International Relations Update: 2012 OQ

Posted: March 27, 2012 in International Relations Update

The mantra here at Know Thy Enemies is that the best way to beat your opposition is to, well, KNOW them.  After major tournaments/games, Know Thy Enemies provides an International Relations update for the nations we recently played.  Check back here to learn what friendships were formed – and what enemies were made – during recent USA games.


What a ride.  Just moments away from securing a huge comeback win against El Salvador to advance to the 2012 Olympic Qualifying semi-finals, the USA U23’s conceded a 95th minute goal.  The goal tied the score at 3-3, sending El Salvador through to the semi-finals, and a very talented, very disappointed, USA team home.  Watching that last-minute goal trickle over the goal line was one of the most painful experiences I’ve had as a USA soccer fan to date.  If you’re feeling masochistic, relive the agony with this video:

Here’s the update on where USA soccer’s relations with the following teams stands after the tournament:


With their last-minute elimination of the USA U23’s yesterday, El Salvador jumps nearly to the top of USA soccer’s shit list, behind only Mexico (forever public enemy number one), and Ghana (who have dashed the USA’s World Cup dreams two years in a row).  In the 79th minute, Salvadoran defender Alexander Larin punched USA striker Terrence Boyd in the face.  USA midfielders Mikkel Diskerud and Freddy Adu showed reporters bite marks sustained during the match, and Canada’s Carl Haworth also told reporters that he was bitten during their match against El Salvador – by Alexander Larin.  Pretty despicable stuff from El Salvador – and enough to make me dislike them very, very much.

El Salvador's Alexander Larin (in blue) has put his acting skills to good use this tournament, pulling off maneuvers straight out of "Rocky" (a punch to Terrence Boyd's face) and "Night of the Living Dead" (biting Canada's Carl Haworth).


Canadian-American relations seemed to be heading due south after Canada upset the USA 2-0 in the second game of the tournament.  Overall, however, Canada strategically outplayed the USA, fielding an unconventional 4-3-2-1 formation designed specifically to prevent the technically superior USA from controlling the middle of the field.  Doing that took some cajones – so Canada gets a point from that.  Their conceding the last-minute goal to Cuba also helped.  Canada has the chance to go from frenemy to close friend of the USA if Toronto FC can pull off a miracle against Mexican club Santos in CONCACAF Champions League later this week.


Time to normalize relations with Cuba, Mr. Obama, because their U23 team was nothing but good to the USA during the 2012 OQ tournament.  The USA met Cuba in their opening match of the tournament – and gained confidence and momentum going forward by beating Cuba 6-0.  In the third game of group play, Cuba upset Canada with a stoppage-time equalizer to give the USA a chance at winning group A, and avoiding a semi-final showdown with Mexico.  To top it all off, after the USA failed to capitalize on Cuba’s hospitality by losing to El Salvador, Cuba’s players sympathized with the USA U23’s at the airport, watching highlights of the loss together.  Gracias, Cuba.


The USA made an unlikely ally during their 2012 Olympic Qualifying campaign: Cuba. Photo courtesy of @soccerbyives.

That’s it for now.  Until next time, boo El Salvador – and go USA!

  1. […] about Caleb Porter, Sean Johnson, or El Salvador, but I still blame Baby Canada for the USA’s U23 Olympic qualifying debacle.  Shortly after that disaster, I found myself pulling for our northern neighbors in the CONCACAF […]

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