World Cup As a Bandwagon Fills, a Team Fails Forward

BELGIUMCUP1-master675
“The United States soccer players seemed to pass the ball to Germany more often than they did to their own teammates. Late in the game, two Americans — Jermaine Jones and Alejandro Bedoya — were left splayed on the field after running into each other and knocking heads. Jones had also hit the turf earlier when he ran at full speed into the referee. No matter. After their World Cup match here on Thursday, a 1-0 loss, the American players hugged, high-fived and pumped their fists, while their coach flashed a goofy grin. Their fans, soggy from the torrential rain, chanted: ‘U-S-A, U-S-A.’ Weird thing, this World Cup. It generously laid a giant red, white and blue welcome mat at the back door. The United States escaped the Group of Death by enduring a lot of self-inflicted wounds but never fully losing its pulse. As if by miracle, even in defeat, the United States will advance to the Round of 16, and it is scheduled to play Belgium on Tuesday.” NY Times

World Cup Tactical Analysis: USA 0-1 Germany | Germany expose and dominate wide areas
“On the last day of the group phase, one of the most exciting groups, Group G, drew to an exciting close. All 4 teams were in with a shot of going through to the next round. There was a lot of tension in the air in the build up to this game as a draw was enough to take both sides through, and many had doubts after Germany’s performance against Austria in the 1982 World Cup. That aside though, this was also set to be a very tough game as two very evenly matched sides very going up against one another. Coach Jogi Low, who was assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann during the latter’s time in charge of Die Manschaft went up against his former colleague as well, to add some more spice to the occasion.” Outside of the Boot

U.S. Moves On With Assist From Portugal
“This time, there was no moment. No tingle in the spine, no shiver in the neck, no blood rush to the ears. There was no memory that will live on in hearts and minds and YouTube videos forever. This time, there was only this: About 10 minutes before the end of the United States national team’s World Cup game against Germany on Thursday, a U.S. Soccer staff member sidled up to one of Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s assistants and informed him that Portugal, playing simultaneously about 1,200 miles away in Brasília, had taken a one-goal lead against Ghana. The assistant, Andi Herzog, then turned to his left on the bench and tapped Klinsmann on the arm.” NY Times

U.S. needs possession to continue run
“The emotional ups and downs the U.S. went through in surviving Group G required a year’s supply of Dramamine. The Americans withstood withering pressure to beat Ghana 2-1, played brilliantly before coughing up a late equalizer against Portugal and finally concluded group play with a 1-0 defeat to Germany. Omar Gonzalez summed up the experience perfectly when he said, ‘Last game’s draw felt like a loss, and today’s loss felt like a win. It’s pretty weird.’ Taking the big picture view, the Americans had every reason to feel joyful. The U.S. had emerged from arguably one of the two toughest groups in the tournament, a magnificent achievement that many observers thought was beyond this side.” ESPN

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