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Alexi Lalas suggested USMNT ‘plant that American flag’ against England at World Cup. It didn’t go over well.

Former USA player Alexi Lalas has been a Fox Soccer commentator for several years.WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images

Former US men’s soccer team member Alexi Lalas, whom many Americans recognize from the 1994 World Cup, is a staple on FOX Sports programming for all things soccer. He joined the network in 2015 as a lead studio and game analyst.

So, of course, Lalas has seen some air time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Ahead of the US match against England on Friday, Lalas had some fiery thoughts to share:

“This is a moment of opportunity,” Lalas said. “You know, Rob Stone [his broadcast partner], that in America we are used to being the biggest and the baddest and the best in everything — even sports.

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“When it comes to soccer, our US Women’s National Team, they are the best. When it comes to our US Men’s National Team, they aren’t. So tonight is that opportunity to make us believe that we can be.

“And you know what? The opponent does matter. It matters that it’s England. It has to be England. We get to shed that insecurity that we have, that inferiority complex that we have. We have to stop apologizing for what we are — or what we aren’t. We plant that American flag against that country that we have so much history with, on and off the field. ... If you’re gonna go down, you go down swinging tonight. You grab ahold of that opportunity and you make us proud. That is the American way. That’s the American team I want to see tonight.”

Lalas’s pre-game speech referenced — among other things — the importance of the match for the US men. A win or draw with England greatly increases the Americans’ chance of advancing out of Group B in the tournament.

While his speech might’ve fired up some. It did not impress a lot of folks on Twitter, who took no time at all to respond with their annoyance with Lalas.

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Whether or not there was consensus about the quality of Lalas’s speech, it was clear to most how it was supposed to make US fans feel heading into the game against England.


Leah Becerra can be reached at leah.becerra@globe.com. Follow her on twitter @LeahBecerra.