U-S-uh, how does it go again?
Watching the highlights of the Olympics women’s football final this evening (a fitting end to the great Mia Hamm’s career) it struck me that one of the reasons a lot of people find the US’ sporting successes difficult to stomach is the constant chant of “USA, USA, USA, USA” that dominates the air whenever their folks are doing anything but losing.

That wall to wall USA could be regarded by non-Americans as annoying and smug is nothing new, of course. What hadn’t occurred to me before, though, is the fact that it’s probably the easiest sporting chant on the circuit.

It’s got everything. It’s short, it’s punchy, it’s difficult to misinterpret, it demands very little in the way of the spectator’s energy, and it seems to go on for ever. It certainly gets its message across. You’re never in doubt when the Yanks are about.

Think about the competition (and I think it’s important to stress that I’m talking objectively about pure motivational aesthetics rather than expressing any particular personal bias or allegiance).

We Brits have the effective but dull Iiiiiiiinnng-glund and Scawwwwwww-tlund, as well as the less snappy (though no less worthy) Wehhhhhh-yulls, but all these require a great deal of energy for relatively little payback, and thus tend to give up the ghost before the American chant.

France are unimpressive, with neither the country’s name nor the substitute “Allez les bleus!” being particularly forceful. “Italia” is certainly effective, as is the Japanese chant of “Nippon”, all undoubtedly aided by their clap-along potential.

There are many other examples, where passion for sport can overcome a trickily constructed name. Swathes of South America, Africa and Asia can boast such dedication.

But I’ve yet to find a country that really matches the US for reliability, style and efficiency.

It’s just. Not. Fair.

And that’s one more reason to try our best to beat them.