Thursday, June 24, 2010

landon the hero, heart attacks, and keeping it steady

What an exhausting day yesterday was... wake up, warm up the ol' typing machine, get the Twitter ready (that sounds dirty, I realize), and turn the TV on for the first World Cup match of the day.  And as the US v Algeria match stretched on, I suffered through heart attacks, vomiting, and delirium.  Around the 80th minute, I thought about abandoning the match and taking a long walk.  The US was going to lose the game, I thought.  I had to start preparing myself for the grim reality of crushing disappointment.

I'm not the most realistic person, though.  Part of me still believes that crazy shit can happen in a football match.  Twice I thought of Andreas Iniesta's incredible destructo shot in the last minutes of the 2009 Champions League semi-final against Chelsea.  The goal was a miracle from the football gods (I may be an atheist, but when it comes to football... I'm a believer) and sent Barcelona on their way to become champions of Europe.  Sadly, the US national team is not Barcelona.  So when I thought of Iniesta, I also thought what a fool I was to even entertain such masochistic thoughts.

But Landon Donovan obviously felt a calling to turn it on.  Incredible moment.  2/3 of apm screamed, clapped, stomped, sent our cats racing through the room, our neighbors dialing 911... then the tears flowed... and the laughter.  The US is through to the last 16 and will face Ghana on Saturday.  The African team booted us out of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but this ain't Germany, and we ain't the same squad we were back then either, mate.

Here's the legendary Donovan goal.  Speaks for itself.  I didn't tape this, just so you know.  Some other dude did.  What a professional he was, too.  You can't hear him crying with joy, screaming, or cursing at all.  Pro.

The Algerians have been screwed before in the World Cup, but at least they went out this time fair and square and with their heads held high.  They're a good team.  Not all of their players took the loss well, though.

Also, here's a link featuring a few after the game video interviews with US coach Bob Bradley and hero Landon Donovan.  Pretty damn cool.  If you're a US supporter and their emotion doesn't move you... I don't want to know you.

And on that note... sleep.  More big matches await.

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