England fights to regain lost pride in RFK matchup with Brazil

June 13, 1993|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- English soccer coach Graham Taylor know his team has to be impressive in its next two games in U.S. Cup '93, or there definitely will be a hostile reception waiting for him when he returns to his country.

There might be one anyway.

"All I can do is get the head down and work. I've been brought up that way," said Taylor. "We're in a battle. We have a sticky task."

Sticky? That's putting it mildly.

England (0-1) faces Brazil (1-0-1) today (1 p.m.) at RFK Stadium in the U.S. Cup '93 tournament. Then England goes against defending World Cup champion Germany Saturday at the Silverdome near Detroit.

If England loses both, the team will have lost four consecutive games. Since England began playing soccer internationally in 1872, it has not lost four straight.

"For the actual footballers, the team and management, it's our embarrassment. We caused the embarrassment," said Taylor. "We've been hit very, very hard. It's a battle for me personally at the moment. It's a battle for the players. Now we must pick ourselves up and battle through it."

Taylor, who became the national team coach after the 1990 World Cup, has an impressive 16-5-12 record, but his team has played poorly in the qualifying rounds for the 1994 World Cup and now faces an uphill battle. England has a 3-1-3 record that includes ties with Norway and the Netherlands.

The ties came on England's home turf, Wembley Stadium.

Then one week before the U.S. Cup, the English lost to Norway, 2-0. The biggest insult may have come last Wednesday when the United States upset England, 2-0, at Foxboro Stadium in Massachusetts. England had not lost to the United States since the 1950 World Cup.

During the closing minutes of the game, English fans mocked their team and called for the firing of Taylor.

"I'm exactly where other English coaches have been before," said Taylor. "They've all gone through losing streaks, survived DTC and started winning again. It will be the same for me. We will come out of this. As for the criticism, it comes with the job."

But England must regroup against a Brazilian squad that can make any team look bad. Despite blowing a 3-0 lead and tying Germany 3-3 Thursday, Brazil has played well in U.S. Cup '93.

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