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Posted: Tuesday June 22, 2010 6:11PM ; Updated: Wednesday June 23, 2010 12:13PM
Georgina Turner
Georgina Turner>INSIDE THE WORLD CUP

USA vs. Algeria World Cup instant analysis

  • 1

    USA

  • 0

    Algeria

  • '

    Anthems Analysis

    The teams are heading out, and the BBC cuts away from the tennis just in time. Phew! I almost had to tell you what someone on the radio was telling me was going on. Bob Bradley can hardly keep the grin off his face during the anthem, players' attempt at the hands-on-shoulders move has *not* been well choreographed today. You can see how much this means to them, though. Algerian anthem sounds like the music British broadcasters use in the background of clips from horse racing. Not unpleasant, is what I'm saying.


  • '

    Pre-game

    Well I don’t know about you, but my nerves are shot. I’m getting blood all over the keyboard, as it leaks from the wounds where my nails used to be. I’ve had to pull the commode up to the TV screens and spiked my orange juice with Rescue Remedy this morning. If things aren’t settled by half-time I might have to just jam the pipette into my basilic vein and be done with it.

    The teamsheets are in and Bob Bradley’s opted for Herculez Gomez rather than Edson Buddle to partner Jozy Altidore, which my colleague Grant Wahl reckons to be a matter of mobility. In defense, Oguchi Onyewu (who, let’s face it, has struggled to keep up with the games so far) has been dropped. Jonathan Bornstein has been named, so it looks like Carlos Bocanegra will scooch over to the centre with Bornstein on the left. He’s going to have to keep an eye on right sided Algerian Foued Kadir, who’s speedier than most US players.

    US: Tim Howard, Steve Cherundolo, Jay DeMerit, Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, Landon Donova, Maurice Edu, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Hercules Gomez.

    Algeria: Rais MBolhi, Madjid Bougherra, Rafik Halliche, Anther Yahia, Foued Kadir, Hassan Yebda, Medhi Lacen, Nadir Belhadj, Karim Matmour, Karim Ziani, Rafik Djebbour.

    "Schadenfruede is a bit much with breakfast beer," groan Richard de Lorenzo. I thought it was a breakfast beer. I've just poured it all over my cornflakes.

     


  • 1'

    Kick-off

    The US breaks out of a huddle and Algeria kicks off in bright green. Gulp.

    Matmour fancies his chances with a volley almost straight after kick-off, but it's over the bar, to the relief of Howard.


  • 4'

    US with the most defending to do in the early stages, but Bornstein eases himself in with a decent challenge on Yebda. “Johnny Bornstein on the pitch definitely has me nervous,” says Tony in Huntsville, AL. “I thought Goodson did well enough in the warmup matches to replace Gooch. Here's to hoping Herc poaches one in the box.” I was impressed with Goodson, too. But what do I know?


  • 6'

    Altidore attempts a nice little backheel, but it's too far in front of Donovan, then moments later Djebbour is two inches from scoring for Algeria, an overhead volley smacking into the bar... second later Gomez breaks down the right and tries on from distance. This game is getting too fast to type.


  • 8'

    Dempsey stands over a free-kick looking mean, but it's quite a way out and the ball doesn't start to come down until it's way past the goal. Djebbour is presented with another chance when Cherundolo misses the goalkick, but he can't shape his shot on target. Both teams are really going for this.


  • 11'

    Yellow Card - Yabda

    Yellow card for Yabda, who cynically takes out Altidore as he looks to break out from an Algeria corner.


  • 13'

    "Herg for 2, Dempsey for 2, Donovan 3 asst and 1. Howard clean sheet and 1 asst. Haven't been right yet, so *I AM* due!" Not sure it's coming with that prediction, Brandon Bandhauer. Algeria has the edge so far, but that seems to be par for the course with US first-halves.


  • 15'

    Altidore almost floats a cross over to Donovan, but MBolhi raced out to claim the ball. The battle between Donovan and Belhadj is proving an interesting one - the Algerian's muscle is winning at the moment. Oh look, there's Bill Clinton!


  • 17'

    Gomez has another chance, but he elects to lean back and try and bicycle kick Cherundolo's cross in when he probably had time to control the ball and pick his spot. US looking more comfortable, but the shots need to be realistic - Donovan shoots from 25 yards, leaning far too far back to hope to steer the ball underneath the crossbar.


  • 19'

    "I'm so nervous about this game it's causing my work performance to be more dismal than usual," admits Colin Crook. Tell me about it. Nobody minds if I take a comfort break soon, do they? Heh.


  • 20'

    GAH! Dempsey sees a goal chalked off for offside, and I'm not sure that's the right call... Altidore cues up Bradley, who's well tackled by Yahia but the ball breaks to Gomez, who gets two shots before the ball breaks to Dempsey... I think he was in line with the second-last player


  • 22'

    Excuse me while I weep with joy for a brief moment: Jermain Defoe has put England a goal up. Now, ahem, back to business. Donovan's about to take a free-kick...

    ... Bradley's ticked off by the referee for a foul.


  • 25'

    The US players must know now that the England goal leaves them needing to win. And they look capable of doing it - Algeria has had the occasional break in the past 10 minutes or so, but nothing as threatening as, well, as Dempsey putting the ball into the net.


  • 27'

    Bocanegra's keeping things nice and tidy at the back, and Bradley's busy in front of him. Just a bit more quality in front of goal (and of course I'm referring to the officials, too) is what's needed. "Two fair goals disallowed in two games," tsks Fidencio. "I hope it does not become the story of this WC for the US..."


  • 30'

    The good news is that no one got to Ziani's nicely hit corner. The bad news is Slovenia keeper Samir Handanovic looks all kinds of shonky today, which means England will fancy a few more goals. USA needs to start putting some more convincing moves together.


  • 33'

    "You're doing God's work reporting on the USA while England is playing," Phil in Denver, CO, assures me. Watching USA has been a joy compared to the torture of watching England, to be honest. Even now, when Cherundolo puts a nice cross over to the back post, but Dempsey and Gomez get in each other's way and Donovan miscues his volley.


  • 35'

    You honestly can't tell that Gomez hasn't pulled on the USMNT shirt too much recently. Ahem.

     So close! Donovan picks the perfect ball across the defense for Dempsey, but the keeper makes sure he's in the way.


  • 36'

    What a miss! Bradley - who is, without question, my favorite USA player - strides through the Algerian defense and the ball rolls to Donovan before bouncing up kindly in front of Altidore, but he absolutely leathers it over the bar.


  • 37'

    Matmour tries another one from 30 yards, keeping it down nicely, but Howard gets his palms to it. I can't believe we haven't had a goal yet. Apart from THAT one.


  • 40'

    The US has had to endure a little more Algerian pressure in the last few moments, but Bornstein is saved from having to chase Kadir, who has him beat by yards, by a really poor offside call.


  • 42'

    What are we all going to imbibe at half-time, to steady the nerves? I don't like to drink on the job, so I'll hoover up several packets of E-number packed sweets and several shots of espresso: full force madness. Dempsey's long range shot doesn't trouble MBolhi much, but if Ziani's had been on target, Howard wasn't getting it.


  • 44'

    Bornstein, for reasons best known to him, elects to shoot from just outside the area. I think it just about went for a goalkick rather than a throw.


  • 46'

    Halftime

    There goes the half-time whistle, just as Djebbour strains to get his head on a cross from Yebda and fails by millimetres. Cripes, the next 45 minutes is going to interesting.

    “In the 2002 WC, the US was unbeaten when wearing white,” says Mark Schmidt. “In 2006 the played slightly better in white than in blue. They're in white today. Maybe it's a sign!”

    “Our boys on the field are looking pretty good, but just not getting it done offensively,” reckons Kelli Cooper, in Tampa. “GOD let this game end with less stress.”


  • 47'

    Second-half: Benny Feilhaber replaces Gomez, so it looks like Dempsey will move up front. Gomez hasn't looked up to it today.

    The big difference against Slovenia was how much the big players stepped up in the second half, so let's see shall we. If it's any consolation, England has now had a goal disallowed for offside.


  • 49'

    I'm drunk on Jameson's Wiskey as one should be at 7:49 AM on a Wednesday,” hiccups Tammy. “Coping - yeah not so much.”


  • 50'

    Algerian corner goes straight through the area, but it was clear that DeMerit and Cherundolo both had fistfuls of their opponents' shirts. Have to watch that.


  • 52'

    Algeria has certainly had the better start to the second half, but there's not been anything of exceptional quality once the ball's in the box. “Drinking coffee here,” says David Sims, from New Zealand. “It's 2:45 a.m.” I’ll let you off.


  • 55'

    The Algerians are really pushing for the first goal, but the linesman, perhaps feeling a little guilty, awards the US a throw-in despite the ball clearly rebounding off Bornstein's shins.


  • 56'

    UNBELIEVABLE! Altidore steams down the left, ball is half cut out by the defender but rolls into the path of Dempsey, who scoops the ball onto the post with his right and then shanks the rebound into the stands with his left.


  • 58'

    "IT IS NOT," yells Phil from Denver, refereeing to the possibility of an England disallowed goal being any consolation whatsoever. God's work, remember, Phil. God's work.


  • 60'

    More pressure from the US now, but Algeria's defending is resolute for now. Bradley is pushing right up into the area - when the right ball finally comes, there are going to be three or four players well placed to do something with it.


  • 62'

    Yellow Card - Altidore

    "The future of raising the popularity in the sport of soccer here in the U.S is riding on this game," growls Ron in St Louis, MO. "Ahem, no pressure guys." A booking for Altidore, for a stray leg preventing an Algerian break.


  • 64'

    Substitutions

    Out: Edu , In: Buddle

    Much of the play is at a sprint now, from one end of the field to the other. It's exhilarating but both teams are susceptible to a lack of concentration at the back now. Edu is replaced by Buddle; Bradley's making his moves.


  • 65'

    Mbolhi has snuffed out everything that's come within a couple of yards of his goal today. Feilhaber is not impressed.


  • 66'

    Substitutions

    Out: Djebbour , In: Ghezzal

    Djebbour off, Ghezzal on. “I can barely talk,” writes Robert Carrillo, though I don’t know whether that’s through fear or complete inebriation.


  • 69'

    MBolhi really is having quite the game today, saving a Buddle header then clinging onto the ball as USA players rush in. Then he gets the ball straight up to the other end for Belhadj, who plays it in and Ziani misses by yards. His reward is to be replaced by Guedioura. Exciting stuff, if slightly uncomfortable.


  • 70'

    Bougherra almost scored an own goal off Altidore's center. It's a corner...

    ...keeper gets to it first again. "I am still waiting for that US goal so that I can run around the office like a mad man...hopefully soon?" asks Jason Floyd in Boston. The chances are there, Jason. Nineteen minutes left to take on.


  • 72'

    Yebda, who's pulled forward a bit since Ziani went off, shoots from some way out and watches his shot fizz over the bar. Howard does too, though he looks rather more relieved.


  • 74'

    Donovan hans a free-kick up over the area and Bradley gets his shining pate to it, but the ball spins up and well over the goal. "President of the company, an Englishman, had bagels and fruit cups for kick-off this morning," yays Tom in Albany, NY. "Nothing like hiring an outsider!" Indeed. What's a fruit cup?


  • 76'

    Cherundolo's come up with a few nice crosses in this game, but the penalty area is more crowded than a subway station (get me and my US lingo... we do have them over here too, though).


  • 79'

    Agonisingly poor first touch from Donovan just as the numbers in white seemed to outweigh those in green. "Despite my body (minus my limbs that flail wildly every time I refresh the page) being confined to a windowless cubicle, my mind and soul are on the field," says Jason in Hendersonville, NC. "Whew, I can feel the stress from here! Coffee ain't cuttin' it, but it's all I've got!"

    Bradley's just put enough on a free-kick to send it to the moon, but the keeper spoils things by getting in the way again.


  • 80'

    Substitutions

    Out: Bornstein , In: Beasley

    Damarcus Beasley's on for Bornstein, so Bradley's going three at the back.


  • 81'

    Yellow Card - Lacen

    "I'm trying to teach a summer school class and keep up with your blog," John Leatherman, in Lake Kiowa, informs me, apparently unworried by slipping standards in schools. Oh no wait, that's over here. You're fine. "My kids think I'm nuts when I react to one of your posts." Don't worry John. I thought all my teachers were nuts. Except the ones I had crushes on. Oh.

    Altidore's just gone on a steaming run straight down the middle of the park, which Lacen halts at the cost of a yellow card.


  • 83'

    Dempsey again gives everyone the gimlet eye while standing over a free-kick, but he just blasts it and the ball zips well over the crossbar


  • 84'

    Matmour is replaced by Rafik Saifi. Is everyone else's clock suddenly VERY LOUD?


  • 87'

    This is too much now. "Good jog Georgina," says Kelly Moore in Albuquerque. "Keep those 1' updates coming. We are dying here!" Possession is now being exchanged with the kind of frequency we normally see in table-football.


  • 89'

    Oh good lord! Buddle speeds up to get onto the end of a long Howard punt, but puts the weakest ball back across goal in the hope that the Algerians might ignore it - perhaps they'll even help it on, towards Altidore.

     Beasley's booked, though I'm not certain what for. Handball, it seems. Bit harsh.

     


  • 91'

    USA 1-0

    Goal - Donovan

    GOAL! GOLGOLGOLGOLGOL! Donovan's done it!

    My heart's gone! England and the USA are both through! Saifi drew a save from Howard, who sends the US up to the other end instantly. Altidore plays Dempsey in, but his toepoke comes back off the keeper, and the ball pootles perfectly into Donovan's path! He slams it into the far corner.

    And breathe...


  • 94'

    Fulltime

    My heart's gone! England and the USA are both through! Saifi drew a save from Howard, who sends the US up to the other end instantly. Altidore plays Dempsey in, but his toepoke comes back off the keeper, and the ball pootles perfectly into Donovan's path! He slams it into the far corner.

     That's it! That's it! From home to the knockouts in a matter of seconds!


  • 96'

    Well what can I say to add to that, really? The US never stopped trying, despite the rub of the green seeming to go against it. The way players packed into the penalty area at every opportunity in the second half could have cost Bradley's team had Algeria had its wits about it, but the strategy was rewarded with a Donovan goal that sets the US on a different course entirely. Now, it could be England facing Germany and Argentina en route to the semifinals. As for me, I'm off for a lie down. Thanks for joining me, and for all your emails.


Editor's note: Please refresh browser for updates.

When the clock strikes 9.30 a.m. (ET) Wednesday, put down whatever you're pretending to do whenever your boss approaches your desk, and make sure you're on this page. Forget Robert Green, forget Koman Coulibaly, the past 12 days come down to this: if the U.S. wins, it's through to the knockout phase of the 2010 World Cup. If it loses, it's coming home. You do not want to miss this.

Dramatic enough for you? I hope so, I've given myself a Warner Bros. style sore throat with that. I should also mention that a tie is by no means the end for Bob Bradley's men, but it makes things messy and means events between Slovenia and England, who kickoff at the same time, have an influence.

"We understand that if we win, we advance," Bradley has said, showing a reassuring grip on Wednesday's events. "And we understand that there's a possibility that we can still win our group." That will happen if the U.S. beats Algeria and England and Slovenia draw.

No U.S. team has ever won a third group stage match, losing to Chile, Austria, Romania, Yugoslavia Poland and Ghana in the last 60 years. But that was then. Now, a win would ensure a second round-of-16 appearance in eight years, and if the U.S. does finish top of the group, whoever clambers out of the Group D melee in second place awaits. Those matches kick off this afternoon, and mathematically, it could be anybody.

The intrigue, the heartache, the glory. Join me at 9:30 a.m. for the team lineups. And knowing that, if only for the sake of schadenfreude, you'll be mildly interested in how England is doing, I'll keep you up-to-date with that, too. Send me your emails before and during the game to georgina_turner.si@gmail.com

 
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