Thursday, June 22, 2006
The U.S. lost to Ghana 2-1, and is therefore eliminated from the 2006 World Cup. Lisa, Meg, and I watched the game at the Phoenix Landing, which was packed with rowdy Team USA fans playing hooky from work. The U.S. fell behind early, when the one player on the team I can't stand, Claudio Reyna (he is such a Peyton Manning- scowling at his teammates whenever he messes up, like it was their fault), screwed up on defense and got the ball stolen from him, leading to a Ghana goal. Although he was carried off on a stretcher, I think the only thing injured was Reyna's ego. The U.S. did have a moment of brilliance, when Clint Dempsey one-timed a beautiful cross from DaMarcus Beasley into the back of the net to tie the game. However, the momentum was destroyed when a lousy call against American defender Oguchi Onyewu gave Ghana a penalty kick, which they scored. Replays demonstrated that Onyemu made a clean play for the ball and the slight contact with the opposing player was purely incidental, but once the referee makes the call, nothing can be done. During the second half, the United States had several scoring opportunities (like McBride's header that hit the post), but were unable to score. Ghana picked up some bad habits from Italy and did quite a bit of acting on the field, much to the annoyance of the American fans. For the next World Cup, I hope FIFA comes up with a way to cut down on the time-wasting fake injury theatrics; it's very unbecoming to the sport. Better luck in 2010, U.S.A.
Brazil finally played their joga bonito today, beating Japan 4-1. I was almost ready to jump on the Argentina bandwagon, but yesterday's 0-0 tie against the Netherlands was a snoozer, so I think I'm sticking with Brazil now that the U.S. is out of the running.