Thursday, June 26, 2014

USA Makes The Knockout Round Again

The USA Men's National Team have qualified for their second straight knockout round for the first time in history. So many "experts" picked against them, some even saying they wouldn't score a goal, though they made short work of the Group of Death by being better than both Ghana and Portugal. They fought hard but lost to Germany 1-0, though thanks to Portugal beating Ghana the US is in and will (most likely) be facing Belgium on Tuesday. Ronaldo scored Portugal's winning goal which sealed the deal. CONCACAF has three teams in the Round of 16. Asia has 0, Africa has 1 (Though Algeria can make it 2). Yet both have more spots in the World Cup...time for a change.

Belgium will be tough, as shown in the last meeting between the two sides where Belgium dominated. We've seen this US team work so hard in this World Cup though, and the game should be a close one. USA will need to do better on the attack than they did against Germany. They did have moments though, particularly in the first half and late in the game with Clint Dempsey almost knocking a header into the net. There is a chance that Jozy Altidore could be back which would help in that department.

A wild fact: USA have finished above England & Italy at two straight World Cups. USA also finished above Italy in 2002 when they made the Quarterfinals. This is some great progress, and nobody can say both the Men's and Women's team doesn't give us a ton of excitement. And in this world cup: Spain, England, Italy, Portugal are all out at the group stage while USA is moving on.

As a side note, the torrential rains in Recife have opened our eyes to the poor drainage and infrastructure in Brazil. Kind of sad they spend so much money on stadiums with so many problems. They should have used fewer stadiums, I'm not quite sure why they needed to use more stadiums than previous hosts have.

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