Today the refs get it all wrong.
In the first game, the Spanish referee boxed himself in with a series of yellow cards for the Germans and Serbs. I felt most of them were justified, but when Klose committed his second negative challenge, it really changed the game. The Germans looked good again but the goal immediately after the red card, Kheira hitting the cross bar and the PK miss doomed them to defeat. Podoloski was definitely not wearing his scoring boots, with the only shot on target being the PK and the keeper saved that. Oezil was good again, and his substitution really took the edge off the German attack. Serbia retreated and defended well and looked to break. Krasic was fantastic on the right side of midfield and I’m really hoping Juventus signs him.
The result really opens up the group, with the Ghana/Australia result possibly setting up an exciting last day.
The best game of the tournament was the US v Slovenia. The US failed to close down Birsa and he scored a screened shot from distance. After that the US put Slovenia under pressure, and Dempsey almost set up Donovan for the equalizer. Following that, poor US defending allowed the Slovenians to score their second. Again the US responded but couldn’t find anything before halftime.
Donovan’s stunning goal right after the interval set up a dramatic last 40 minutes. The US continued to press and were rewarded with a fantastic finish from Bradley, set up by Altidore’s flick. A possible US winner was disallowed for some unknown reason. The US will now have to beat Algeria to have a chance at advancing.
A quick word about the ref for this game. He gave Findley a yellow for hand ball when the ball clearly hit his face. Several 50/50 challenges were called against the US, especially Altidore, with the Slovenian players initiating the contact. As for the disallowed goal, the US wasn’t offside and everyone was fouling each other, so it’s a no call. Result should have been a goal by Edu and a 3-2 US victory.
Bradley started Torres, which I think everyone wanted but it exposed the US backline. Then his subs at halftime were curious. Why substitute a forward and a creative player when down 2-0? Ultimately it paid off. I think they should go with Edu and Bradley in the middle with Holden and Donovan on the outside and Altidore and Dempsey up top.
The day ended with a dire game between Algeria and England. Algeria went at the English but lacked the quality. The English were poor again. Rooney, Lennon, and Lampard doing very little. I looked carefully and the white English shorts looked suspiciously brown. This sets up a dramatic last day, with the US slightly ahead of England based on total goals scored. Based on what I know, as long as the US matches the England result, they should be ok.
Slovenia 4 3 3 +1
US 2 3 3 0
England 2 1 1 0
Algeria 1 0 1 -1
I will be at the Great Wolf Lodge this weekend so updates will be hit and miss.