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World Cup: U.S vs. England: A surreal moment up in the broadcast booth

June 12, 2010 | 11:29 am

Well, that was a little surreal.

The request came from BBC Radio 5 Live in London: Would I be willing to spend a few minutes on the air before the U.S.-England game to talk about the American team?

So at the appointed hour, 90 minutes before kickoff, I made my way across a few sections of the Royal Bafokeng Stadium here in Rustenburg and talked my way into the broadcast area. I didn't have a credential to be there, so it needed a little finesse.

Found the right spot and was seated and equipped with the requisite microphone and headset. Said hello to the host and then realized there was another guest sitting next to me intending to discuss the lineups and tactics of both teams.

No problem. Not until I heard his name, did a double-take and realized that it was Graham Taylor, England's national team coach from 1990 to 1993. Oh, yes, sure, I can go head to head with Taylor on England's team tactics and players. No problem.

Actually, it all went rather well. Five minutes turned into 15, and they liked the fact that I suggested England would probably like to have had Tim Howard as its starting goalkeeper ahead of the three lesser lions it had here in South Africa. Taylor said he saw no flaws in Howard but thought the U.S. defense could be exploited by Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey. No argument there.

In only another 10 minutes or so, we'll begin to find out. That's it for now. Enjoy the match. I'm off to find myself a fat radio contract. I have the experience now, you know.

--Grahame L. Jones in Rustenburg, South Africa