Dark, ominous clouds rolled along the Brazilian skyline, unleashing an onslaught of rain onto today’s World Cup games. In what was arguably the most important game for all the teams in Group G (Portugal, US, Germany, and Ghana), Germany would clash against America in this sloshy, muggy weather. As the streets of Brazil inundated, thousands of dedicated spectators would trudge their way to the Arena Pernambuco to witness the climactic conclusion to this stunning Group G fixture. The U.S. would come into this match needing a draw or a win in order to advance to the next stage of the tournament. In the occurrence of a U.S. loss, Portugal would need to defeat Ghana by at most 4 goals in order for the U.S. to still have the possibility of reaching the Final 16. With these facts embedded into every fan’s head, thousands of Americans nervously turned on their television screens to watch the fate of their team.
Possible Ways of Advancing: Current Standings (before today):
1. U.S. wins against Germany Germany – 4 points
2. U.S. draws against Germany U.S.A – 4 points
3. U.S. loses against Germany (and Portugal Portugal – 1 point
beats Ghana by at most 4 goals) Ghana – 1 point
As soon as the starting whistle had shrilled throughout the field, the German players immediately attacked the Americans. In the first 10 minutes of the game, Germany pressed the Americans, finding neat little passes and dribbles. The Americans would slowly back into their own box and would rarely even touch the ball. Due to superb defending, the Americans would slowly grab more control of the game and would slowly begin to connect with each other.
At halftime, the score would end 0-0. This was a relief for the Americans as a draw would allow both Germany and America to proceed to the Final 16. However, this cherished score was about to change. Deciding to take a more offensive approach to this game, Joachim Löw (the German manager) introduced German striker Klose (who is currently tied with Ronaldo for scoring the most goals in his World Cups). The game would once again take a sharp detour with the Germans looking dangerous on numerous occasions. Finally, in the 55th minute, Thomas Muller would blast the ball from outside the box past the outstretched fingertips of desperate goalie Tim Howard into the net.
But the Americans did not lose hope. Especially not the American fans. Throughout the match, the American fans, who were drenched in Brazil’s mini monsoon today, made several impressive attempts to inspire their team, chanting “USA, USA, USA” repeatedly. Unfortunately, despite the US’ best attempts, Germany would close the game strongly, dominating possession, shots, and ultimately, the U.S.
However, as both teams left the pitch, both German and U.S. players were exuberant. And it was not because the rain had finally stopped. It was because Portugal had defeated Ghana 2-1 thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo goal. Thanks to Portugal, the U.S. is now proceeding to the next round of this tournament, alongside Germany.
Out of the original 32 teams, only 16 remain. And the U.S. is one of them. As an American fan, I doubted the U.S.’ and its capability to succeed in its Group of Death. I doubted the U.S. and its capability to succeed without American legend Landon Donovan. I doubted the U.S’ ability to perform well in this World Cup. I have never been so glad to be wrong.
It is true that it would be very fortuitous for this team to make it to the semi finals, perhaps even the quarter–finals ( I’m not trying to be pessimistic- its the truth). The U.S. is not the greatest team out there. But hopefully in the future we will be. Thousands of fans and soon-to-be fans watched this game. Through this game, Klinnsman (the coach of the USMNT) has ultimately introduced soccer to the heart of America. We probably won’t win the World Cup in 2014. Or 2018. But those Americans who were inspired from watching today’s match might win it for us later on.
Inspiring new generations to take up soccer is the only way we can win a World Cup. And America’s advance into the Final 16 has done just that.
Score: 1 (Germany) – 0 (U.S.A)
Muller (GER) – 55th minute
Man of the Match: Miroslav Klose
He had an immediate effect on the game and gave Germany the attacking prowess that they were lacking in the first half. He looked dangerous and gave the American defense trouble on numerous occasions. Klose has done all a striker is supposed to do in this game. Hopefully, as the tournament progresses, he can continue to perform and score his 16th World Cup goal, to become the World Cup’s top scorer.