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The Official 2010 World Cup Thread

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Dempsey gets punched/backhanded in the face in the box and has blood coming from his nose and..... silence from the ref.

Both announcers agreed it should have been a red card.

Looks like the US will not be advancing out of group.

You cant beat the other team and the refs too
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what a freaking game. they have the replay on ESPN Classic that started at 6. i was at Kings Islad with my kids and i was watching the game on my phone (thanks Ryan) and i screamed GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck Yeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Booooooooooooooooooooooyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy lol. everyone was looking at me like HUH lol
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[color=#FF0000][color=#000000][size=5]Landon Donovan: Finally a household name

[/size][b][size=1]by [/size][url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/40/mike-woitalla/"][size=1]Mike Woitalla[/size][/url][size=1], June 23rd, 2010 2:44PM[/size][/b][/color][/color]
[color=#FF0000][MY VIEW][/color] If there’s anything American soccer needed badly, it's an American superstar. He has arrived and his name is, of course,[b]Landon Donovan.[/b]

In stoppage time of the USA’s must-win clash with Algeria, Donovan sparked an attack at the halfway line, passed off to [b]Jozy Altidor[/b]e, and followed up to bury a rebound to send the USA to the second round of the World Cup.

It was Donovan’s second clutch goal at this World Cup and its replays will be shown endlessly over the next few days. His name will be known to all Americans.

While [b]Mia Hamm[/b], who retired six years ago, captured the imagination of American girls as no other female athlete ever had, the men’s side had never produced a true soccer hero.

[b]Alexi Lalas[/b] attained some mainstream fame during the 1994 World Cup, but that was due more to his off-field charisma. The goateed defender could barely fill a short highlight reel.

[b]Cobi Jones[/b], who also played in his prime in the 1990s, made a connection to youngsters and did play exciting soccer, but his achievements pale in comparison to Donovan’s.

Neither Jones nor Lalas were near world-class, and while [b]Claudio Reyna[/b] may have been the most accomplished American of that generation, his greatest achievements went unnoticed outside the small circle of fans who followed the careers of Americans abroad.

Of the three World Cups Reyna played, he and his team shone at just one, in 2002, when a 20-year-old Donovan started every game and played a key role in the quarterfinal run.

Donovan’s brilliance has been on display for years within our shores, as he led teams to three MLS titles. He entered this tournament, his third World Cup, as the USA’s all-time leading scorer, with 42 goals.

But Donovan came short of yielding adulation outside the soccer community and he even had his critics within it: The Eurosnobs who don’t consider a player successful unless he stars on the other side of the Atlantic.

Donovan silenced those detractors somewhat with an impressive loan stint at Everton earlier in the year. But I never believed that Donovan needed a European address to become a world-class player. And certainly he has proved that in South Africa.

He may have a had quiet performance for much of the Algeria game, but Donovan demonstrated true superstar qualities when he saved the USA’s World Cup campaign with his last-gasp effort.

And it should be noted that the high-scoring Donovan plays in midfield, where he must defend as much as attack. Yet he scores and creates at a forward’s pace. (He helped set up [b]Michael Bradley[/b]’s game-tying goal against Slovenia and the [b]Maurice Edu[/b] strike that was called back.)

Donovan has now scored 44 goals for the USA and they come in all the various forms. Right foot, left foot, long-range, off the breakaway, short-range poaching -- and even four from the head of his 5-foot-8 frame, most famously against Mexico at the 2002 World Cup.

Skill, soccer smarts, speed – not the brawn that our youth coaches so often look for – are the source of Donovan’s splendid game. That makes him the perfect role model for young American players.

That he’s an entertaining player and a goalscorer make him just the right player to represent the face of American soccer during a World Cup that is getting unprecedented attention in the USA. [/quote]

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[color=#FF0000][color=#000000][size=5]Cardiac kids do it!

[/size][b][size=1]by [/size][url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"][size=1]Paul Kennedy[/size][/url][size=1], June 23rd, 2010 9:58AM[/size][/b][/color][/color]
[color=#FF0000][USA-ALGERIA] [/color]Has there ever been a more dramatic goal in U.S. history? [b]Landon Donovan[/b] scored in stoppage time and gave the USA a 1-0 win over Algeria that sent it into the second round of the World Cup as the Group C winner. Here's what we liked and didn't like about Wednesday's game ...
[b](Note:[/b] The USA-Algeria match will be re-aired Wednesday night as an “Instant Classic” on ESPN Classic at 6 p.m. ET and ESPN2 at 10 p.m.)

[color=#FF0000]What we liked ...[/color]
-- Landon Donovan[/b]'s goal 45 seconds into stoppage was the latest goal the USA has ever scored in the World Cup and will go down as the most dramatic goal in U.S. history. It was fitting that the U.S. star on whom there was the most pressure came through with a goal. Donovan scored to the far post from seven yards following a darting run into the box after Algeria's superb goalie, [b]Rais Bolhi[/b], failed to hold to a shot from [b]Jozy Altidore[/b] to [b]Clint Dempsey[/b] on the doorstep. The goal came after, it must be said, what had been a rather quiet game from Donovan.

-- The dramatic manner by which the USA qualified is the kind of moment American soccer has always sought. It was certainly in sharp contrast to the manner the Americans qualified eight years ago -- falling to Poland, 3-1, but advancing when [b]Park Ji-Sung[/b]'s goal for South Korea eliminated Portugal.

-- The result marked the first time in 80 years the Americans have won and gone unbeaten in their group. It set up a game against Ghana, the Group D runner-up, on Saturday on ABC at 2:30 pm ET.

-- The Americans piled on the pressure against the Desert Foxes, finishing with twice as many shots (22) as fouls (11). Altidore had only one of the 22 shots but was again a force throughout the game in the U.S. attack, taking on defenders. On the winning goal, he stayed onside to take Donovan's pass and play the ball into the box.

-- [b]Tim Howard[/b] earned only the USA's second shutout at the World Cup in 60 years, but it was his distribution that was the difference in the game. He made a quick release to Donovan after saving[b]Rafik Saifi[/b]'s weak header from close range.

[/b][color=#FF0000]What we didn't like ...

[/color]-- Once again, the USA had what appeared to be a valid goal disallowed. Dempsey scored on a pass from [b]Hercules Gomez[/b] but was called offside in the 20th minute. On replays, the Fulham striker appeared to be even.

-- Can you ever remember the USA missing more chances? Dempsey had 10 shots but couldn't score. He hit the post in the second half and then put the rebound wide of the goal.

-- Finally, the USA didn't give up an early goal but it was sure close. Forward [b]Rafik Djebbour[/b], the lone change in the Algerian lineup, hit the crossbar in the 6th minute. [/quote]

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[quote name='sois' date='24 June 2010 - 12:35 PM' timestamp='1277400933' post='894598']
ahhahha Italy lost.

That was an entertaining ending. Good thing Slovakia didn't sit back at 2-1 and got that third goal. Plus a fight in the net, classic TV.
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[color="#FF0000"][color="#000000"][size="5"][size="2"][b][size=5]A script too amazing to be believed[/size][/b]

[/size][/size][b][size=1]by [/size][url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"][size=1]Paul Kennedy[/size][/url][size=1], June 24th, 2010 12:51AM[/size][/b][/color][/color]

[color="#FF0000"][MY VIEW][/color] If you said the USA would go down against England in the fourth minute, fall two goals behind Slovenia in the first half and wait until stoppage time of the Algeria game to get the goal that would put it into the second round, would anyone have believed you?

What makes the USA's run so exceptional was that the drama grew from game to game. And why the Algeria game is so important in captivating a nation about soccer is that the excitement was all about a 1-0 game.

[color="#FF0000"]HYPERBOLE. [/color]On ESPN's "Around the Horn," talking head [b]Wood Paige[/b] had this to say about [b]Landon Donovan[/b]'s late goal: "one of the great sports moments in history."

[color="#FF0000"]GOOD THING ...[/color] If the USA had not qualified, its exit from the World Cup would have been buried in sports pages and on the evening news under the 59-59 fifth set between [b]John Isner[/b] and [b]Nicolas Mahut[/b] of France at Wimbledon.

[color="#FF0000"]MIXED EMOTIONS. [/color]What does [b]Freddy Adu[/b] think of the USA-Ghana matchup? Here's what he[url="http://twitter.com/freddyadu11"] tweeted[/url]after the USA and before the Ghana game: "Ok guys I'm sorry I can't root against my native country lol. I want both Ghana and Usa to do well." And here's what he said after the Ghana game: "Ghana vs USA. Ouch!"

[color="#FF0000"]IMAGE OF THE DAY 1:[/color] Former President [b]Bill Clinton[/b] cheering [b]Clint Dempsey[/b]'s first-half goal against Algeria, not realizing that the goal had been called off. Sitting to Clinton's left, FIFA President [b]Sepp Blatter[/b] shakes his finger, indicating the goal won't count. To Clinton's right is African soccer confederation federation [b]Issa Hayatou[/b], laughing as Clinton still doesn't get the point that the goal doesn't count. Clinton certainly knew what was at stake. Late in the game, he was seen biting his nails.

(In the USA's bid to win the right to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, Clinton's seat at the World Cup next to Blatter and Hayatou is priceless. Clinton is the honorary chairman of the USA Bid Committee. Blatter and Hayatou are two of the key power brokers on the FIFA executive committee that will decide the two hosts on Dec. 2.)

[color="#FF0000"]IMAGE OF THE DAY 2:[/color] The Ghanaian players sitting on the bench and arguing where they stand in Group D after Germany has gone ahead in their game in the second half and Australia has just scored two quick goals against Serbia in Nelspruit. The Black Stars began the evening cheering on Australia but suddenly faced the prospect that the Socceroos might make up their five-goal difference against Ghana. As it was, Serbia's goal put it within one goal of overtaking Ghana.

[color="#FF0000"]ENFANT TERRIBLE:[/color] [b]Rafik Saifi[/b], the late substitute whose shot was saved by [b]Tim Howard[/b] on the Algerian attack that immediately preceded the U.S. attack that led to [b]Landon Donovan[/b]'s winning goal, isn't known as the bad boy of Algerian soccer for nothing. After Wednesday's game, he punched an Algerian reporter, apparently in response to an article she had written about Saifi.

[color="#FF0000"]NO WONDER ... [/color]The Algerians didn't think much of their chances of beating the USA. The Algerian soccer federation president ripped members of the EN (short for "équipe nationale" or "national team") for bringing their suitcases with them to Pretoria, planning to fly back home via Johannesburg after the U.S. game instead of returning to their base in Durban if they went through to the second round.

[color="#FF0000"]QUOTES OF THE DAY:[/color]
French daily Le Parisien on the French national team:
"Having the worst team in the World Cup was already unbearable. Having the most stupid is just intolerable."

French sports daily L'Equipe:
"To take people for imbeciles might be an amusing game, but you have to know when to stop." [/quote]

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[color=#FF0000][color=#000000][size=5]Donovan overcome by emotion

[/size][b][size=1]June 23rd, 2010 4:10PM[/size][/b][/color][/color]
[color=#FF0000][REACTION][/color] The emotion of the USA's late win over Algeria left goalscorer [b]Landon Donovan[/b] in tears at the postgame press conference.

“I’ve been through a lot in the past four years,” said Donovan. “I’m so glad it culminated this way. It makes me believe in good in the world."

Donovan came in for heavy criticism after his performance at the 2006 World Cup, where the USA was eliminated in the first round.

He broke up with his former wife, actress [b]Bianca Kajlich[/b], last summer.

“Those experiences can harden you and can help you grow if you learn from them and if you look at it the right way,” he said. “We will look back on it one day, a lot of us won’t remember how it happened but the reality is we finished ahead of England in a World Cup group.”

U.S. coach [b]Bob Bradley[/b] patted Donovan on his back as he spoke. [/quote]

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[color="#FF0000"][color="#000000"][size="5"]From the U.S. locker room ...[/size][/color][/color]
[color="#FF0000"][color="#000000"][b] [/b][/color][/color]
[color="#FF0000"][color="#000000"] [b][size="1"]June 23rd, 2010 5:58PM[/size][/b][/color][/color]

[color="#FF0000"][REACTION][/color] For U.S. national team coach [b]Bob Bradley[/b] and his players, one of the most rewarding aspects of their game against Algeria was the huge support of U.S. fans at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. For what they had to say about the game ...

[b]U.S. Soccer President SUNIL GULATI [/b]
[i]On the team's persistence: [/i]
"It is so trite to say, but so true—the American spirit came through. In the 91st minute, in a game that you have to score, where you've been frustrated the whole game, when you've had an injustice done in the last game, to a lot of people saying these guys aren't good enough -- and then going out and getting it done. They didn't stop fighting the whole game. To come from being down 2-0 in the last game, to give up a goal early against England and come back, that's the American spirit."

[b]U.S. Coach BOB BRADLEY [/b]
[i]On the multiple scoring opportunities for both teams: [/i]
"It's a match where both teams need to win, so it turns into a very wide open game. Algeria is a very good team, skillful and well-organized, but the game now takes on a different tone just because of the need for both teams to win."

[i]On the frustration at missing so many good scoring chances: [/i]
"You think two things: when you're in the game long enough, there are times when that happens and you just say 'it's not our night.' But the real thing that you do as a coach is you keep trying to think of what's going on in the game, are we still creating chances, how many changes do we have left, what else can we do to keep giving ourselves a chance to get the goal? In the end, it's just the efforts of the players that make the difference."

[i]On what makes this team so special: [/i]
"It's a lot of things. In this last cycle, guys have grown, taken leadership roles, as a team we've grown stronger, we've had experiences where we've been hardened. Landon said the expression 'the part you can control.' We believe that in soccer sometimes you can't always control a call or a bounce, but you can control what you're all about as a team, what you put into it, how committed you are to giving everything in the game. I think that has become the special quality of this group."

[i]On the team's motivation coming back to South Africa: [/i]
"The experience at the Confederations Cup was important for us. We played very good teams and we had to fight through the group, ultimately we had a great victory against a team like Spain. But at the end of the day, we remember that we had a 2-0 lead at halftime against Brazil and we didn't come away as champions. So there's a disappointment, but that disappointment comes also with the belief and the hope that we're coming back in a year and we're going to try and take it a bit further. It's those experiences that help us grow."

[i]On the impact of this win in the U.S.: [/i]
"Soccer continues to grow in the U.S. Some of the sports, like football, basketball and baseball have long histories and great traditions, but soccer is developing history and tradition. One of the nicest things tonight was when we were coming to the stadium, the street was lined with U.S. supporters—waving flags, dressed up, chanting USA, knocking on the bus and we don't always have that. To have that happen at the World Cup, in South Africa, I think that was a really special feeling tonight. To finish the night with a great win to go hand-in-hand with the kind of support we do have, that shows we're making big steps."

[i]On what's made Landon Donovan the player he's become in the past year: [/i]
"Without a doubt Landon has grown in so many different ways. From the soccer end, he mentions the low after the World Cup in 2006. But there was also the challenge of taking a bigger role, being more responsible as a leader. I think these kinds of challenges came at a good time for him and he's never shied away from challenges. If you look back to 2002, he's young and being in your first World Cup is pretty exciting. 2006 now is, for him, one where he learned a lot. But to have the chance then to come back in the prime of your career, there's a special feeling when you play on a team where you know people are really counting on you. Your character, your personality is really at the core of how that team does. Some players play their whole careers and never experience that. When you have that, it takes time to get a feel for what that's all about. But over these years, both on and off the field, I think the fact that he's grown and matured and accepted these types of challenges has made a huge difference."

[b]U.S. Midfielder LANDON DONOVAN [/b]
[i]On the game as a whole: [/i]
"Sometimes in soccer you have games like that, where you get a lot of chances and they don't go in. To be fair to them, they had a few chances as well, especially early on. But the only thing you can control is if you keep going. We knew that they were pushing and we had to take some chances, and the guys in the back did an unbelievable job of stopping counter after counter from them and giving us a chance to score so we could finally get it."

[i]On his feelings upon scoring the game-winning goal: [/i]
"I've been through a lot in the last four years, and I'm so glad it culminated this way. It makes me believe in good in the world, and when you try to do things the right way it's good to see them get rewarded."

[i]On the goal: [/i]
"I have to look at it. I knew that they had pushed a lot of numbers forward so when the ball broke, a lot of us had almost cheated, for lack of a better word. Like I said, we had to rely on our back four and Michael, really, to do a good job of stopping their counterattacks. When the ball came I wanted to take a good touch forward and be aggressive right away, and I had a lot of options. At the moment I chose Jozy, and he did a good job of putting a dangerous ball in to Clint, who did a great job of making an effort to get in front of the goalie and then it just bounced there."

[i]On the lowest point of the past four years that has served to motivate him: [/i]
"There were two really. Soccer-related was immediately after the 2006 World Cup, personally was in July of last year. But those experiences can harden you and help you grow if you learn from them and if you look at them the right way. I've spent a lot of time and done a lot of work to get something out of those experiences, and I think it all came together tonight."

[i]On anticipating their opponent in the second round: [/i]
"Depending on when we get back to the hotel, we'll watch as much of the games as we can. We'll take whatever's there. Obviously, there's the chance I think to play any of the four teams, and the goal now is to recover physically and emotionally and get ready for whoever comes."

[b]U.S. Forward JOZY ALTIDORE [/b]
[i]On the goal: [/i]
"I thought Timmy [Howard] did a great job of getting the ball to Landon and from there it was just executing. We did everything perfectly. Landon took the ball down, I played it across, Clint made a good run and it fell to Landon, who put it away."

[i]On the resilience of the team: [/i]
"The mentality of the players is great. We all believe in each other. We believe in our abilities and the leadership is good here. With that, you're never out of any game."

[i]On feeling any frustration about missing the chances before finally breaking through: [/i]
"At halftime, I told Mike [Bradley] that I'm going to create another chance – I want to win this game. I was waiting for a little sitter like that all tournament. When you watch games you say 'how can a guy miss one like that?' Now I know how it feels, but I'm just happy we were able to make another chance and win that game. Now we can move on."

[b]U.S. Midfielder MICHAEL BRADLEY [/b]
[i]On how he felt during this game: [/i]
"Whenever I step on the field, I know what I do to help the team. Be a presence, have a big impact on the game in the center of the midfield. I think I did that in the England game and the Slovenia game, and it was no different today."

[i]On the fine line between going home and winning the group: [/i]
"You know that. You know that about sports, about big tournaments, that you can come and all the preparation can be perfect and on the day you can feel great and the tactics can be good but if you hit the inside of the post, or the other team's goalie has a great day, it's going to be close. I think the thing that really can push it one way or another is the mentality. I think the fighting spirit, the pure commitment from every guy to not give up and keep going, I think that can push it one way or another. It's pushed us on the good side of that line a few times now."

[i]On recovering and preparing for the quick turnaround to play Saturday: [/i]
"We'll be ready. We could play tomorrow and we'd be ready."

On the feeling of seeing Landon score:
"I can't describe it. It's something that, to be honest, the 23 guys and the coaches that are on the inside, it's something that only we really know and feel. To share that with each other, when you're so committed and passionate about something and you put everything on the line to win a game like that—that's why you play."

[b]U.S. Midfielder CLINT DEMPSEY [/b]
[i]On his disallowed goal: [/i]
"No, I didn't think I was offside. When he shot the ball, I made sure I was even with him, so I couldn't believe they didn't count it. I had another chance to score and hit the post, it just didn't look like my day."

[i]On what it means to have won the group: [/i]
"I think the two best teams went through in the group, and that's the most important thing."

[i]On how aware they were of the England-Slovenia score: [/i]
"At halftime we knew what the score was, but you can't worry about other people's results. We knew we needed to win to go through and we weren't going to wait on anybody else to do it for us."

[b]U.S. Goalkeeper TIM HOWARD [/b]
[i]On the game: [/i]
"First half was a little bit touch-and-go, second half wasn't a soccer game. It was more like a track meet, back and forth. Both teams are so desperate because when you come to the last game, you know you have to throw caution to the wind."

[i]On the impact of this game in the United States: [/i]
"We were saying this, and not in a bad way, but this is going to capture more people's attention than if we had won 3-0 and if it were easy. I think that emotion and passion is what American sports fans thrive on, so I think it's special."

[i]On the team's identity: [/i]
"We always talk about our perseverance and resilience and I think that was the other side of it today. Fighting, scrapping—there's something to be said for it and I think it's part of our foundation as a team, and we shouldn't shy away from it."

[i]On his distribution helping out the offense tonight: [/i]
"I was trying to push the tempo a little bit, particularly when we knew the other score and knew we needed to win. It was a little easier tonight because they needed to win as well, so they pushed so many numbers forward and Jozy (Altidore), Landon and Edson (Buddle) ended up staying really high, playing man-to-man. We liked our chances with those three guys against their three defenders, so we were just trying to get the ball out to them. Landon knows me very well, he knows when I get the ball that if he pulls wide I'll try to find him."

[b]U.S. Defender CARLOS BOCANEGRA [/b]
[i]On his feelings on seeing Landon score: [/i]
"It was really emotional. I looked over at the sideline referee, the center referee to make sure it wasn't called back. I didn't even know who scored until after the game, to be honest. I felt so much pride, I couldn't even really think. I was getting a few tears in my eyes and I knew we still had a few minutes left and had to defend, but it was amazing. We've worked so hard to get here, and we felt like if we didn't advance it wouldn't have been a successful tournament for us and we would have let a lot of people down. When it went in, it was just the culmination of all this hard work. It was a pretty special moment."

[i]On winning the group ahead of England: [/i]
"I don't think any U.S. team has ever won the group, five points I think is something that hadn't been done either. Obviously with England, a big power like that in our group, to win it is a fantastic achievement but now this is where the fun starts."

[b]U.S. Forward HERCULEZ GOMEZ [/b]
[i]On making his World Cup debut: [/i]
"It's always been a dream of mine to play in a World Cup and I got to start in what was, for us, a very important game. I am definitely very excited, and I can't speak enough about how much heart and character we've shown throughout this tournament. Even when our backs were against the wall at the last minute, we pulled through. It's always until the end with us."

[i]On whether the team was getting frustrated by not scoring: [/i]
"To be honest, we had our chances in the first half and we probably should have converted them but that's soccer. It just speaks volumes about our team. We just kept going at it and never doubted ourselves. Landon did what he's been doing for his whole career and made a big play, but I think the strength of this team is the group and we've been showing that."

[b]U.S. Defender JAY DEMERIT [/b]
[i]On the performance of the defense today: [/i]
"It's a matter of just running with them and battling. As a back four we worked well together and kept a good line and that showed as the game went on. When they broke, we still had been behind the ball. That's a great thing when you have the firepower going forward that we have."

[i]On feeling if luck was on their side after Algeria's first shot hit the crossbar: [/i]
"Yeah, maybe a little bit. These first 10 minutes, it's always funny to get used to the ball and the big punts in the air – trying to judge them. Today was no different and to have that chance hit off the crossbar was a little bit of luck on our end finally. After that, we played our way into the game and it was fairly comfortable after that. We just had to match their work ethic and we more than did that and we did more than enough going forward creating chances."

[b]U.S. Defender STEVE CHERUNDOLO [/b]
[i]On the team's propensity to keep pulling out results: [/i]
"We want to do something special here this whole time, and I think we're on our way to doing that. But I don't think we would consider ourselves a team of destiny, I think maybe that's more important for our opponents. I think teams might start to look at us and think 'this team is on a serious run, they're a tough team to beat, things seem to be going well late in the game for them.' But we're not concentrating on that."
<br style="font-style: italic; ">[i]On being labeled a team that nobody wants to play: [/i]
"I couldn't care less. I just really want to make the quarterfinals right now, win this next game and move on. How we're labeled, who we play, at this point it doesn't matter. I wouldn't want to play us right now, but you have to play somebody. At the end of the day it's 90 minutes, and breaks either go your way or they don't. It's a soccer game and I think the bigger you make it, the harder it is to achieve your goal to move on to the next round. It's soccer, it's 90 minutes, you create your own luck I believe in this sport. So we really have to concentrate on ourselves and continue to do the little things right in the next few days and more importantly in the round of 16. Hopefully the breaks go our way again." [/quote]

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[b][size=5]Landon Donovan and U.S. soccer team create magical buzz[/size][/b]
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[color=#333333][font=Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, sans-serif][size=2]T[/size]SHWANE-PRETORIA, South Africa — Was Wednesday the day? Was Wednesday the watershed moment U.S. Soccer has been waiting for all these years, the day American sports fans were finally infected with World Cup fever, to the point that they skipped work, packed bars, screamed at the screen, texted and e-mailed friends about the game, and spilled onto the streets in jubilation when Landon Donovan scored his dramatic 91st-minute goal to send the U.S. to the Round of 16?Was Wednesday the day it officially became uncool to suggest soccer is boring?

Sure seemed that way from here. Twitter and Facebook were saturated with World Cup comments. Internet usage in the United States peaked during the final minutes of the game. Bars all over America were overcrowded by late morning.

[color=#333333][font=Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, sans-serif]U.S. defender Jay DeMerit, who grew up in Green Bay, Wis., said when he got back to the locker room after the on-field celebration, his cell phone was overloaded with texts and messages.

"I had calls from friends watching in bars in Chicago, LA, New York, you name it," he said. "Growing up in Wisconsin, I usually don’t have 100 soccer-related e-mails a day from people. I do now. These are people who probably never watched a soccer game in their lives. We are starting to turn a lot of people’s heads. It’s a huge step in right direction. That’s our job as flag bearers, as players of this national team, to get people to enjoy the game

[color=#333333][font=Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, sans-serif]And if you couldn’t enjoy this game, you will never be sold on soccer. Ninety tense minutes of end-to-end action, winner take all, then, finally, just when it seemed the U.S. and Algeria would be heading home with a 0-0 tie, Donovan strikes. In dramatic fashion. Goooooooooal!!!

The scene over here was unlike any past World Cups on foreign soil. Tens of thousands of U.S. fans made their way to Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Wednesday, and most of them were decked head to toe in red, white and blue. They waved flags and blew vuvuzelas and pounded on the U.S. bus when it arrived. That’s what Brazilians and Argentineans and Nigerians do. And now, we do it, too.

"We don’t get many moments like this," said Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber, who admitted he got choked up when Donovan scored. "I think it’s a sign that people are starting to pay attention. We always talk about the water level rising with soccer. Well, today the water rose."

Why? What makes this World Cup different from others?

One reason, certainly, is ESPN, a master marketer. For most mainstream sports fans in America, ESPN is the seal of approval, the equivalent of an Oprah Book Club selection. If ESPN says it’s cool, then it’s cool. And the cable network has been bombarding viewers with slick South Africa ads for months. Not only that, it has been showing top-level soccer from Europe, so Americans are getting a clearer picture of what world-class players are supposed to look like.

Another reason is that Americans band together when they feel they’ve been cheated, and this team definitely was cheated by the referee from Mali who disallowed Maurice Edu’s game-winning goal against Slovenia. Nothing brings Americans together better than outrage, and they are outraged, which in and of itself is progress. There was a time, not so long ago, when nobody cared enough about soccer to get outraged no matter how bad the call was.

It also helped that the U.S. opened this World Cup against England on a Saturday afternoon. Ideal rival. Ideal time slot.

Finally, much credit for this buzz should go to the U.S. team itself. Unlike the bickering French and English, and petulant U.S. pro athletes in other sports, the U.S. soccer players have a tremendous team spirit, few egos, and their never-say-die attitude makes them a lovable bunch. From Tim Howard to Landon Donovan to Michael Bradley to Jozy Altidore to Jay DeMerit and Steve Cherundolo, these guys do not quit. Not even when the clock said 90 minutes. They battled on, and were rewarded.

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati had tears streaming down his face when the game ended. He has been trying to sell soccer to America for three decades.

"The reason this game was the most important in our history was because at home people were tuned in in a way they’ve never been tuned in," he said. "Was the Colombia game in ’94 very important? Sure. Was the (World Cup qualifying) game in ’89? Yes. But in ’89, the 30 of us and a few thousand knew. This is different. Everyone knows what’s going on.

[color=#333333][font=Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, sans-serif]"I don’t think we’re going to convert the American population overnight, but anybody that watched today’s game and can’t get excited about it, we’re not gonna win them over, I accept that. But I think we’ll win a lot of people over today.""It’s about time, baby," Donovan said. "We’ve been waiting a long time for that. We want to do our part to grow the sport. I think tonight we did a lot."

[/font][/color][color=#333333][font=Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, sans-serif]Does this mean all of a sudden NFL fans will switch over the MLS? No. But if they tune in every once in a while, or at the very least not scoff at it, that’s a start.[/font][/color] [/quote]

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[quote name='MAGICTOUCH' date='24 June 2010 - 12:15 PM' timestamp='1277406927' post='894604']
That was an entertaining ending. Good thing Slovakia didn't sit back at 2-1 and got that third goal. Plus a fight in the net, classic TV.

I had to rag on my soccer friends for that fight. That guy got barely touched with that punch in the net and he went down like a sniper shot him. The way Slovakia finished that game with all the fake injuries and substitution to waste time should anger the soccer gods.
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[color=#FF0000][color=#000000][size=5]How USA can overcome the Ghana challenge

[/size][b][size=1]by [/size][url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/49/ridge-mahoney/"][size=1]Ridge Mahoney[/size][/url][size=1], June 25th, 2010 2:19AM[/size][/b][/color][/color]
[color=#FF0000][USA-GHANA][/color] A spot in the quarterfinals is at stake on Saturday. The Americans reached that stage in 2002, but to get there they must reverse a defeat they suffered four years ago. There's no shortage of alliterative billings for the U.S. match Saturday (2:30 p.m. ET, ABC, Univision) against Ghana in the World Cup round of 16, and though it's a rematch of their 2006 meeting in the group phase and thus a chance for revenge, it's going to be a battle of mind and spirit, ergo ...
The Rumble in Rustenburg takes place just two days after the Americans stunned Algeria, 1-0, in stoppage time to win Group C, and Ghana closed out Group D in second place by losing to Germany by the same score.

Ghana coach [b]Milovan Rajevac[/b]’s tactics have caused some consternation among those expecting a more brazen approach; after beating Serbia, 1-0, in its opener, Ghana declined to press a 10-man Australia and settled for a 1-1 tie that proved to be sufficient when Australia’s 2-1 defeat of Serbia knocked out both of those teams.

Had Serbia equalized, Ghana would have needed to do so as well to stay ahead on goal difference.

To date in this tournament Ghana hasn’t opened up the throttle very far. Despite talented attackers in several positions, this is a team drilled on organization by Rajevac, a former defender born in Serbia who played his club ball in Yugoslavia. Both of its goals in this tournament were converted from the penalty spot, which will trigger nightmares in the memories of American fans.

In a 2-1 loss to Ghana four years ago, the two goals conceded by the Americans that day typified their proclivity to commit egregious errors in bad positions. Ghana scored its first goal when [b]Claudio Reyna[/b], of all people, stepped on the ball in his half of the field and lost it to [b]Haminu Draman[/b], who punched it past [b]Kasey Keller[/b]. After [b]Clint Dempsey[/b] equalized came an alleged foul in first-half stoppage time, and the decisive penalty kick.

Complaints about the hotly disputed call shrouded the fact Ghana overpowered the Americans for much of the game. Thus it was ironic that the biggest American – [b]Oguchi Onyewu[/b] is 6-foot-4, 200 pounds -- happened to topple [b]Razak Pimpong[/b] (5-foot-11) while jousting for the ball, and referee[b]Markus Merk[/b] pointed to the penalty spot.

Onyewu has lost his spot in the lineup, yet still the Americans struggled through some shaky moments in beating Algeria. They probably should have fallen behind early when centerback [b]Jay DeMerit[/b] whiffed on balls dropping near the edge of the penalty area. Both chances were squandered, and although the U.S. posted its first World Cup shutout in 60 years it is facing a careful yet potentially explosive team.

A four-man back line is fronted by a line of three players. Two are deployed further up the field in support of [b]Asamoah Gyan[/b], who scored the fastest goal of the 2006 tournament when he netted 68 seconds after kickoff of a 2-1 defeat of Czech Republic, which had squashed the U.S., 3-0, to open the competition. That fact, too, is a jarring note to a team that fell behind to England (fourth minute) and Slovenia (12th minute) before rallying to tie its first two matches, and stumbled out of the gate defensively against Algeria.

[b]Dede Ayew[/b], the son of former Ghanaian international [b]Abedi Pele[/b], is a tricky, skillful threat in either flank midfield spot, and will require monitoring by Dempsey or [b]Landon Donovan[/b] to limit his thrusts at the back line.

[b]Prince Tagoe [/b]has blown hot and cold in Ghana’s three games, but if he keeps his spot can be a handful on and off the ball. Defensive mid [b]Anthony Annan[/b] anchors the middle, and though he’s not nearly the equal of injured captain [b]Michael Essien[/b], he’s a very strong tackler fond of contact.

Four years ago, after beating the USA in group play, Ghana faced Brazil in the round of 16 without the suspended Essien. Despite holding firm for lengthy intervals, it succumbed to attacks when its feeble attempts to spring an offside trap failed. This time around, Ghana has had many months to compensate for the loss of Essien, whose great strength and range are matched by a fierce personality.

Essien's absence would appear to give the U.S. an edge in midfield except for the fact Ghana will have greater numbers, if Gyan does play more or less alone up front. DeMerit’s ability to push into midfield can offset that advantage but could also leave Gyan one-v-one against centerback [b]Carlos Bocanegra[/b], presuming Coach [b]Bob Bradley [/b]sticks with the same back four he sent out against Algeria. Gyan is strong and quick in the box but can also bomb away from distance.

The ruggedness and workrate of [b]Maurice Edu[/b] is probably the best central midfield complement for[b]Michael Bradley[/b], whose opportunities to get forward could be limited by Ghana’s numerical superiority. If Bradley is pinned in his own half, the Americans will rely more on right back [b]Steve Cherundolo[/b]’s overlapping runs and crosses as well as forward [b]Jozy Altidore[/b]’s power and mobility.

Centerback [b]John Mensah[/b] is an imposing presence but he prefers to stay in the middle, so Altidore’s adeptness on the flanks can cause confusion as defenders track him and his forward partner as well as Dempsey and Donovan. Ghana seldom commits major numbers into the attack so unless it falls behind, situations for the Americans to counter will be rare.

The Americans simply can’t be knocked off the ball as often as they were four years ago, and there probably won’t be a lot of second touches close to goal. The Ghanaians close down quickly and are also tough to conquer in the air on set plays.

Thousands of American fans are in South Africa and at least some of the local populace and neutral supporters will jump on the post-Algeria bandwagon. Everyone else is backing the only African team left in the competition. For the Americans, who sometimes play as an away team in the U.S., it’s no big deal. [/quote]


[quote] [list][*][img]http://media.socceramerica.com/images/comment-bubble.gif[/img][b] David Mozeshtam [/b]
commented on: June 25, 2010 at 7:44 a.m.It's not going to be enough to overcome just Ghana. The US will have to overcome FIFA as well. Considering that Ghana is the only African team left, and that FIFA desperately wants to see Africa do well, especially in this World Cup, and previous anti-American officiating, and how corrupt FIFA is, it will be extremely difficult for the US to win.[/list][list][*][url="http://www.socceramerica.com/article/38669/how-usa-can-overcome-the-ghana-challenge.html#c3396"][/url][url=""][/url][img]http://media.socceramerica.com/images/comment-bubble.gif[/img][b] David Johnson [/b]
commented on: June 25, 2010 at 9:33 a.m.I was just having the same discussion with a friend prior to reading DM's post. I also feel that FIFA wants, even requires, an African team to advance. This coupled with the ever present anti-US sentiment, often seen in the Olympics also, will cause the US hardship to win this and future games.[/list]
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Not to mention all the places people congregated in groups to watch. All the bars plus I know they had it at Crew Stadium as well.

[color=#FF0000][color=#000000][size=5]Viewership records set by USA-Algeria

[/size][b][size=1]by [/size][url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"][size=1]Paul Kennedy[/size][/url][size=1], June 24th, 2010 11:23PM[/size][/b][/color][/color]
[color=#FF0000][TELEVISION WATCH][/color] Wednesday’s broadcast of the USA-Algeria game on ESPN was the the highest-rated and most-watched soccer game in the history of ESPN networks, delivering a 4.6 rating (4.0 household U.S. rating), 4,582,000 households and 6,161,000 viewers.

Significantly, the broadcast was the highest-rated program of the day on any network among two key demographic groups, males 18-34 and males 18-49.

The previous households record was set five days earlier with the USA-Slovenia match: 3,906,000.

Excluding holidays, ESPN's coverage of the USA-Algeria game ranks as the most-watched weekday morning telecast ever for ESPN.

[color=#FF0000]TOP RATINGS:[/color]
San Diego (8.9)
Baltimore (6.7)
San Francisco (6.1)
Washington, D.C. (5.4)
Sacramento (5.4)
Houston (5.4)
Las Vegas (5.4)
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (5.3)
New York (5.3)
West Palm Beach (5.3) [/quote]

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[color=#333333][font=arial, sans-serif]
[b][size=5]World Cup 2010: Beckenbauer fears for 'burnt-out' England[/size][/b]

[color=#333333][font=arial, sans-serif][size=4][url="http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/franz-beckenbauer"]Franz Beckenbauer[/url] has claimed [url="http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/england"]England[/url] look 'burnt out' ahead of their World Cup last-16 clash with [url="http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/germany"]Germany[/url] following a gruelling Premier League season. England's failure to win Group C means they will meet Group D winners Germany in the first knockout phase match in Bloemfontein on Sunday afternoon, and Beckenbauer would rather have seen the two sides go head to head later in the competition.[font=arial, sans-serif][/font]

[font=arial, sans-serif]"A game like this should be a semi-final, not a last-16 game," Beckenbauer told Germany's Bild newspaper. "Unfortunately, the English have slipped up a little by finishing second in their group."[/font]

[font=arial, sans-serif][/font]

[font=arial, sans-serif]However, Beckenbauer believes Germany are fresher than Fabio Capello's side and that this will work in their favour on Sunday. "The English look a little tired," he said. "There is a good reason for that: the Premier League players have got to play far more games than their Bundesliga colleagues, including two national cup competitions. Therefore, when it comes to a World Cup or a European Championship, they are burnt out.[/font]

[font=arial, sans-serif][/font]

[font=arial, sans-serif]"Our players, on the other hand, seem to be in a physically better condition. Of course we respect them, but we certainly don't fear them. England's first two appearances at the World Cup were paltry, but they improved against Slovenia."[/font]

[font=arial, sans-serif][/font]

[font=arial, sans-serif]Beckenbauer admitted it will not be an easy game for Germany, since he expects England to be particularly motivated, not only due to the age-old rivalry between the two nations. "What makes them dangerous is that their key players Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and John Terry sense that this could be the last chance in their career to win a World Cup," he added. "And after all, England have been waiting since 1966 for a title.[/font]

[font=arial, sans-serif][/font]

[font=arial, sans-serif]"Fabio Capello appears to have brought discipline to the troops. After they failed to qualify for Euro 2008, England hit rock bottom. Capello has brought in a new structure."[/font]

[font=arial, sans-serif][/font]

[/size][/font][/color][color=#333333][font=arial, sans-serif][size=4]The stage is set for "another fantastic football battle" which Beckenbauer says is guaranteed when the two teams lock horns. "England against Germany – they were always the biggest, most unforgettable games in our history," he said. "Football fans can only look forward to this classic."[/size][/font][/color] [/quote]
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