Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blame it on the Black Star(s) 

Ghana 2 -1 USA

It's over for the Americans. Not a very good performance by either team. Some talking points:

1. Again, both teams looked pretty uninspiring. Each goal was the result of a defensive blunder. While the dubious penalty on Onyewu just before halftime that lead to the winning PK goal was, well, dubious at best, the US never really demonstrated a sense of urgency. Italy won handily, as expected, so the US have no one to blame but themselves. Additionally, I don't think anyone should be shocked at our failure to advance to the knockout stages. Our fate was sealed back in December when the draw was determined. Anyone still looking to the farcical FIFA rankings as a guiding light is just plain dumb.

2. Landon Donovan, our best player, was nothing short of pathetic this entire tournament. Your team only goes as far as your best player can take it. If that axiom is any indication, then it's no surprise that we finished bottom of the group.

3. The pattern holds true: since 1990, there has always been at least one African nation advancing to the round 16. It's as reliable as a 12-seed beating a 5-seed in the NCAA tournament. I said well before the WC that Ghana was the strongest African representative and they proved it. Congrats to them.

4. I know now that if I want to take diving lessons -- be it platform, cliff, scuba, whatever -- that Ghana is the place to be.

5. Viva Azzuri! Viva Italia!

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