I woke up yesterday morning extremely excited and nervous about the USA/Portugal World Cup match. We were in a position where a win would send us straight to the round of 16 without even having to worry about our final group match versus Germany. Awesome! My boyfriend, two of his friends, and one of my best friends really wanted to go to the bar we tried going to for the USA/Ghana match. We’d arrived at the bar an hour and a half early for that match and couldn’t see a screen so we figured arriving five hours early should do the trick. So yes, we were at the bar by 1pm for a match that started at 6, and we still barely got seats. Luckily, the Korea/Algeria match kept us entertained in the interim.
By 5:30, the bar was grossly packed. I started questioning our choice to watch the game there when some late arrivers thought it would be a good idea to stand directly in front of the TV. No worries though, I was able to reposition my seat for a good view of a different screen. We all enjoyed a mass singing of The Star Spangled Banner and then the match was underway. It took Portugal less than six minutes to score but no optimism was drained from the crowd, this was typical USA style (in all of our World Cup history, we’ve given up 7 goals in the first five minutes, the most of any other team).
Joy came in the 64th minute when Jermaine Jones powered one into the back of the net from 28 yards out. It was beautiful. We all cheered and hugged strangers while beer…and elbows (ow) flew everywhere. Alas, we survived the celebration of our second goal to take the lead without injury. Dempsey cleaned up a bunch of messy attempts by sending the ball off his chest and into the goal in the 81st minute. Loud groans erupted when it was announced that there would be 5 long minutes of stoppage time added, but we all believed. The Star Spangled Banner erupted again sometime in the 93rd minute as we held our lead. Just as the chorus hit “…Gave proof through the night that our flag was still–,” horror struck. We were 30 seconds away from guaranteed entry to the next round and Portugal had scored. We had barely any time to process it before the final whistle blew. It seems that this team really enjoys playing with emotions. All hope is not lost, however. We are actually in a pretty a good place. Here is what has to happen for us to automatically advance:
1) Tie or beat Germany
2) Ghana and Portugal draw
There are a couple of scenarios where we could still advance, even if one of the above does not happen (tiebreakers).
1) Best case scenario in this situation based on current goal differentials: we lose to Germany, Portugal beats Ghana by less than five goals (I would be shocked and amazed if they were able to win by such a margin)
2) Close call scenario: we lose to Germany by no more than one goal, Ghana beats Portugal by no more than one goal
It’s surprising but, from what I’ve seen, Ghana is a better team than Portugal. This means that we really need to handle our business during the Germany match so we don’t have to worry about scary tiebreaker scenarios with Ghana. Both matches will be played at the same time so no team can alter their play based on the result of the other game. The interesting thing is, a draw with Germany is a win-win situation; they keep first place in the group and we both advance. However, if there is a loser, things could get tricky.
Go USA! #iBelieveThatWeWin … #ButaDrawWouldDoJustFineToo
*I guess I shouldn’t check out before mentioning the elephant in the room that is my writing progress. I haven’t mentioned anything about it in almost a week. I have been doing some outlining and some drafting, just no where near the amount I want to/should be doing. At this point, I’m also quite behind on some work for my two summer graduate courses. I plan to get some schoolwork done today and tomorrow and then figure out what I need to do to get back on track with writing.