When Coach Bob Bradley and every member of the U.S. soccer team said they would consider it the ultimate victory to reach the second round of the 2010 World Cup, most of America went, “hunh?” But in the final game of Group C play, Slovenia, England, and the U.S. all had a chance to win their way into the second round. Sure, England and the U.S. were the favorites going in, but a few goals (or not) either way, and they could’ve been watching from home. England staked its claim to a second round trip with an early goal on Slovenia but the U.S.’ best chance early on was disallowed when Clint Dempsey was mistakenly called offsides. But in the ninety-first minute, the American golden child-turned-leader, Landon Donovan, drilled home a rebound and the U.S. held onto a 1-0 win to win Group C. They will face the second seed from Group D…
Who was determined by the outcome of the afternoon games. With Serbia losing to Australia 2-0, the outcome of the Germany-Ghana game would determine which team was D1 and which was D2. Germany’s lone goal determined that they would be the winners, facing off against England on Sunday, and the U.S. got the “easier” (less favored) of the teams with Ghana on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. That is to say that England (ranked will get Germany’s sixth-ranked team, while the 14th ranked Americans get the 32nd ranked Ghanans. Some newscasters this afternoon were saying that the U.S. would be the underdogs regardless of which team they faced from Group D. Seriously? Check the rankings, folks. Even Serbia, ranked at 16, wouldn’t have been the “favorite” if they could’ve defeated Australia. Actually, South Korea (ranked 47th) looks to be the lowest ranked team to make it to the round of 16, while France (ranked 9th) looks to be the highest ranked team not to make it past group play.
Whether you’re a casual fan or not, I think it’s hard to be American and NOT root for the U.S. Even a Ghanan-American citizen would have to admit that the U.S. has gotten robbed of two obvious goals, one each in the last two games. And there’s nothing like a little ruckus, a little “revolution,” to get our country up in arms and ready to rock’n'roll. I’m a fan of good soccer, having played for years, but I’m not going to be frequenting pubs or anything once the Cup is over. I would go to a Major League Soccer game if there was a closer, more hassle-free team, but the World Cup stuff, with patriotism at stake, seems like a no-brainer to me. To think that the U.S. is a victory over Ghana, and then over (probably) Uruguay, to be in the final four of the World Cup, that’s pretty priceless, considering where U.S. soccer was a few years ago.
And given that all of that comes at the expense of my pre-Cup bracket, shoot, GOOOOOAAAAAAAAL, I’ll take it.
(Speaking of which, guess I need to put up a new bracket later this week…)