People were too hungover to make one on time I guess. Today we have:
Argentina - Belgium (12 PM Eastern, ABC)
Costa Rica - Netherlands (4 PM Eastern, ESPN)
Messi and Co. already up early 1-0 on the waffles.
This game illustrates how poor our possesion and especially our first touch is. Argentina is having zero issues with Belguim's pressure. Because Argentina. But still . . .
The USA has been playing on spirit/heart/determination in FIFA up until this point. We def do not have the skills the big-boy countries have in possession/passing/dribbling, but it will come in time. The revamping of our development system will start showing the results this next cycle (hopefully).
We have some serious talent up-coming from within our borders and some of our dual citizens overseas, just need to convince them to come here for international play. Klinnsman seems to be doing this.
I knew we were 2-3 steps behind the big boys but really this game shows its more like 4-5. Belgium made us look like Jamaica and Argentina is making Belgium look like South Korea out there. And Argentina has not been particularly splendid this tournament.
The main saving grace of soccer is 1-0 can be a blowout and as a weaker team you can get lucky somewhere along the line and find a goal. Sort of like the Ghana game when we were dominated but had 2 moments and that's all it took.
If Belgium USA was football it would have been something like 49-10.
p.s. where are all the great Argentinian "athletes" that US soccer so needs to "compete"? It's not about athletes - it's about skill man.
That Argentina is really dominating that much. They are playing well, but Belgium has had a couple chances, held possession a bit, and hasn't looked nearly as overmatched as we did against them.
Belgium is easily one of the most talented teams in the tournament. Both of these teams are elite, but Belgium is just a bit younger and more inexperienced. Also, messi. A guy like Messi opens up opportunities against even the best opposition, which is exactly how they got their one goal
Belgium v USA looked like USA v Antigua is my point. And it's not about the goals - it's about run of play. Belgium has been "quiet" - their possession has been almost all meaningless even with "Messi dependence". I don't think Argentina is playing great overall is the point lol. Yet still is getting away with looking world class.
Yes of course Belgium didnt look as overmatched against Argentina because they have world class players throughout, but using transitive property here it is a bit scary how far behind we are. It makes me marvel that we beat Mexico at all sometimes when Mexico in a game like this would have looked 1-2 steps behind, not 4-5.
Belgium is solid but they lack any knid of flair. You could argue that on the whole, Belgium is more technically skilled than Argentina. But when you get to this level, you can't do it purely on technical skills. You need some level of prodigy.
was lacking against argentina. they looked technically inferior for sure.
That Argentina is making Belgium look the way Belgium made us look is actually encouraging. There are so few teams that are that good. A dozen at most.
We need to work on our technical skills, and we are doing it slowly but surely. But there is room for us to move up the pecking order even without ultra-elite technical skills yet.
I don't follow that logic. I get your point but not the logic of it. You are saying Belgium is not among the few elite (which I agree) but the fact we didnt belong on the same pitch as Belgium is somehow good. I find it more disheartening that we were so thoroughly dominated by a team that is not even among the elite.
I'm saying that if we get even somewhat better technically we can easily be in that second tier of teams that expect to consistently go through their groups and win at least one knockout game.
We are not in the elite that can expect to win World Cups, but neither is Belgium at this point. For all of their technical proficiency (I'd kill for their "soft feet" versus our stone feet), they still looked like they were just chasing Argentina around the pitch.
I'd take our spirit and determination and pace with just a little bit more possesion skills over their textbook but wooden tehcnical skills any day.
If you mentally break out our journey to the top of the mountain into two phases, the first phase being in that teir of teams just below Brazil/Argentina/Germany/Netherlands/etc., I think we are closer to it than a lot of people think.
group of players into the next euro cup, and barring unforseen injuries, next world cup, and they will be elite.
...in "that second tier of teams that expect to consistently go through their groups and win at least one knockout game"?
This is the eighth tournament that's used a 16-team knockout format. Here's the list of teams that have good reason to consistently expect to win a knockout game, because they've done so more often than not:
Expand to 4 out of 8 and you had five more teams: England, Spain, Italy, France, the Netherlands. Those eight are probably what you're thinking of as the top tier, since you included the Dutch.
The tier below that is Belgium with 2/8 (and also Croatia/Yugoslavia if you consider Croatia the natural followers like we do with Russia and the Czechs) and a whole bunch of countries with one, including the US. That's the group just below the Netherlands and there's nobody in it that can reasonably expect to consistently make the last eight.
This is reminding me of the people that expect Midhigan to win ten games/season, every season, when it's an extremely rare team that can keep up that pace up even for a decade. It sets up unreasonable expectations.
those teams belong in the top tier.
then there are teams that get lucky with a run of good players all in the same generation. that's where belgium is right now.
It is amazing the talent the former Yugoslovia churns out - for soccer purposes at least you wish they and Czechoslovakia remained as whole countries rather than broken into pieces.
Basketball, too - just think of all the guys who have come from Croatia or Serbia. Plus tennis (Djokovic). Tito's regime must have established some excellent sports infrastructure.
Teams in that next teir are teams like Mexico, Ghana, England, Uruguay, Portugal, Chile, etc.
They all expect to get through their groups and have a not unreasonable expectation of winning a knockout game. They all have some weaknesses and need some good luck (or at least not bad luck like Mexico) to win a knockout game.
The US is on the doorstep of entry into that tier with more consistency and better on the ball skills development.
Everyone soak this stuff up. You are watching a legend during the peak of his career. Messi is unbelievable, it is so amazing to watch.
On a separate note, Vincent Kompany, the centerback and captain for Belgium, is playing great, and this game might be 2-0 or 3-0 without him.
Man amazing to see guys miss those shots 1 v 1 with the GK
Belgium seems to have packed it in. They're just standing around.
In defense of the USA, it's not just hype when people talk about the spirit and determination that they play with, for all 90 minutes even when down. The rest of the World truely is impressed with that characteristic. We take it for granted, but not every team has it.
Agreed. Which is why we could "get away" with 6 attacking guys of Dempsey caliber and wouldnt require 2-3 guys like Belgium or Portugal has - to do really well. This is why I can never get behind Portugal - in 2010 they turned on each other at any mistake and they did it again this year. And with a lot of African teams someone won't get paid for the WC and there is suddenly a bunch of loafing out there. You never see that with the U.S. You also get a feel a lot of guys in the WC from many countries are playing for contracts and get a bit selfish rather than playing in a team concept.
Germany is much like that as well so its good that our dual nationals are from 2 countries who share that same work ethic and type of determination. The Asian teams are often like this too - you dont see Japan or South Korea mail it in even if they are getting their butts beat. Probably something to do with their national ethos - at least in Japan - that puts the collective ahead of the individual.
As you say, it is not a given for a lot of other countries.
I think that's why many (like Brian) feel the same affection for the USMNT that they'd feel for a college team. The players seem proud to play for their country, they play with pride, you're playing for the name on your jersey not for a contract (like in the pros or like you see some nations doing in the WC), etc.
I feel a similar sort of affection for the USMNT that I feel for Michigan sports, and unlike I feel for really any pro sports teams.
I read a bunch of coments by England fans on BBC after the US-Belgium game. If you've ever read commnets by England fans about USA "soccer" you know they are brutally dismissive of anything to do with the USMNT. I expected them to absolutely trash the US given how badly we were out-possessed and and-shot by Belgium.
Instead they were raving about how hard and determined the US played the whole game. The fact that we were outclassed but kept fighting to the point of almost pulling it out in extra time impressed them even more. Given what they just went through with England crashing out with nary a whimper, they were totally enthralled with the way the USMNT fought to the last second.
I actually really like this play by play man, maybe more than Darke.
Rae's my favorite of the lot--very professional.
Anyone know if there was a reason for his seeming demotion? He used to be the featured commentator for ESPN's CL broadcasts and it wasn't his fault Tommy Smyth was Tommy Smyth. Now he's doing Scottish PL games and little else.
I hear Tommy on ESPN radio doing some WC games. There are some weird pairings on the radio but his play by play partner (don't know who it is) on radio is also very good. (All games on 105.1 if you are in metro detroit) There is some British guy on ESPN radio in a different pairing that sounds like he is 18 yrs old - strange.
I am sure a lot of it is politics on who gets what assignment or who is the "#1 team".
Looks like Rae has changed networks and he's now doing Bundesliga in Britain. Wish we had those broadcasts here.
Belgium GK nice stop v Messi
Belgium . . . meh. I thought I'd see more from them.
Have to give Argentina some credit for that too. They acted very German-like in that 2nd half, grinding down Belgium.
Yeah, you get the impression that Belgium figured they were out of it after the first half. And they were probably right. But I suppose I've gotten used to the naive USA never-say-die spirit and thought I'd see some of it from Belgium.
Case in point: the Belgium corner at around 84' After the missed header the ball bounced back to Belgium . . . and there were three Belgium players off sides laying on the ground. They did not keep playing after the miss and hustle back on sides. For all of their weaknesses, you would never see that from the Americans down 1 goal with 6+ minutes left. Never. No matter who they were playing.
You know why those SA kids play so well with their feet? They grow up playing in their bare feet a lot. The control of the ball becomes second nature like an extension of the body. We wrap our kids in protective gear too young so that they lose the ability to 'feel' the ball.
I coach youth soccer and I tell the parents the kids don't need $80 nike cleats when a decent pair of tennis shoes will work. They never listen.
Brazilian players crying and made the comment that the older players don't like it. "Real Brazilian players don't cry".
Maybe their youth are being coddled, too.
Possible. I think I might just be getting old and crotchety.
I've got Oranje 3 - 1 CRC in this game. I will be rooting for los Ticos, but Holland is flat-out ridiculously good. I don't see Holland losing to Argentina in the semi-final.
I always root for Holland because they are the bridesmaid and I like their style of play which is almost always attacking. (2010 final being an exception - they were brutal)
That said it usually gets them fatally hurt. Which is why the Germans always go far - they know when to play boring. Argentina has some of the same issues as Holland in terms of not knowing when to pull back and play "Italian/German" but today they did it.
That said while I expect them to win I will root for a great game and Costa Rice to push them since CONCACAF and all. Didn't realize the last team to advance to the semis from CONCACAF was....the U.S. in 1930 lol. Trivia question for sure.
After the necessary improvements in technical training take hold, people are going to have to decide what's more important: playing "positive soccer" or winning championships.
Either the US learns how to play Italian when necessary (and learns to understand when it's necessary) or the ultimate endpoint of US soccer is England.
So far my impression is that people here think it's more important to entertain, and to look good doing it, than it is to win. But that might change if winning becomes a real possibility.
Agreed. I look forward to the day those questions become pertinent :) It's a ways off. #FirstWorldSoccerProblems
can recapture the free and high-scoring spirit of the group stages. so far, the qf games have been snoozers.
Somewhere the Greek team is getting mad at your comment.
But yeah - it has been more grind it out soccer now. On the positive side most WCs you see a lot of games like this even in the group stages which we mostly avoided this year. But now it's at the point 1 mistake sends you home so everyone is morphing. If the Brazil Columbia game didnt turn into such a hack fest it was the 1 quarter final game that had promise of remaning open; it was a fun first half at least.
i was driving during the first half b/c my girlfriend decided to take forever to pack up her stuff. got back to ann arbor in time to see the second half blood bath.
Good clean start to this game. Just hope it opens up a bit but liking it so far.
Campbell getting some good runs for CRC, but it seems that Oranje are going to break CRC with a counter here soon.
That whiff will be on Men In Blazers.
This is a lot like Belgium v USA without the shooting gallery that Belgium unleashed. Similar type of possession issues but CRC doing a good job avoiding giving up a relentless array of shots. CRC GK also playing nicely. Feels like a matter of time for NED.
Is he not their best offensive player?
It seems to require so much of a good team (not just a good player or players) to win games. Seems like you really gotta play for the other team to not score at all and pray for a fluke 1-0 win or PKs. That's about Costa Rica's only shot here
I'd agree and I think an interesting question is which sport is most set up for upsets? I'm not quite sure if it's where one score means so much or where one player can really take over a game.