Look for the blog to return to normal today. Whatever normal is for a little over a week old blog. A lot of soccer stuff happened while I was busy having a moment.
I'm not sure how appropriate this is; but first, I want to thank all of my family, and friends (both old and new) who have dropped me a line through text, facebook or e-mail about yesterday's blog. I had a great time at the watch parties, ended up glad I got "stuck" as Mr. Dad, and was happy to share that story with everyone. i have recieved some interesting stories from you al as well and plan to share them in an upcoming entry.
USA Game Notes:
-Usually when I watch the games, particularly USA games,it is just me, a soda and the TV. I am able to watch action away from the ball, as well as get a real good feel for who did what with the ball.
Watching this game in the company of hundreds of new friends at the Louisville watch parties, I was not able to watch with that kind of detail. So I was glad to read that ESPN.com's Jeff Carlisle was as impressed with Bocanegra in the middle as I was.
-Other players I thought played well: Altidore, Bradley, Donovan, Dempsey. Really the whole team had their moments, but these guys were really really good.
-Not sure I put it in my blog before, but I find myself wishing we had 2014 Altidore, Davies, Bradley and Edu to put with 2010 Donovan, Dempsey and Howard. Howard should still compete well in 4 years as keepers age slower than field players. Donovan and Dempsey will be on a downward slide by then, but still capable. I really think Altidore and Bradley can mature into world stars and Edu and Davies are going to be tough as well. Gooch, DeMerritt, Goodson, Spector all should still be very good on defense in four years as well as any other developing players getting it and getting in.
-A friend of mine, and competitor in my fantasy world cup league (more on that below) Robbie, accused Algeria of playing for the tie. Having not read much about Algeria's reaction to the match I think this is simply not true. American soccer fans, we may want to start getting used to this.
Algeria played the USA the only way they could. As soon as they stretched out for an attack, the USA buried one. I think Algeria tried to be more active attacking, but were simply overmatched on this day and the game easily could have gone three or four to zero.
-Sometimes I like thinking unconventionally, even if my way of thinking would never work. So as I thought about this game, and really soccer in general, would it not benefit a more talented side to lay back and draw opposing players upfield so that there is more space in the attacking half for that team's more talented players?
In particular a team with a world class keeper like Howard who can bail you out of shots other keepers can't handle?
-Another, sillier idea I had was setting a rule where two players on each team could never play in their defending half. Thus the game could be 11 on 9 in the attacking half. Of course this would not work, but this is the stuff I think about.
-The USA now take on likely the only African qualifier Ghana in the round of 16. Tie-haters rejoice, no more of those as tie games play an overtime followed by a shootout.
USA's match with Ghana will be televised live on WHAS 11, with coverage starting at 2:00PM. I wouldn't miss it, the USA has been the most dramatic show at the Cup this tiem around and they will be looking for revenge on a Ghana team that knocked them out in 2006.
Oh to be a June bride:
I am told this is every little girl's dream wedding month. But maybe a little foresight from my good buddy Dr. David Mitchell and his very-soon-to-be wife Melissa. Fan Man Dan (umm, me)is very excited to be a groomsman at the event,just not as excited with the timing of the event in relation to the USA-Ghana match. Wedding to start at 4.Groomsmen due at church for pictures at 2. Yes, that means I will be DVRing THE game (can't very well DVR the wedding. Can I? Right.).
Dr. Dave and I go all the way back to the beginning. One of my first baseball memories was of me hitting a game-winning shot into right center and Dave skipping home as the winning run. It was after that skip that we all realized maybe 7 year-old Dave was going to make his mark in this world somewhere outside of sports. That he has, as a successful doctor.
So anyway, cheers to Dave and Melissa and I am heading to Ohio for the wedding, so blogs will likely be sporadic over the weekend. I will have my laptop and try to pipe in when possible.
If I said it once I said it a thousand times- Dont't plan your wedding every four years in June.
In Other Soccer News:
-England displayed a toughness and willingness to compete that maybe wasn't there against the US or Algeria. They certainly have a tough road in the knockout round, but this kind of resolve is encouraging for the talented side. Still the only goal they have allowed was the one Green scooted in for Dempsey.
-I Michael Colreone'd(kiss of death...Godfather?) Italy by predicting them as the European side most likely to advance in my blog two days ago. I still think they are the toughest side to knockout, and they displayed that toughness by scoring twice late in a desperate attempt to save their Cup. In the end, poor choices by Lippi,the Buffon and Pirlo injuries and a sense of entitlement did them in.
-No mention of this yet, but that horrid decision to award a penalty for Italy on the dive in the box against New Zealand likely cost the Kiwis advancement. I know we as Americans want to think we have been targeted for dismissal by FIFA refs, but bad calls go around and have cost some teams much more than us.
Fantasy World Cup
-Involved in a "for fun only" fantasy World Cup Game with some friends. Eight of us each got four countries and we accumulate points the same way the teams do: one for tie, three for win. One for shootout loss in knockout stage.
When my turn came up the decision was between Germany and England for me. I went England because I thought they had an easier group. With the two teams matching up this weekend, we shall see if I made the right call.
For the record, 3 of my 4 teams advanced, with only 4 point winner Austrailia being left out on tiebreakers.