By Mark Concannon Special to Published Jun 14, 2010 at 8:59 AM
Take the emotion Red Sox fans felt for Bill Buckner in 1986 and multiply it by a factor of 10.

Then you'll have an idea of the reception goalkeeper Robert Green could face when he returns home to England. After the Brits failed to qualify for the 2008 European Cup tournament, many players from the English national team were booed mercilessly by opposing fans when those players returned to their club teams.

If his historic bobble against the U.S. impacts his country's World Cup chances, Green may be booed by his own fans when he suits up again for West Ham United.

Why the U.S. managed a draw against the mighty English may be boiled down to one cultural athletic difference. Throw a ball at a young American lad and he'll catch it. Throw a ball at an English lad and he'll trap it and bring under control at his feet.

No one catches balls better than Americans. Tim Howard proved that again Saturday with sensational saves that kept the U.S. level.

American goalies like Howard are in great demand all over the world. In fact, all three Team USA keepers play in the English Premier League.

It's astounding that with all of the soccer talent nurtured from the cradle in the birthplace of the sport, the best three keepers the English could field were Robert Green, David "Calamity" James and young, promising, yet internationally untested Joe Hart.

Arsenal goalie Manuel Almunia, who was born in Spain but has no chance to see action for the national team with megastars Iker Casillas and Pepe Reina minding the Spanish nets, became a naturalized English citizen and offered to play for England. But coach Fabio Capello gave him no shot saying "Almunia for me is Spanish."

It was a rather ironic statement from a non-English coach who may be having second thoughts about leaving a proven EPL performer off the squad.

While the English may not have great goalkeepers, they do produce the best announcers. ESPN signing Martin Tyler for the World Cup was like hiring Frank Sinatra to sing at your wedding. The esteemed veteran with his encyclopedic knowledge and economic use of words and emotion simply has no peer.

England, which has already faced a former part of the empire when playing the U.S., could have run into another interesting historical match-up. The groups were aligned so that the English could have played its former penal colony Australia in the round of 16. But the Socceroos appear unlikely to advance after getting drubbed, 4-0, by Germany.

Mark Concannon Special to
Mark Concannon moved to Milwaukee in 1987 when he started at WITI TV as weekend sports anchor. He began hosting Wakeup News, signing the new program on the air in 1990. He anchored Wakeup until the spring of 2010. In his 23 years at the station, Mark won four Emmy Awards and multiple local, state and regional honors.

Before arriving in Wisconsin, Mark was a TV sports director at stations in Greensboro, the Quad Cities and Fort Smith, Arkansas. He got his first job at the ABC affiliate in Syracuse during his junior year at Syracuse University where he majored in TV and Radio at the Newhouse School.

Mark is an avid fan of all sports. He covered the Packers at Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans and has also reported on the Final Four, the Daytona 500, the Rose Bowl, the NLCS and the PGA and U.S. Open golf championships. He covered the GMO for 20 years. Mark played soccer in high school and is a passionate supporter of "The Beautiful Game." One of his greatest experiences was attending a UEFA Champions League game hosted by Real Madrid at Bernabeu Stadium.

Mark was born in Philadelphia but has happily made the transition from cheese steaks to cheese heads and is thrilled to now call Wisconsin home. He is currently president of Concannon Communications LLC and working on projects involving, writing, producing, voice-overs and public relations.