So this isn’t supposed to be only about soccer (football) by any stretch, but it’s in the center of my universe now.
Today’s Results (6/18) of Group C
US eked out a 2-2 tie against Slovenia.
England had a disappointing 0-0 tie against Algeria.
Where We Stand
US has 2 points and a +0 goal differential.
Slovenia has 4 points and a +1 goal differential.
England has 2 points and a +0 goal differential.
Algeria has 1 point and a -1 goal differential.
The final two matches of group C pit the US against Algeria and England against Slovenia.
1. US wins
If the US wins, they’re in. Simple as that.
2. US ties
With a tie the US would need a tie between England and Slovenia. England also could not outscore the US by more than 2 goals, since they’ll have the same overall points. The tie breaker in question would be goals (with 3 ties the goal differential for both teams would obviously be zero) and the US currently has a 2 goal lead over the English.
3. US loses
If the US loses, they’re out. Simple as that.
As a first real post I’d like to write about US Men’s National Team.
General: The US teams has a balance of experience and young players. Donavan is striking as always, while Clint Dempsey and Bob Bradley’s son Michael Bradley head up the mid-field. Dempsey showed his worth in last summer’s Gold Cup, scoring an important goal in a stepping-stone win against Spain. Oguchi Onyewu returns from an injury sustained 7 months ago. It’ll be interesting to see if his how and if his fitness and form return. The sure-handed Tim Howard returns as Goalie.
Group play comes first with 3 matches.
Game 1: England V. US, 6/12, ABC, 2:30 PM EST
Ranked 8th in FIFA standings, England is a powerhouse with good players at almost every position. However their venerable captain Rio Ferdinand was recently injured. This makes the back line weak and inexperienced and could come as an emotional blow less than a week from the first match.
Prediction: Even with the loss of Ferdinand the English have a great chance. I think the US is playing well enough (coming off two friendly victories) to get a tie.
Note: I’ll be burning my English jersey in effigy shortly before this game.
Game 2: Slovenia V. US, 6/18, ESPN, 10 AM EST
An okay team with young players, Slovenia is ranked 25th in FIFA standings. They haven’t had much success as a team yet placing second to last in Euro ’08. A relative unknown, there isn’t much to say about Slovenia.
Prediction: US needs a victory here if they lose their first game to England. This should be too hard though given the US’s mixture of experience and youth, which should have an obvious advantage over Slovenia’s inexperienced youngsters.
Game 3: US V. Algeria, 6/23, ESPN, 10 AM EST
Having home continent advantage won’t be enough for Algeria, potentially the weakest team in the World Cup, to give the US much of a scare. They upset Egypt, a much stronger team, to make it.
Prediction: Again, US needs a victory here, which shouldn’t be too hard. The Algerians probably shouldn’t be here, and thus probably won’t be after group play is done.
The US should make it out of group play as the 2nd team in Group C behind England and any victories beyond group play should be seen as icing on the cake.
And since you’re wondering, my favorite teams for this WC are the US, France, The Orange, then Spain and Italy.