World Cup Post-Mortem

So, the US lost to Ghana yesterday, ending the World Cup for the Americans. I watched most of the second half, and it was pretty frustrating. Amazingly, Ghana was actually more theatrical than Italy, with the flopping and the flailing and the writhing on the ground as if in agony– there should’ve been about fifteen minutes of injury time added.

In the end, the US was done in by an apparent lack of fundamental skills. I couldn’t begin to estimate the number of lead passes that went five yards too far for their intended target, or crosses that sailed four feet over everyone’s head, or just plain mis-trapped balls booted six feet away from the player trying to control a pass, generally directly onto the foot of a Ghanaian (or whatever the appropriate term is). The US team didn’t look like an international caliber team– at times, they looked like a bunch of seventh graders just learning the game.

Much has been made of the US failure to generate any offense, but it’s sort of hard to mount an attack if you turn the ball over after every third pass through stupid skills breakdowns.

So, Ghana and Italy advance out of group E, with Ghana facing Brazil in the next round, and Italy drawing Australia. I don’t really know enough about any of the teams left at the point to make any predictions, other than this: the games will probably be of higher quality than any of the US games I saw.

Comments

  1. #1 Matt
    June 23, 2006

    I have to agree with you about the lack of quality passing. The US team has always lacked creative goal scorers, but over the last 4-6 years I thought that their possession and passing had improved quite a bit. But I was surprised at how poor they were for long stretches in the only game I saw (Italy). Far too many giveaways on passes – and often unforced by the defense, just poorly executed. They did exhibit great skill on occasion but they haven’t been able to do that on the consistent basis demanded at this level. Several of the players acquitted themselves well with skill and determination but they need all 11 to do that over 90 minutes.

  2. #2 Brad Holden
    June 23, 2006

    And what about Donovan’s atrocious free kick towards the end of the second half?

    I think a big problem that the US team seems to have is nerves. Most of the players are not use to playing at this level yet and, so, they make a lot of stupid mistakes. But some of those bad passes were just maddening….

  3. #3 Chad Orzel
    June 23, 2006

    And what about Donovan’s atrocious free kick towards the end of the second half?

    Oh, God, that was pathetic…

    “Nerves” is probably as good an explanation of it as anything else– all of their plays were just a little bit off, as if they were trying just a little too hard.

  4. #4 Brian Postow
    June 23, 2006

    I saw basically the first half of the Czech and Ghanian games, and my synopsis is the same as yours “They looked like a bunch of 7th graders” By that, I mean that the point seemed to be to get the ball as far forward as fast as possible, with no strategy or anything.

    In the first half of the Ghanian game, I was astounded that the US team seemed to pass backwards a sum total of 3 times during the half. Instead, when the French or Swiss Team (which game I also saw) would have passed the ball back to the goalee, they just booted the ball ahead and hoped someone was there…

    At some level, it’s like a difference between Rugby and American Football. In Rugby, you keep possesion, even if you lose some ground. In American football, you just punt.

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