Sunday, June 27, 2010

Soccer defined

For weeks I was so sure the US was going to end up playing Germany in this afternoon's game.  After all, who wouldn't have picked England to finish first in the group?  In case of the matchup that never came and the eventual knockout blow by Germany, I had done some research.  I found the perfect quote that I was going to use.  Instead, the US finished first in the group and played against the second place team from Group D.  And it was (as I'm sure you'll find in articles everywhere) deja vu all over again.  In 2006 Ghana delivered the death blow that knocked the US out of the World Cup.  That was a 2-1 loss in the final game of group play.

Last night proved no different.  The game looked just like the previous three games.  The US came out unprepared and paid an early price.  They tied it back up early in the second half, sending the game into extra time.  But Ghana scored quickly in the extra period.  This time the magic had run out.  This time there was no dramatic come from behind victory for the US.  They had plenty of chances and fought hard but just couldn't connect.  Only another loss and early dismissal from the World Cup courtesy of the same opponent from 2006. 

And that quote I previously mentioned?  It still works pretty well for the US.  Former English striker Gary Lineker was once asked to define soccer.  Here's the quote, with a sleight adjustment:
Soccer is a game played by 22 people that run around, play the ball, and one referee who makes a slew of mistakes, and in the end Germany Ghana always wins.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to today's England-Germany match.  However, after last night's game, you can excuse me if there's a bit of enthusiasm missing on my behalf.  Nevertheless, it should be a great game.  I'm curious to see if England (and specifically a Mr. Rooney) have finally woken up or if the above-mentioned original quote can be used once more.  As for Germany, they seem to have a few injuries to worry about.  Without the injuries, I would say this is Germany's game for the taking.  Now I'm not too sure.  If Germany fields their normal squad, I think they win 2-1.

What? You think I'd bet against Paul the Octopus?

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