So it's Ghana for us in the second round, a chance I guess to get revenge for being knocked out by them in 06, but not really. We played like shit in general during that cup, (with the odd exception of a good fighting draw against the eventual winners) were outplayed by the Ghanaians in that game, and while it's true there was a controversial call that went against us, we still deserved to lose it.
And in regards to controversial calls there is some grumbling that we Yankees are especially persecuted in that regard, that the disallowed goals against Slovenia and Algeria are part of a conspiracy spawned by the wider worlds resentment of American power and wealth. Though one can never say never, this is probably bullshit, and the persecution claims probably have more to do with jingoism than any real plot against us.
The truth is that bad calls happen in every sport, and with the low-scoring nature of this game, it's simply an unfortunate fact that bad calls have a greater chance of affecting the outcome; and though FIFA has repeatedly instructed referees to give the benefit of the doubt to the attack on questionable goals, it seams that the low-scoring nature of the game has affected their psychology. They simply can't seem to shake the feeling that allowing an iffy goal is more "activist" than disallowing it.
Certainly it would have been less stressful for us if we had gotten the win against Slovenia and the early Dempsey goal against Algeria that we deserved. It would have been great to rack up 7 points and record for prosperity that we have indeed been one of the best teams of the tournament at this early stage; but as of right now I am wholly unwilling to trade that for the ecstasy of Donovan saving us from oblivion, and I don't think I ever will be. We've made it. We have topped the group and so in practical terms done as well for ourselves as we possibly could have.
In other news, they keep a total table for everyone in the cup you know, first through thirty second. I'm not sure why, given that the structure of the tournament, eight knockout groups followed by a single-elimination bracket, means that its not only possible but common for a team with a better record to officially finish lower than a team that lucked out in the group stage, "won" a game or two on penalties, and so made it a round further. But it's interesting all the same, so I guess that might be why they do it.
So with the third set of group games now halfway through, here's a look at how the last-place finishers in groups A-D compare in the race for the wooden spoon.
13. Serbia: 3 pts. -1 GD
14. Nigeria: 1 pt. -2 GD (3 GS)
15. Algeria: 1 pt. -2 GD (0 GS)
16. France: 1 pt. -3 GD
Cameroon, North Korea, and Honduras still have a chance to go for the gold and lose all three games. Though I'm probably not alone in cheering for France to come out on top in this race after their twelve days of weak-ass nonsense. Should be a thrill.