Wednesday, June 23, 2010

in stoppage time.

For what it's worth, I'm just going to post this here, now. I'll relink on Twitter when the Alibi puts their copy up, but it's fresh now.

The United States Men's Soccer team won their group in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, thanks to a dramatic 1-0 victory over Algeria. After a scoreless regulation game, with plenty of chances on both sides, Landon Donovan was able to find the back of the net in the ninety-first minute, off a rebound from the Algerian goalkeeper resulting from a great run by Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore. With this win, the team accomplishes one of its goals for this World Cup, advancing beyond the pool play stage. When the group was revealed, many critics said that if the United States did not advance, it would be seen as a failure on our national team's part. Mission accomplished.

This team did not lose a game in pool play. They overcame two disallowed goals in two consecutive games that have been roundly proclaimed, by announcers from multiple countries, to have been fair goals. They went down early in both of their first two games, against England and Slovenia, and narrowly avoided doing the same in the last game. They continued to fight when other teams would have given up, and when other teams, historically, have done so.

With this victory, the USA finishes pool play with 5 points, the same total as England. However, because of the goal differential, Team USA wins the group. This is the first time USA has won the group since 1930, when the first World Cup took place. The 1930 World Cup was also the timing of Team USA's best finish, when we captured third place. Worth noting, though, is that only 13 teams competed in that World Cup, as opposed to the 32 that compete in the modern tournament.

Team USA now awaits the runner-up from Group D, which could be any one of the teams from the entire group: Ghana, Germany, Australia or Serbia.

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