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Tim Howard in the World Cup

After a valiant effort, the U.S. World Cup team were eliminated by Ghana in the World Cup’s first round of elimination matches.  The U.S. lost 2-1 when Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan scored what proved to be the winning goal three minutes into the first extra time period.  The U.S. team’s advancement into this round, as well as being the top club in their group coming out of group play, despite the obstacles of bad refereeing, says a lot about the team.  The television ratings proved that Americans were following the team, and for however long, the viewing public could appreciate the sport.  Fans and supporters of soccer in the States hope that that appreciation can last long, especially considering the drama and thrill of this World Cup’s U.S. squad, which was led by Landon Donovan and Tim Howard, both of whom played with the heart of champions, although without its title.

Read More | ESPN


Landon Donovan

Forty-five seconds into stoppage/injury time, Landon Donovan scored the go-ahead and what proved to be the winning goal in a U.S. 1-0 victory over Algeria.  The U.S. finishing with five points, tied with England, finished at the head of its group due to the tiebreaker of most goals scored (four to two) and move on to the next round.  They will play Group D runner-up, Ghana, on Saturday at 2PM ET.  Donovan scored his 44th international goal, which is the American record.  Thanks to the drama the U.S. team has been through thus far, there is high interest in the team and World Cup in general from Americans, a group not known for its love of soccer, as much as its love for football and baseball.  Go U.S.!

Read More | ESPN

Koman Coulibaly

Koman Coulibaly, the infamous and detested World Cup referee that spoiled the United States’ non-victory, may not take the pitch again as a referee according to rumors on how FIFA will deal with the unfortunate situation.  The U.S. was down 2-0 to Slovenia, but came back to tie the match at 2-2.  In the 86th minute, Maurice Edu seemed to score the go-ahead goal, but Coulibaly disallowed it for a reason that is not entirely and aesthetically know since replay shows that there were no infractions by the U.S.  Because of Coulibaly’s call, only getting the tie could keep the U.S. from advancing if they lose their next match against Algeria.  However, the U.S. does control its own destiny, as a win will have them advance into the next round.

Read More | Yahoo! Sports

World Cup US versus England Robert Green

The United States and England finished their World Cup match in a 1-1 tie, much to the joy of the US and its fans.  The English team were heavy favorites going into the matchup and rightly so, however, thanks to a save blunder by England goalkeeper Robert Green on a Clint Dempsey kick.  England captain Steven Gerrard scored the game’s first and England’s only goal early in the match, and despite some heavy pressure at times, the US and goalie Tim Howard staved off anymore goals.  England’s star and Manchester United member, Wayne Rooney was quiet throughout the match.  The United States plays Slovenia next in their Group C matchup on June 18th.  England plays Algeria the same day to give a clearer picture as to whom will advance from the group.

Read More | Sports Illustrated

Italy celebrates!

While much of the United States was out enjoying a beautiful summer Sunday afternoon, over 1 billion people worldwide were witness to a dramatic World Cup finale.  The World Cup has only been decided in a shooutout two times previously, once with Italy losing to Brazil in the 1994 World Cup.  Congrats to Italy on 5-3 shootout win over France for their fourth World Cup Championship.

This match was the perfect ending to an incredible month of World Cup action.  Despite the poor showing by the U.S., the Europeans showed the rest of the world why this is still their sport and kept us entertained (and distracted) during those early morning weekday matches. 

There were a ton of great moments during this Cup: Ghana, Austrailia, and Ukraine advancing to the Round of 16 for the first time ever, the amazing game winning goal from Argentina against Mexico, the shootout between England and Portugal, a red card for Wayne Rooney, the United States giving Italy all they could handle, France knocking off the heavily favored Brazilians, and a German team that far exceeded their own national expectations.  Unfortunately, this World Cup will be forever remembered for the brutal head butt that yielded French star Zidane a red card in the overtime period of the final.

Forza Italia.  I bet the streets are still sticky in Firenze, Roma, Torino, and Milano this morning.

Luca Toni
World, get to know Luca Toni! The star Italian striker could have a very big say in who ends up World Cup Champions when France and Italy battle it out on Sunday evening in Germany.  Toni has risen quickly to stardom in Italy after years milling in the Serie B and later Serie A. 

Fully utilizing his tall build (6’4”), he burst onto the stage this year scoring 31 goals for Fiorentina (Florence’s squad) in the Italian Serie A.  Fiorentina, after many dismal years, rode Toni to a 4th place finish and a qualification for the Champions League next season. Toni won the European Golden Boot, scoring the most goals in any of the European Leagues. 

Toni scored his first goal of the World Cup against the Ukraine in the Round of 8, and then added another later on in the same match. 

If Italy is going to beat France they will need a stellar performace from both Toni and Francesco Totti up front, and continued tough defense.  Through six games, the Italian defense has yet to yield a goal (other than the own goal they spotted the USA in the first round). 


Forza Azzurri

Posted by Sean O'Connor Categories: Soccer,

ItalyWow! The World Cup is really heating up, and we can thank ESPN 360 for the ability to watch football in the middle of the work day.  Italy won today on a dramatic 95th minute penalty kick after playing down a man for entire second half.  A gutsy performance by the Socceroos was negated by Francesco Totti’s game winner.

World Cup trophy World Cup logo 1st bracket
Germany vs. Sweden
Argentina vs. Mexico

2nd bracket
Italy vs. Australia
Switzerland vs. Ukraine

NOTE: Winner of the 1st bracket will play the winner of the 2nd bracket in the semi-finals.

3rd bracket
England vs. Ecuador
Portugal vs. Netherlands

4th bracket
Brazil vs. Ghana
Spain vs. France

NOTE: Winner of the 3rd bracket will play the winner of the 4th bracket in the semi-finals.

US a Ghana

Posted by Sean O'Connor Categories: Editorial, Kudos, Soccer,

GhanaGetting bounced from the World Cup seems so final.  When you loose, there is no “next year.” You are dun-ski. The only thing I can compare it to is loosing in the NCAA Tournament.

These two events are the most passion filled tournaments on the planet, and it’s too bad that most Americans will tune the World Cup out at this point. Players wear their hearts on their sleeves and their countries flags proudly on their chests. The World Cup is a special tournament where one goal or one missed call by a referee makes the difference in winning or losing it’s any teams match. Truly, “one game changes everything.”  There are no seven game series to make sure the best team eventually wins more games than the inferior team.  It’s about getting hot, and getting some breaks- just like the NCAA Tournament.

For Ghana, a country smaller than Oregon and a population of less that 25 million, to beat the United States is an unimaginable upset. I’m all about Cinderella’s - I was at Gonzaga for the initial Elite 8 run, afterall.  For that reason, and for the fact at their entire country was watching the match today (and will be celebrating with pride for the next week), a part of me is happy that Ghana won today.

As they move on to the knock-out stages of the World Cup, I hope the clock never strikes midnight for this squad.