USA vs England and the path towards respect and rivalry

Growing up in the Detroit suburbs in the 1970s and 1980s, Alexi Lalas was one of those American kids who knew there was another type of football.

“My father was Greek so we had more of an affinity towards soccer even though it was a sport that a lot of other parents hadn’t been exposed to or hadn’t heard of,” the former United States defender tells The Athletic.

But he didn’t know the name Joe Gaetjens and he didn’t know anything about the U.S. beating England at the 1950 World Cup in what remains one of the richest and most evocative underdog stories.


The history of American soccer “wasn’t something you read about or heard about growing up and it certainly wasn’t something you learned about at school”, Lalas says.

He first heard about it in 1993, when he was part of a U.S. team preparing for the following year’s World Cup on home soil, looking forward to facing England in a warm-up tournament at Foxboro Stadium, Massachusetts.

It seemed almost incomprehensible to him…

This story appeared first on, 2022-11-24.
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