So, I’m watching some of the World Cup soccer match this afternoon between the U.S. and Ghana, and I’m getting into it … and I really don’t know what the heck is going on.
This is the first soccer match I’ve watched, I think, since the last World Cup four years ago. OK, I’ve checked out brief glimpses of soccer while clicking through channels here and there, but haven’t watched for more than, say, 10 minutes at a time. This afternoon, I just got through the entire first half of the United States’ second-round match; all 45 minutes and the brief additional time (which I always find amazing for its seemingly indiscriminate length).
I’m not the best person to offer any sort of professional insight on soccer, but here are my thoughts in a nutshell. There’s an awful lot of running. And, these athletes take an awful lot of physical contact (a totally different type than "American football," of course). And, these guys all have to be in absolutely tremendous condition.
Besides those elementary observations? Well, I think Ghana probably outplayed us in the first half, but that’s nothing new for this tournament. We got down 1-0 to England (eventually getting even thanks to a gift goal that will live in infamy), trailed 2-0 against Slovenia (before forging a second tie in what should have been a win; an officiating blunder cost us, and the ref has since been dismissed from the tournament), and controlled play yet couldn’t score against Algeria until Landon Donovan’s last-minute goal advanced us to where we are today. So, maybe one can say that the Americans have their opponents right where they want them.
It has, though, been a slightly unpredictable tournament. Italy, the defending World Cup champ, didn’t advance. France went home early. Spain and Germany suffered significant upset losses. That’s a sampling.
OK … as I write this, action has commenced again. Still 1-0, Ghana. U.S. on two rushes within the last minute or so; looks like they’re coming out like gangbusters right now.
Well, this isn’t a live blog, and I’m by no means a live soccer blogger. But WAIT - how is that not a foul???!!! OK, I think this is a corner kick for us. Nothing doing. Ghana’s got it back. OK, that was quick; now the U.S. is moving the ball around in Ghana’s end. COME ON! That looked like a bad tackle to me! And now it’s way down in the U.S. end again.
Good grief. The above paragraph is about as qualified a soccer report as I can provide. OH MAN GHANA JUST CAME CLOSE TO MAKING IT 2-0.
OK. I’m out. Go, U.S., go.