Do you believe in Miracles?
Big, big day for USA soccer. If we somehow advance today, we'll have to make the rest of the world change the name from football to soccer. More on the game below, but first some unfinished business.
I thought people would be able to access the link for the Top 3 goals but I guess not. Here they are (but honestly, I would change #3 to Joe Cole's wonderstrike for England against Sweden).
Argentina's 24 passes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnOGx7DL-CQ
Spain's splendid skill: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz0nFbKT9Kc
Fring's missile: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vLZJQOcJZQ
The first match-ups in the last 16 are set as Saturday's early game is Germany-Sweden followed by Argentina-Mexico. Sunday's slate is England-Ecuador and what looks like the best game of these four, Portugal-Netherlands.
While the last two days have produced some nice football, especially in Germany's surprisingly easy 3-0 romp over Ecuador and the Sweden-England game, today should see a step-up in the suspense department. Every team in the US group has something to play for and later on, Australia-Croatia is a must-win game as well.
I won't get into all the scenarios that could lead to the USA advancing. This link sums all those up nicely. I find no.7 very intriguing. http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=372079&cc=5739 Always take heads.
My hope is the USA wins today obviously. If we win and don't advance, I still think the USA has taken huge strides this WC. Getting 4 points from this group would be a great accomplishment, especially considering the dismal showing against the Czechs.
Ghana will be a tough task. Essien is a world-class midfielder and unlike some other teams (England, Brazil) he doesn't have to share the ball in the midfield. Appiah is a perfect compliment to Essien since Appiah plays just behind the forwards or wanders off to the wings leaving Essien lots of space in the middle. While Ghana is missing 2 strikers due to suspension on cards, the midfield duo of Essien and Appiah should provide the replacements with some good opportunities.
As for the USA, they need to play with the same hunger and skill they showed against Italy. Both the Czech and Italians created plenty of chance against Ghana and I expect the USA to do the same. Traditionally, African teams are usually quite tired in the 3rd game of each WC due to the tremendous amounts of running they do in each game. But nobody ran more or played harder than the 9 USA guys against Italy. Praying that the USA won't be leg weary today.
Ever since the draw was announced it seemed the USA was going to have to beat Ghana to advance. Well, that day has arrived. I'm so anxious, excited and scared for this game. It's like waiting in line to get an autograph from Stephen Segal. The suspense is enormous. But I believe in miracles and say USA wins 2-0 and Italy beats the Czechs 2-1. Go USA and go Italy.
Enjoy the games.