YOOOAdrian’s 2010 World Cup Recap- 6/23 Day 13

GROUP C

USA VS ALGERIA (USA- 1-0)

  • 3 minutes! 3 minutes from being chastised to being forever immortalized.  One moment sketched into the minds of every American futbol fan for imphamy.  That moment took 4 years worth of practice, preparation, motivation and hard-work to achieve.  But hey, this team ain’t done yet.  American futbol is seen as a joke by the rest of the world.  No, it may not be this country’s number 1 sport, but for guys like Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley, Altidore, and Howard it’s all they think and dream about.  The United States is one of the largest populated nations in the world.  As futbol becomes more and more popular in the United States, the sport will become the number 1 sport for more and more kids.  As I continue to wonder why the outside world hates American futbol.  I really only have one answer.  The United States is already the landmark country in other sports such as basketball, (football), hockey, golf, baseball and most Olympic Sports.  It seems to me that the world takes pride into the United States not being the best at the number 1 sport.  I could be taking this way out of context, but this is my opinion.
  • The USA dominated and controlled the game from start to finish, but then came the Donovan goal.  It took all of 11 seconds for the play to come to fruition.  It started with a save by Tim Howard.  He then outletted an outstanding Peyton Manning led pass down the right flank.  It led Donovan absolutely perfectly.  Donovan then dished off a through-ball to Jozy Altidore who crossed to Dempsey.  The goalkeeper came out.  Dempsey tried rolling it past him, but it ricocheted sharply off his chest to about 7 yards from goal.  Donovan, with his eyeballs sticking out of his head, drilled home the winner to send the USA forward.
  • It’s been a World Cup of frustration for the US.  The referee once again took away a goal. He called Dempsey offsides in a call that was shaky at best.  Thank god, I didn’t have to dig into that a little bit deeper.  I was pissed!
  • To quit being all mushy, mushy for a second.  I do have some questions.  Hey, I’m a journalist, I have to look at both sides.  I question how good this team really is?  We will find out as knockout play begins.  Looking back, 5 freakin points won the United States this group.  I know the pundits will say, heck, they won the group that’s all that matters.  Yes, that is correct, but in a group that looked so weak on paper, really, how good is this team?  Or is Slovenia and Algeria a bit underrated?  I think it’s Slovenia and Algeria, but like I said we will find out soon enough.  That’s why we play the games, right?  
  • I’ve always been a believer that talent is just half the battle when it comes to the success of a team.  Hey, you can’t fill out a blueberry pie without the blueberries.  Team chemistry, leadership and mental strength are essential and vital as well.  This squad proved they had all three.  You don’t just come back down 2-0 without mental toughness.  You don’t just score in stoppage time in the 3rd game with everything on the line without mental toughness.  And through it all, Donovan, the maestro, was in the middle of it all.  Look at France.  Who was their leader?  Where was their chemistry?  Mental stability?
  • You gotta love this draw now for the US.  I’m going to spoil a little bit (yes, Ghana advanced).  In the top left-half of the bracket it’s the USA, Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea.  Nothing to take away from these teams, they’ve earned these positions, but when you look at the top right-half it’s Germany, Argentina, England and Mexico.  Tell me which side you’d rather be on?
  • Quick Facts-  This is the first time the USA has won their 3rd game in a group.  Algeria did not score a goal in the World Cup.
  • Men of the Match
  • USA– Landon Donovan
  • Algeria– Rais M’Bolhi
  • GAME RATING- 3 1/2*

  (One Shining Moment)

ENGLAND VS SLOVENIA (Eng- 1-0)

  • Honestly, I didn’t watch this one, I had other priorities.  I did catch the game on later on ESPN3.com.
  • Cappelo made some changes in this one, 3 in the starting line-up.  The two that really stood out were Jermain Defoe and James Milner.  They combined on the lone goal of the match.  Milner sent in a nice cross Defoe sent home and England to the knockout stage.
  • With just one more goal, England would have won the group on goal differential.  The best chance came from Wayne Rooney.  Rooney, who’s been quite, clanked one off the post that would have won the group.
  • I noticed, tactically, that England tried to swing in more crosses.  The positioning was better, the passes were better, and the shots were better.
  • In 1990, England drew their 1st two games and then went all the way to the semifinals.  Could they be hitting their stride?  They better be, Germany’s lurking next.
  • Quick Facts- This is the 10th straight World Cup that England has gotten past the group stages.
  • Men of the Match
  • England– James Milner
  • Slovenia– Samir Handanovic
  • GAME RATING- 1 3/4*

(A sigh of relief)

FINAL GROUP C STANDINGS

  1. USA (5 pts)
  2. England (5 pts)
  3. Slovenia (4 pts)
  4. Algeria (1 pt)

GROUP D

GERMANY VS GHANA (Ger- 1-0)

  • Heading into this game, I had the feeling that Germany wasn’t going to lose this game.  No Way!  The history speaks for itself.  Well,  Ghana played Germany tough in one of the more exciting 1-0 games you’ll see.
  • I love the mix of players Germany has.  They brought along many of the members of the German under-21 team.  With the experience of the veterans and the hunger of the youth, it’s a perfect mixture.
  • One of those guys is Mesut Ozil.  He was fantastic today, and provided Germany’s only goal on a wonderfully played half-volley.  He faded it perfectly in the top left corner of the net.  Besides the goal, he constantly found open gaps and spaces in the defense.  He made things happen for Germany all game long.
  • Both goalies were excellent, especially in 1-1 situations.
  • Ghana played wide open today, but once again struggled in the final 1/3.  I’m still questioning their offense.  Both goals in the World Cup came on penalty kicks.
  • The game featured half-brothers, Kevin Prince-Boateng (Ghana) and Jerome Boateng (Germany).  I still don’t get FIFA’s system.  How can you be born in one country, but be able to play for another?  Can you imagine if Zinedine Zidane decided to suit up for Algeria instead of France.  It doesn’t make sense to me.
  • Quick Facts- Germany has advanced past the group stage for 15 consecutive World Cups.
  • Men of the Match
  • Germany- Mesut Ozil
  • Ghana- Kwadwo Asamoah
  • GAME RATING- 3 1/4*

(Philip Lahm)

SERBIA VS AUSTRALIA (Aus- 2-1)

  • Wow! Pure chaos in this one.  In a matter of 15 minutes, Australia looked like they may advance after scoring 2 goals in 3 minutes.  Then, with 10 minutes to go, Serbia looked like they were going to tie, which would have let them through.  Pandemonium!
  • It was nice to see Tim Cahill back on the pitch after the red card he got against Germany.  Then to add a little bit of jimmie’s on the ice-cream, he scored Australia’s 1st goal with his patented header.
  • Everyone wrote Australia off after their awful performance to start against Germany.  The papers in Australia proclaimed that the team was too old.  Well, the old grizzled vets almost got to shine one more time in the knockout round.
  • How disappointing for Serbia.  This was everyone’s signature dark horse.  Sometimes, it’s better off going unnoticed than having to live up to some tough, unrealistic expectations.  You see this all the time in sports.
  • Is it just me or do the mannerisms of Josh Kennedy remind you of a kangaroo?
  • Quick Facts- Australia snapped a 5 game unbeaten streak in the World Cup with the win.
  • Men of the Match
  • Australia- Tim Cahill
  • Serbia- Nemanja Vidic
  • GAME RATING- 3 1/4*

 Australia's Josh Kennedy, left, competes for the ball with Serbia's Nemanja Vidic, right, during the World Cup group D soccer match between Australia and Serbia at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, Wednesday, June 23, 2010.  (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

(Josh Kennedy)

FINAL GROUP D STANDINGS

  1. Germany (6 pts)
  2. Ghana (4 pts)
  3. Australia (4 pts)
  4. Serbia (3 pts)

Tomorrow’s Schedule

  • (10:00 est) Netherlands vs Cameroon
  • (10:00 est) Japan vs Denmark
  • (2:30 est) Italy vs Slovakia
  • (2:30 est) Paraguay vs New Zealand
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