USA-Algeria: One Terrific Game, One Great Result
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Nerve-wrecking, but a hell of a game.
With just a couple of minutes left in stoppage time before the final whistle was blown, American goalkeeper Tim Howard started a counterattack by throwing a Brett Favre-like pass down the center of the field. He found Landon Donovan, who was sprinting down the field along with Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey. Donovan passed out right to Altidore, who then passed back to Dempsey who was running down the middle. Dempsey's ensuing shot was blocked; but in came new American hero Donovan, who continued to trail the play, and put the rebound behind the net.
Finally, after 91 minutes, 1-0 USA!
The pro-American crowd at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa went absolutely bonkers, vuvuzuelas were buzzing all over the place.
In Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where England finally tasted victory, Slovenians found out their team's fate -- their 2010 FIFA World Cup was over.
Minutes later, referee Frank De Bleeckere of Belgium blew the final whistle, and the whistle put the US atop of Group C -- the first time an American team won a group in the World Cup.
The US has a knack for waiting towards the last minute. They had their chances in this match to go ahead, plenty of chances. They finished the game with a total of 22 shots, 10 of them on goal. Compared to Algeria only getting four shots on goal, the Americans clearly took the game to them. As many players pointed out before the game, if they didn't advance out of the group stage, it would have been a failure. They knew that by winning, they controlled their own destiny.
When the game first started, however, the Algerians were the ones that came out swinging. In the sixth minute, Algerian striker Rafik Djebbour hit the crossbar on a volley, nearly putting the US in an early hole for the third straight game. After that, the US took control of the match, and began bombarding Algeria.
In the 20th minute, Herculez Gomez took a shot that was cleared back to him by the Algerian goalkeeper. Gomez then passed to Dempsey on the far post, and he put in back of the net. The linesman (assistant referee) however called Dempsey offside and the goal was disallowed. Replays show the play being real close, but for the second game in a row, the potential game-winning goal for the US was taken away.
In the end, it didn't matter this time. Donovan made sure of it with his heroics in the 91st minute. With the other results from Group D, the US will play Ghana on Saturday at 1:30 pm locally in Rustenburg, South Africa; the same stadium where the Americans drew 1-1 to England.
Click here for a slideshow of US and England fans in Houston watching their teams win today.