And a Final Word on USA-Algeria:

Here’s the goal, if, like me, you want to watch it over (and over) again …

In reference to some of the comments on my earlier posting about the game , I’ll just say this: If you come to soccer with the mindset that the goal of sports is to create a playing field in which all elements of randomness have been removed — soccer ain’t really for you. Yes, the linesman made a terrible call to deprive the US of a goal. Yes, it sucked, and was unfair, and I and every other soccer fan wish that the refs didn’t make so many mistakes. But they do, just like the players do, and for the same reason: they are human beings. It’s just part of the game. It’s cruel, but you get over it — it took the players about 1.35 seconds to get over it, because they have to get their heads right back into the game. Fans, too. To let it sour a great moment like Donovan’s goal is really too bad. There is, as he put it over at Sam’s Posts, “really nothing in sports comparable to that last-gasp goal in soccer. After playing for so long, doing everything except scoring, the swing in emotions is indescribable. And for it to happen to the US team, in a decisive World Cup game! Even if they didn’t play the best soccer, team USA treated us to the two most dramatic examples of soccer matches in the last two games: a two-goal comeback, and a last-minute game-winner. We’re all lucky to have witnessed it.”

[And not to get ahead of ourselves or anything, but don’t look now: the US plays Ghana in the Round of 16, and then, if it wins, the winner of Uruguay-S. Korea. Tough games, but definitely winnable by the US — not the hardest route one could face to getting into a World Cup semifinal by any means . . .]