Sorry, have to post again about the World Cup. What an epic game today. Felt like going on a heater of all heaters playing some casino games. For the soccer haters that 1-0 game was anything but boring. Hard not to get behind this team who have been denied two legitimate goals by horrible calls, dealt with a player suspended for a hand ball that hit his face, and had a player bloodied in the box today (a definite PK) with the ref not doing anything about it. Still, they prevail despite soccer feeling more like a predetermined outcome than casino slots.
I had given up at home. I was resigned for the fact that we'd likely come off as whiners when we boarded our plane to come home. All we could do was point to terrible call after terrible call. Yet, previous teams like England have dealt with handball goals that eliminated them, Germany dealt with a goal that never crossed the line in a World Cup final, and in general, it's kind of a badge of honor to get shafted sometimes by collusion and sometimes by cheating, and sometimes by bad refereeing. Kind of means you've arrived.
Our guys proved me wrong in every possible way. How many times can you be denied by things outside your control and still weather the storm and prevail. Granted, Algeria might have been disciplined on defense, but offensively they were horrid. Launching 40 and 30 yard shots with plenty of space and teammates in front of them was bad enough, but repeatedly squandering massive numerical advantage when are whole midfield would advance to their box was even worse.
On top of that, the interviews after the game, Landon didn't even want to bitch about the calls or the unfairness. Yeah, you've arrived kid pure class on the field and off it.
Saint Reggie Bush was there cheering on the U.S. Team in South Africa and hung out with the team after that dramatic last gasp win. That's photo above is actually from today. For more of Reggie's photos go here.
The success of our team is a bit of story of redemption. Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley spearheaded a U.S. team that got fourth in a youth world cup, LD was voted the best young player of the entire 2002 world cup, and our youth teams since have consistently come to youth world cups as one of the favorites. Then our guys turn pro and turn mediocre, well they used to.
Landon has bounced around from Europe to the states and back and forth with more failures then you can shake a stick at it. Until this year when he caught fire at Everton--even there it was as a very good supporting player. This was a player many in the world thought was our first legitimate international star. It's so hard not to root for the guy as he has overcome so many professional hurdles and it's great to see him shine.
The other players have endured disappointments of past world cups but appear to have finally chosen this years version to put it together. The U.S. will go back to being an underdog on Saturday when they tee it up with Ghana, which is a good thing, but just winning their group and definitely being one of the top 16 teams in the world, has been a tremendous achievement.
The task ahead of them is daunting but oh well. You can't win the world cup without beating some great teams, and our guys know this. They have the confidence they can beat anybody after stifling Spain last summer and almost stealing one from Brazil in the Confederations Cup final, so... Let's DO THIS MAN.