In yer face, England

As England and the USA prepare to face off at the World Cup in South Africa, CNN recalls the Americans’ shocking victory over England at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil.

In the group stages of the 1950 World Cup finals in Brazil, center back Walter Bahr marshaled his collection of semi-professionals (mainly postmen and miners) to a 1-0 victory against arguably the best team in the world…

While the rest of the world reacted with stunned disbelief — legend has it several British newspapers didn’t report the score at first, fearing that it had been mistyped and England had really won 10-0 — back home Team USA’s exploits had been met with almost complete indifference.

I think a US victory this time would be greeted a lot more enthusiastically– although I’m afraid the passion for soccer in this country will never come close to the levels in Europe or Latin America.

A sad postscript: Joe Gaetjens, the Haitian-born US player who scored the winning goal in the 1950 match, was arrested and apparently murdered in 1964 by agents of François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, who had declared himself Haiti’s “president for life.” Members of his family were involved in an attempt to overthrow Duvalier, although there is no evidence that Gaetjens himself was involved.