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.