGo Where pointed out the quotes from ex-players in the linked article. That's more like it. We tend to play better when underdogs (or against the big nations) as this mentality meshes with our national chip on the shoulder. How do you think someone like Landon Donovan would stand up to some good old Aussie sledging?

posted by owlhouse at 07:12 PM on December 07, 2005

How do you think someone like Landon Donovan would stand up to some good old Aussie sledging? I don't know if he swings that way, but if so, I imagine if you buy him a few drinks he'd be cool with it. Not sure about the white water rafting though.

posted by scully at 08:37 PM on December 07, 2005

Sven says the last team we want to play are the "English speaking countries". Is that enough respect for you, convicts?

posted by squealy at 06:38 PM on December 08, 2005

I have the sneaking suspicion we're going to get England.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 01:44 PM on December 09, 2005

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