World Cup: US rates poor performance evaluation

World Cup final game for US combined 'never say die' spirit with tactical naivete.

World Cup: Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson (left) blocks a shot from US midfielder Benny Feilhaber (22) during the second half of a second-round match in Rustenburg, South Africa, on June 26. Ghana won 2-1 after extra time.

The AP headline is: “US soccer pres: We failed to meet expectations.” There’s not much else in the story, apart from a statement that Sunil Gulati “will likely meet with Bob Bradley to “discuss the coach’s future.” I expect it lies somewhere other than head coach of the national team.

What baffles me is the US team’s strange combination of never-say-die spirit and tactical naivety. I can only infer that Bradley was excellent at melding the former and weak on the latter. His player selection for the match against Ghana brought gasps and howls in this household, as I expect it did across the country, and his first two substitutions were an admission of a horrible mistake. One that will mark the end of his reign, I suppose.

Speaking of mistakes, the failure to award a goal to England when they were 2-1 down to Germany reaches the level of Edu’s disallowed goal in the Slovenia match. This mistake, however, is easily correctable with existing technology, refs behind the goal as deployed in the UEFA Europa League, or a challenge and review system.

Any of three feasible policies could have corrected this error! Not a good performance evaluation there, either. I believe FIFA’s “no reviews” policy is a calculated, cynical choice to maximize publicity on the theory that controversy gets people talking and puts the game “in their system.”

It will be interesting to follow the TV ratings now that the US has made its premature exit from the tournament. Ratings have been high to date, but will the American public tune in to a classic match like Germany-Argentina next Saturday?

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