World Cup: Recap of United States v. Algeria and England v. Slovenia

Written by Soccer, Sports

United States 1-0 Algeria
Slovenia 0-1 England

Last night, a friend quoted the speech given by Herb Brooks (as portrayed by Kurt Russell) before the game against the Soviets in Miracle: “This is your time, now go out there and take it.” Well, that may have been good for a Disney movie, written by screenwriters, but I had a genuine Brooks quote in my head for today’s game. Going into the third period of the final game and losing 2-1 to Finland, Brooks walked into a silent dressing room and said the following:

“If you lose this game, you’ll take it to your fucking graves.” Then Brooks took a few steps towards the door, turned back to his players and repeated, “Your fucking graves.”

Final score: United States 4, Finland 2.

I have no idea whether Bob Bradley used the former or latter approach in his motivational speech today, and I don’t care. And I don’t care that it took 20 shots to get a 91st minute goal from Landon Donovan to do it. And I don’t care that Algeria were unlucky when they hit the crossbar in the 6th minute. And I don’t care that we were screwed again by a wrong decision by an official which could have made the next 70 minutes easier. And I don’t care that my head is pounding, my pulse is through the roof, and my hands are still shaking two hours after the final whistle.

All I know is that, with every blown chance in the second half, I’m cursing Charlie Davies for his stupid decision to break curfew back in October, which resulted in him nearly dying in a car accident and caused him to miss the tournament, because we needed him out there. Then, in an instant, I’m screaming on the couch, punching and kicking the air with all four limbs, tears of joy streaming down my cheeks. We were two minutes away from elimination and then, we won the group.

This is the game we’ve chosen – the one that gets us bemused and/or derisive looks and comments from co-workers, friends, and family when we talk about it. Moments like this are the reason why.

As for the England game, I barely paid attention, looking over at my computer when Jermaine Defoe scored and during the occasional break. But I was too fixated on the U.S. game to care. It sounded like Slovenia had plenty of chances but in the end, they just weren’t good enough. England, as always, did what it needed to advance, and full credit to them. We’ll know on Sunday if their inability to score more goals – to say nothing of beating the United States and Algeria – will hurt them, just as their loss to Romania in 1998 set up the famous showdown with Argentina.

Predictions against results:

Landon Donovan didn’t dominate like I thought he would. But his overall game wasn’t as bad as some have suggested. But he kept pressing and became stronger until he finally did what needed to be done. I honestly didn’t think England had that fight in them.