USA vs. Algeria: Win would rewrite US World Cup history
The US looks to go on to the second round in today's USA vs. Algeria match. They advance with a win or a tie and an England tie.
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The USA’s first two games of the 2010 World Cup have been best viewed with a shoulder harness and hands waived above the head in manic delight or despair.
If the USA has a World Cup M.O., it is this: It plays seat-of-the-pants soccer, provides edge-of-the-seat entertainment.
Make no mistake, in least one minute of the 90 – and perhaps several – the USA defense will tear like week-old tissue paper, and this overlooked Algeria team will have a chance to remind America that they are not 11 paperweights in tube socks.
The USA has not recorded a World Cup shutout since 1950. The Italians, they are not.
And yet, whether that moment happens in the first minute or the 85th, the Americans will keep coming. Beside the Italians’ impenetrable catenaccio defense, the Spaniards’ tiki-taka one-touch soccer, and the samba silkiness of Brazil, America’s soccer style could be most aptly described as kitchen sink – athletic, impassioned, and often undisciplined.
At times, as in the second half against Slovenia, it approaches the sublime – a medieval siege on 120 yards of soccer pitch. At others, it is a study in frustration as impatient forays forward end in aimless passes to no one in particular.
History is not on the USA’s side.
The third game of the opening round of the World Cup has been its bogey match: six games played, six games lost. Nor has the USA ever finished group play undefeated.
To advance, both streaks must end.
The USA will want to summon the spirit from the third game of last year’s Confederations Cup, when it similarly needed a win to advance – and got it with a 3-0 drubbing of Algeria’s North African cousins, Egypt.