Spector relishing World Cup challenge

AT THE 1950 World Cup in Brazil England took on a United States team made up of teachers, mail carriers and dishwashers, writes BEN WELCH. With Stanley Matthews spearheading the Three Lions attack, Walter Winterbottom s team were expected to pulverise the

AT THE 1950 World Cup in Brazil England took on a United States team made up of teachers, mail carriers and dishwashers, writes BEN WELCH.

With Stanley Matthews spearheading the Three Lions attack, Walter Winterbottom's team were expected to pulverise the Americans.

But what in fact happened was a 'Miracle on Grass'. Joe Gaetjen's first half goal caused one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.

The 1-0 win has spawned a book The Game of Their Lives and a film The Miracle Match. It is a defining moment for the underdog.


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Despite their vast improvement in recent years, including a second-place finish in this summer's Confederation's Cup, where they beat European Champions Spain, the USA are still considered small fry in the game of soccer.

How they would love for lightning to strike twice, but West Ham defender and resident Yank Jonathan Spector is happy to carry this reputation after the USA were drawn alongside England, Slovenia and Algeria in Group C for next summer's World Cup in South Africa.

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"To be honest, we're used to it (being written off). The US doesn't get a lot of respect in terms of the world football stage and I think that's to our benefit," said the former Manchester United defender.

"I think we proved that in the Confederations Cup, beating a team like Spain - the number one side in the world.

"If they (the English press) want to underestimate us, that's fine with us. The papers are doing it, but who's to say the players and the team's going to do it?

"Obviously England are a great side and they'll be the favourites going into it but we're looking forward to the challenge."

Should US coach Bob Bradley select Spector for the World Cup, he could come up against Wayne Rooney - a challenge he got a taste of on Saturday as West Ham were put to the sword by Manchester United.

The Hammers were thumped 4-0, with Paul Scholes, Darron Gibson, Antonio Valencia and Rooney finding the back of the net.

"He's a fantastic player (Rooney). He's always a talented player. You know what you are going to get from him.He has a great work ethic and he has all the ability in the world to hurt you.

"He's a great player. They've got a lot of good players in their side and he's certainly one of the best."

"England are a great side. I personally am really looking forward to the game and I'm sure the rest of the American players and public will be looking forward to it," said the 23-year-old.

"We know it's going to be a difficult game, but it's one where we are going to relish the challenge.

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