We really wuz – er, were. A truly stirring US comeback from a 2-0 deficit in its game against Slovenia was spoiled by an indefensible and inexplicable call by the Malian referee, disallowing what would have been the Americans’ third goal. Replays from every conceivable angle confirmed what most viewers thought at the time — the only possible fouls that occurred were committed by the Slovenians on the Americans, particularly one defendenr who literally wrestled US midfielder Michael Bradley to the ground as the ball was coming into the box. But Bob Bradley, the US coach, had the right attitude after the game:
“Honestly I think that the set piece, most of what took place was that Slovenia players were holding our players. One player had his arms around Michael (Bradley), Michael was trying to break loose and a foul was called. I don’t know if that’s accurate. But that’s one version. There are moments when you are frustrated because you feel that situations have not been handled 100 percent correctly or fairly. But that’s how the game works sometimes. You move on.”
And speaking of moving on . . . the good news on the day for the US was that England’s dispiriting performance in its 0-0 draw with a surprisingly confident and skilled Algerian team means that the US has its fate in its hands, and is a pretty good bet to progress to the second round. The permutations are complicated but the bottom line is that the US goes through if it can beat the Algerians next week, regardless of what happens in the other game. Even if its a tie, we’d get through if (a) Slovenia beats England (which, from the looks of things so far, is eminently possible), or (b) England and Slovenia tie and England ends up with fewer total goals than the US. [Currently, we’re ahead on that measure by 3-1]. So get your vuvuzuelas out, people!