Update: USA los… err, I mean tied with Portugal, 2-2. It felt like a loss — heartbreaking. Cristiano Ronaldo assisted a goal in the 94th minute to force the draw after the refs decided to tack on five minutes of extra time. America could taste victory — one minute to go — but it wasn’t meant to be. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. On to the next one: the Germans. Thursday, June 26, at 9 a.m. on ESPN. If we can pull off a win, the U.S. soccer world might explode. Don’t miss it.
On June 22, 2014, at 3 p.m. PST the U.S. Men’s National Team has a shot to shock the world. Again.
No one except the most passionate American fans expected Team USA to beat Ghana. Prior to leaving for Brazil, USA’s blunt and fearless German leader, manager Jurgen Klinsmann, said this to The New York Times’ Sam Borden:
“We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet. For us, we have to play the game of our lives seven times to win the tournament.”
Talk about a vote of confidence, thanks coach. As that quote was taken out of context and thrown around the Internet, it began to sound like Klinsmann had no faith in his team and that therefore the USMNT was about to get whooped.
But instead, the opposite happened.
Against a gritty, fast, powerful team, the U.S. prevailed. A goal by Captain Clint Dempsey within the first minute and then another by sub John Brooks in the 86th minute was enough to topple Ghana, 2-1. Cue the USA chants! Whip out the red, white and blue!
It unleashed an outpouring of American soccer support. I’ll admit that before the 2014 World Cup began, I had dibs on Argentina. With Lionel Messi at the lead, I liked my chances siding with them. Then, I saw the Americans beat Ghana. I saw Brooks collapse on the field. I read the longform features and game review articles that published on every sports site following the victory, and soon enough I was all in for Team USA.
We are the underdogs and the dreamers, and we have a chance to advance past the “Group of Death.”
And after seeing that same Ghana team that we beat hold its own against the soccer powerhouse, Germany, in a 2-2 tie, I knew that our first win wasn’t entirely luck.
If we beat Portugal at 3 p.m. PST on June 22, we advance outright to the knockout rounds, regardless of whether or not we beat Germany.
Portugal is coming off of a devastating 4-0 beat down by the Germans. However, rather than see our opponent as a group of guys led by hotshot Cristiano Ronaldo primed for revenge, I like the logic of @StarsStripesFC:
Sunday, June 22, 3 p.m. PST. USA vs. Portugal. I believe that we will win.