The following is a live account of the greatest damn soccer game ever. Read it backwards to truly appreciate my stress.
And it is over! The Yanks take the 1-0 victory and move on to the round of 16. England advances as well out of Group C. I dare you to question the greatness of World Cup soccer. That was beyond amazing. I’d continue to comment on it, but I’m not pulling together logical thoughts right now.
God bless America, and God bless Landon Donovan.
92′ Algeria’s captain gets kicked out of the game after getting a red card. No. 19 with the curious blonde mohawk tells the referee to “f**k off.” Sweet kid. Nice to see he has brushed up on his English.
GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! LANDON DONOVAN SCORES! 1-0 USA IN THE 91ST MINUTE!
90′ Four minutes of stoppage time are added. My stomach is in my throat.
87′ We may not advance, but we are currently dominating the realm of hot nervous girl crowd shots.
85′ The apparent “bad boy” of Algerian soccer enters the game. Call me ignorant, but I get nervous around Arabic-speaking people that are described as “bad boys.”
81′ NO! NOT AGAIN! Dempsey is elbowed in the face by an Algerian player while in the box. The referees call nothing although it should have been a straight red card to a player who already holds one yellow. Dempsey has a look of shock on his face as blood runs down his chin. And oh yeah, it would have resulted in a penalty kick as well. The bad luck continues.
79′ Algerian player takes too long to get up from a fall, so the USA crowd boos. Meanwhile, I’m trying to decide if I am on the brink of a serious heart failure or a humiliating piss pants situation.
77′ Free kick upcoming for the US after a foul on Dempsey…Like so many other chances, Bradley’s shot lands right in the gut of the Algerian keeper.
74′ The offensive pressing of the US is causing an occasionally very vulnerable defense. Luckily for them, Algerians specialize in exporting oat, not scoring goals.
71′ There are Nazis taping our game. I repeat, there are Nazis taping our game.
66′ An anti-climatic thought at this moment of the game, but does anyone else find it strange that there are so many empty seats at this game?
I can tell you that the England game is packed and has a very noticeable lack of vuvuzelas. For at least one game during this tournament, singing is the backdrop for the England-Slovenia fixture.
63′ Maurice Edu, a midfielder, subs out of the game in favor of another striker. Prepare for an all-out assault.
56′ Jozy Altidore has a huge break that ends in yet another Dempsey near miss. This time it is off the inside post on an excellent opportunity. A scoreless end to this game would be beyond frustrating after all of these chances.
54′ US goalkeeper Tim Howard speaks in two word phrases with half of each phrase being a profanity.
50′ Back from my feast. A few minutes ago, the British announcer said “If there was a World Cup for fight and spirit, the US squad would be in the final.” My orange slice and Gatorade comment is starting to sound more and more accurate. I haven’t heard that line since second grade recreational soccer.
Random Halftime Note: I really don’t like Alexi Lalas. Now off to my breakfast of chicken wings. AMERICA!
45′ The first half is given just one minute of additional time. Technically it is stopped after 55 seconds. As the players and referees head to the locker rooms, a more familiar sound is briefly heard over the overzealous vuvuzelas. That’s right, boos for the Dempsey offsides call.
That’s the America I know and love.
41′ There was just another unsuccessful USA shot on goal. I’ll let you guess who shot it.
38′ I love but am perplexed by the random slow-motion replays that ESPN decides to show during these games. It’s always a 3-5 second clip of someone yelling or talking passionately often with no real explanation. I have no idea if this is common in, say, soccer broadcasts in England or anything.
34′ Dempsey has yet another close scoring chance, this time he is rejected by the short-sleeved Algerian goalkeeper. No, Dempsey is not the only USA player taking part in this game, but he is currently the only one worth mentioning.
30′ The limey announcer informs us that Algeria was victim to one of the biggest scams in World Cup history when their entire team was attacked by sheep on the final day of group play, or something like that.
28′ The soccer field has always been a mecca for awful hair. Algeria is doing its best to make sure that stands true.
23′ Replays and announcers show that Dempsey was possibly even with the defender and therefore not guilty of being offsides. “Here we go again,” says the announcer without the British accent.
An update of the England game shows that the Brits have taken a 1-0 lead over Slovenia. If these two scores stand, England moves on, and the Yanks get sent back to the land o’ pigskin.
20′ GOAL! GOAL! GOA…not so fast. A USA goal is disallowed when Clint Dempsey is called for offsides. Excessive flag waving delayed…for now.
13′ USA coach Bob Bradley’s son Michael plays for the national team. One can only assume that Michael’s mom brings orange slices and Gatorades for the team to enjoy at halftime.
11′ The official USA-Algeria drinking game: Everytime the British announcer says “tense,” take a drink.
8′ Clint Dempsey sends a long shot over the goal. In case you are wondering, USA players will be mentioned by name while Algerian players will be referred to as “Algeria.” Deal with it.
5′ USA almost gets off to a disastrous start when Algeria has a huge opportunity hit the post. Algeria has yet to score in this World Cup, so that would have been extra bad.
A quick run through of the referees assures us that public enemy Koman Coulibaly has been sent home. All is good as we ready for kickoff.
Few moments are better at a World Cup than the national anthem. I hereby petition that we outlaw celebrities or local kids singing national anthems at all sporting events and let the fans sing. Gives me chills every time.
Cameras bring us to Loftus Versfeld Stadium where the game will take place. The players make the traditional march out to the field holding the hands of confused youngsters.