At Least We're Not England: Why the US Lost

OK, so before we go any farther I'd simply like to refer everyone to THIS ARTICLE from last May.

If you want, skip down about halfway.

After you get done being utterly stunned by my clairvoyance, continue reading to the end and you'll pretty much get what the soccersphere is now struggling mightily to put into words.

Next time I get one wrong you might want to remember this before you break a finger or two pounding out ten paras on what an imbecile I am.

All I can think of to add is: Drinks are on me.

The bad news is, as you know, the US will not be hosting Wolrd Cup 2022.

The good news is, we're not England.

Because while not getting the finals is, for all of us, a huge disappointment, for England it is nothing short of an abject humiliation.

Ever since that fateful day last Fall when Jack Warner told a group of reporters that England is "too arrogant" in feeling that they have some kind of "right" to host a Woeld Cup and the he himself intended to do "whatever is necessary" to prevent that from happpening, Old Blighty has in a very real sense sold their souls in an effort to appease the frightening old pirate.

The list of personal obeisance they've performed and the humiliations they've endured since then is long and ugly. The England T&T game that was nothing short of a bribe. The head of the FA being forced to attend Warner's testimonial dinner because Jack felt he had been "disrespected".

On and on England groveled. The handbag Warner gave back. The David Beckham Academy in Port of Spain. The groveling from Prince William. The groveling from the Prime Minister. On and on and on it went.

In the end it got them nothing. Well, except for the laughter that Warner is surely directing their way. And they funniest part: we'll never know if Warners' three votes went for England or not.

For our part, we can console ourselves with the facts: another World Cup in the USA this soon was probably always too much to hope for. Yes, we kept coming back to all the money we could generate and nobody questioned that for a second.

But the main reason they wanted the finals in the US in 94 was as a legacy project to help get MLS off the ground.

Mission accomplished.

In a way, maybe we were victims of our own success: FIFA looks at the American soccer scene and the steady growth and progress the game is making here and they don't see what having another one here in 2022 would accomplish, aside from stuffing FIFA's coffers with cash which most of them won't ever get to spend.

But the bottom line is that we took our best shot, we lost, and we can walk away with our heads held high.

For England, they slink out of Zurich with red faces after spending the last 24 months bowing and scraping at Jack Warners' feet, and came away with nothing but his bootprints on their backs.

Not only did they lose, they apparently got fewer votes than anyone else in the first round.

There's losing, and then there's losing ugly. The US lost. England lost ugly.

Was it the Jennings/BBC Panorama thing? I'm certain some people will say so but you have to doubt it.

First of all, it did no one any damage at all. Those guys are all pretty bulletproof and in any case Jennings had very little new to tell and nothing at all that isn't over 20 years old. Besides. this is the thrid or fourth Panprama special Jennings has done on FIFA.

Plus, those 22 old farts aren't stupid; they understand that England can't control what their media says.

So while it likely annoyed some of them a bit, you have to doubt if made any real difference.

Mostly, in the end it appeared that, simply, nobody liked the England bid.

And after that it was always going to be Russia. FIFA has made it clear that they don't like multiple-nation bids and have already announced that this is the last time they'll even accept them, which put Belgium/Holland and Spain/Portugal behind the eight ball from the start.

Now we're reading and hearing a lot about how it was all about the money and how Russia and Qatar were the most effective bribers and there may be some truth to it.

Mostly it's just sour grapes. Alexi Lalas sounded like an idiot on ESPN making the argument.

But I think that we - and I certainly include myself - tend to ignore the fact that while the ExCo as a whole operates on a "What's In It For Me" basis, they remind one of Henry II writing his own epitaph in "The Lion in Winter":

"He cared for justice when he could".

And money and intrigue aside, these guys needed a larger rationale, an actual, bona fide, honest to goodness valid reason to vote for a bidder.

Everybody brings the money. South Africa was basically a dud and FIFA pocketed something like two billion dollars.

England and the US lost because we didn't have another reason besides the money.