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US soccer World Cup rewind: First place in Group C

My match report. Liz Clarke's piece on Landon Donovan. Columnist Sally Jenkins' observations from Nevada Smith's bar in New York.

Images of the front page from the main news section and sports section.

My audio contribution:

Okay, show of hands, who had the USA, Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea in the same round-of-16/quarterfinal bracket, with one guaranteed of going to the semifinals? Because of the unpredictable final tables in Groups A-D, the other quartet features England, Germany, Argentina and Mexico.

The matchups:
SATURDAY
Uruguay vs. South Korea in Port Elizabeth, 10 a.m. ET
USA vs. Ghana in Rustenburg, 2:30 p.m.
SUNDAY
England vs. Germany in Bloemfontein, 10 a.m.
Argentina vs. Mexico in Johannesburg, 2:30 p.m.

For USA news, notes and quotes.....

*Jay DeMerit received five stitches in his tongue for an injury suffered in the opening moments. Clint Dempsey needed four stitches for a gash to his upper lip in the 81st minute.

*The victory ended a six-game winless streak in World Cup play, dating back to the 2002 quarterfinal against Germany.

*Someone -- and I can't remember who -- noted that the United States had as many goals disallowed in group play as England scored.

*In their past four official FIFA matches, the Americans scored in the final seconds playing a man down to tie Costa Rica and win CONCACAF's final qualifying group; came from behind to draw with England; came from two goals down to tie Slovenia; scored in added time to topple Algeria.

*Bob Bradley: "In soccer sometimes, you can't always control a call or a bounce but you can control what you are all about as a team, what you put into it, how committed you are. That has become the special quality of this group."

*USSF President Sunil Gulati: "It is so trite to say, but it is so true: The American spirit, man, came through."

*Captain Carlos Bocanegra invented a word: "We're leaving it late, aren't we? I can imagine for the fans it's getting a bit heart attack-esque."

*Bill Clinton met with the team for about 45 minutes in the locker room after the match. Said Landon Donovan: "You could tell how touched he was by the moment."

Added Bocanegra: "He celebrated with us, which was really cool. He is one of my all-time favorites. Winning this game, having him in the locker room, it was really emotional."

*Gulati, on the final anxious moments: "I never give up. We needed a five-goal swing here last summer [on the last day of group play in the Confederations Cup] to get through to the second round. I didn't give up then, we weren't giving up today."

Gulati was sitting in a VIP section, one row behind Clinton and FIFA President Sepp Blatter. When Donovan scored, Clinton "stood up. He was excited." Did Gulati celebrate with Brother Bill? "I didn't think it was a good idea to get him to spin and give him a big bear hug."

The victory, Gulati recognized, would continue to lift soccer's profile in a country that has taken a genuine curiosity in this team. "It would have been devastating if we draw the game. This would've been a great opportunity lost."

By Steve Goff  |  June 24, 2010; 4:46 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , South Africa , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: American soccer, South Africa, World Cup  
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Next: Former President Clinton on U.S. soccer: Count me in for the next round!

Comments

and now I've heard the voice of Goff. Nice report, good sir. Great stuff.

Posted by: glfrazier | June 24, 2010 5:54 AM | Report abuse

I think I know the last 10 minutes of game commentary by heart after watching about fifty times now.

Steve and Post colleagues, keep up the great coverage. Hope you have lots more to cover.

Posted by: DCB23 | June 24, 2010 6:13 AM | Report abuse

I dig Bob Bradley.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 24, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Agree with your fear of Ghana. We aren't playing Ghana we are playing what's left of Africa's WC changes in Africa (unless Brazil destroys Portugal by 10 goals and/or Cote D'Ivoire pulls off a big win). And Ghana will feel very confident having beaten us before in the WC.

I would rather go up against Mexico or Germany in the round of 16 but gladdy take Uruguay over Argentina for the round of 8.


Posted by: Southeasterner | June 24, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

+1

The difference between this team and the 06 version is motivation. Give credit to Bradley for fostering that. Give credit to him for building a TEAM that is the polar opposite of the French and English ones. Give credit to him for reading the game and going to the 3-4-3 when we needed it. If we get to the quarters, he deserves a contract extension and a generous pay raise.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 24, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Just caught up on all those post showing scenes at various places. I want to go to Lucky Bar on Saturday but my girlfriend is all about Fados (Since she wears the pants, I'll be at Fados)

Ghana does scare me but I think they are beatable. They have yet to really control a game; and failed to impress me against Australia. I also think Bradley will have to boys tactically prepared and highly motivated.

Expect a nervous, heart pounding 90 minutes. I am willing to bet this game will be wide open. I still think we take it. (I do not even want to dream about the potential quarterfinals match up we could be facing -I am not a fan of using "we" but who cares. My emotional output makes me feel a part of the team)

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 24, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I dig ESPN

Posted by: OWNTF | June 24, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Let's start the Saturday lineup discussions. 1. Do you play Gooch? 2. Do we play conservative in the beginning and wide open later? Or wide open to start and then bunker? 3. Upfront - who is the second striker? I ultimately liked Buddle in the lineup with jozy. Two big men with Donovan & Dempsey to put it in.

Posted by: lrogers287 | June 24, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

What's this I read? HIRE Bradley?? I never agreed with all the hue and cry during qualifying that he should be fired. What a difference a year makes. Maybe ESPN is right - one game changes everything.

Posted by: BaltoFan | June 24, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

When Landon Donovan is in the The Reliable Source, it's proof that soccer is going mainstream.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 24, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

People forget that Bill Clinton is prone to heart attack. I don't think watching the USA play is good for his heart.

Posted by: UnitedinTx | June 24, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

People forget that Bill Clinton is prone to heart attack. I don't think watching the USA play is good for his heart.

Posted by: UnitedinTx | June 24, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

The difference between this team and the 06 version is motivation.
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Way too simplistic. That might cover Donovan, but I'd say he's a better player now, too. I'd say a big difference is Howard v. Keller. Game 1 in '06, Keller tries to catch the Czechs napping with a quick punt upfield. Instead, he overkicks his players and the Czechs counterattack knifes thru the USA defense to score a nearly back-breaking early goal. Yesterday, Howard, sees the real opportunity and throws the outlet to Donovan.

This is a better, more talented and more experienced team. Look at Stuart Holden. Dude plays at Bolton, and looked pretty good there. He gets four minutes of garbage time in the group phase. Do you think Holden would be a bench player on the '06 side? He wouldn't start over Dempsey or Donovan, but Arena would have shuffled the lineup to get him in there.

McBride was a good scorer, but no one could get him the ball in the dangerous positions he required. Altidore opens up the attack in more ways.

It's more than just the intensity.

Posted by: fischy | June 24, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

the hottest fans are the WAGS... proof - http://bleacherreport.com/articles/406613-the-20-hottest-wags-of-the-world-cup

Thank you B/R

Posted by: TimAlvine | June 24, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Two of our guys getting stitches. Glad to see a dirty team like Algeria out

Posted by: FreddieFreeIoader | June 25, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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