I have absolutely nothing educated to say about that game. There was a friggin' lid on the goal for 90 minutes, infuriatingly placed there by a combination of wayward American finishing, a competent Algerian goalie, and a Belgian linesman whose country I would forever curse if they didn't produce such delicious beer. Chance after chance went begging. I couldn't eat, I couldn't drink, and I could barely form coherent sentences other than "A goal, please!?! F***!!!" I could barely see the screen at Ri Ra because we were sitting towards the back of the room and, sports fans being sports fans, everyone stood up at key moments. When Landon scored the winner, all I could do was judge the reaction of the people in the front of the room before jumping around like I just won the Showcase Showdown and landing in the arms of my friend who convinced me to watch the game at Ri Ra instead of Taco Mac, which has a million elevated TVs.
Now, we're likely on the Serbia/Ghana/South Korea/Uruguay quarter of the bracket. Nothing is a given or likely for a team that rallied from 2-0 down against Slovenia and then needed a Hollywood ending to beat Algeria, but that's not exactly the quadrant of death. If we were wondering which quarterfinal is going to be billed as the "one of these teams is about to make the World Cup semis?", here it is. Thank you to Raymond Domenech and the incompetent FFF for their attempt to one-up Gamelin for the title of "worst French management ever."
Other random thoughts:
- Now do you people understand why I and most of the rest of the planet love this game? There is nothing quite like the Chinese water torture that is the second half of a game in which your team needs a goal. The second half of Chelsea-Barca in '09 took a little bit off my life; today did the same. BTW, have I ever mentioned that Landon Donovan is Andres Iniesta with a tan?
- What was more improbable: the Nats winning in injury time or Jonathan Bornstein putting in a good performance in a crunch game. Let's hear it for the Tribe!
- Speaking of which, I'm not predisposed to root for Germany, especially when Ghana are the last hope for an African team making the knock-out rounds in this tournament. However, the prospect of an England-Germany knock-out game is too tasty. This is one of the conflicts that the World Cup presents. On the one hand, most fans like to root against the favorites, especially teams like Germany and France. On the other hand, when the favorites don't progress, the knock-out rounds aren't as good. Does anyone remember anything about Turkey-Senegal in '02?
- Save for his finishing (which is an awfully big caveat for a striker), this was one of Jozy Altidore's best games for the USMNT. He was a constant threat, right into injury time. Let's hear it for Bob Bradley making sure that these players are in peak physical condition.
- Spare a thought for Slovenia. They are the smallest nation in this tournament and they were mere minutes away from progressing.
- When I get around to buying one of the navy US jerseys, Michael Bradley's name is going on the back.
- I could not have been angrier at Algeria as the game went on. They had a chance to progress with two goals, but they were sitting in a friggin' bunker, making no effort to press the US or force mistakes. Maybe they were just out of gas, but to my conspiratorial mind, I assumed that they were letting their dislike of the US trump their own self-interest. Congrats to the Desert Foxes on going goalless for 270 minutes; you brought SO much more to the table than Egypt would have. (/shout out to the Pharaohs).