U.S. World Cup fate to be determined today
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) -- One more game, one last chance to make their reputation. When the Americans play Algeria at the World Cup on Wednesday they'll either live up to all the hype and earn a spot among the final 16 teams -- or fall painf...
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) -- One more game, one last chance to make their reputation.
When the Americans play Algeria at the World Cup on Wednesday they'll either live up to all the hype and earn a spot among the final 16 teams -- or fall painfully short of their long-stated goal and lose a watershed opportunity.
"We have a great chance tomorrow night to get a win and advance on to the second round," captain Carlos Bocanegra said Tuesday. "It's important for us because we had that disappointment in '06. It's not really extra motivation, but it's just in the back of our minds. You work so hard and you train for so long for the World Cup, and it can be over so quickly if you don't advance."
A victory or possibly a tie would move the United States into the knockout rounds on a high that will set off midday celebrations back home. Replicate the loss to Ghana that knocked the U.S. out in 2006, and it will start a new round of soul-searching for that could cost coach Bob Bradley his job -- not to mention dampening the burgeoning enthusiasm for soccer in America.
This World Cup started with a come-from-behind 1-1 tie against glamorous England. Then the Americans trailed Slovenia by two goals at halftime only to fight back as Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley scored for a 2-2 draw. They appeared to go ahead, but Maurice Edu's 85th-minute goal was disallowed for reasons referee Koman Coulibaly of Mali didn't explain.
A win would send the U.S. to a second-round matchup this weekend with Germany, Ghana, Serbia or Australia, and another big television audience for American soccer. With France knocked out, and England, Germany, defending champion Italy and Spain all uncertain of reaching the knockout stage, the U.S. could find itself in a fairly wide-open tournament if it advances.
Coaches will be paying attention to the England-Slovenia game, which will be played simultaneously in Port Elizabeth. If the English lose, the U.S. would advance with a tie. If both the U.S. and England draw, the Americans reach the second round if they maintain their goal advantage over the English, currently 3-1.
It could get thorny if the U.S. and the English tie, and England scores two goals more than the U.S. Then Slovenia would win the group and a televised drawing of a ball from a bowl would be held in Johannesburg at 1 p.m. EDT to determine whether the U.S. or England finishes second.
Uruguay 1, Mexico 0
RUSTENBURG, South Africa -- Uruguay won Group A and Mexico also advanced Tuesday after Luis Suarez scored in the 43rd minute to give the South Americans a 1-0 victory at the World Cup.
Both teams will face Group B members; those teams will be decided Tuesday night.
South Africa 2, France 1
BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa -- Bongani Khumalo and Katlego Mphela scored first-half goals to lead South Africa over a France team in turmoil. Despite the win, Bafana Bafana became the first host nation to be eliminated in the group stage.
Khumalo scored in the 20th minute when he outjumped France midfielder Abou Diaby to knock a cross from Siphiwe Tshabalala into the net with his shoulder. Mphela doubled the lead 17 minutes later, outmuscling defender Gael Clichy to reach a low cross from Tsepo Masilela and knock the ball across the line.
South Korea 2, Nigeria 2
DURBAN, South Africa -- South Korea reached the second round from Group B as Lee Jung-soo and Park Chu-young scored. Kalu Uche had given Nigeria the lead in the 12th minute, then Ayegbeni Yakubu netted a 69th-minute penalty kick to draw Nigeria level again -- moments after Yakubu missed a wide open net.
Argentina 2, Greece 0
POLOKWANE, South Africa -- Martin Demichelis and Martin Palermo scored second-half goals Tuesday to help Argentina win Group B. Argentina will play Mexico on Sunday in Johannesburg, while Greece was eliminated.
Argentina left seven regulars on the bench and created few good chances against the Greek defense.