U.S. World Cup buzz building

From U.S. Soccer:

The U.S. Men’s National Team match against Algeria Wednesday was the highest-rated and most-watched soccer game in the history of ESPN networks, delivering a 4.6 rating, 4,582,000 households and 6,161,000 viewers.

The previous households record was set five days earlier with the U.S.-Slovenia match (3,906,000).

Excluding holidays, ESPN’s coverage of the U.S.-Algeria game ranks as the most-watched weekday morning telecast ever for ESPN, surpassing the U.S.-Germany World Cup match from eight years ago on June 21, 2002, (which had a) 4.4 rating and 5,335,000 viewers.

The game also marked a milestone for online video, with ESPN3.com logging the largest U.S. audience ever for a sports event on the web. It attracted nearly 1.1 million unique viewers with an average time spent viewing of 43 minutes.

Wonder how many (like me) had a laptop on the England-Slovenia game and the TV on the U.S.-Algeria game?

Up next: U.S.-Ghana 11:30 a.m. Saturday on ABC. Expect it to smash ratings records for soccer.

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Americans: United through soccer

So screw you, Glenn Beck.

An incredible montage:

Tweeted Stuart Holden:

Wow.. had goosebumps for a full five minutes watching this Video. The support has been unbelievable…..

And Landon Donovan:

Not sure if you guys saw this but it brings tears to my eyes every time. Thank you all so much…we can’t do it…


So you can bet Beck would hate this: i-e3b28caa547ff049f7db4687262e7d8b-mandelaussoccer0001.jpgPresident Bill Clinton and other board members of the USA Bid Committee to bring the FIFA World Cup to the U.S. in 2018 or 2022 met Thursday in Johannesburg with Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa. With Former President Mandela, from left, is Sunil Gulati, president of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and chairman of the USA Bid Committee; President Clinton, honorary chairman of the USA Bid Committee; Don Garber, commissioner of Major League Soccer; Carlos Cordeiro, vice chairman of the USA Bid Committee; and Dan Flynn, USSF CEO and secretary general. President Clinton later spoke at the Nelson Mandela Foundation to pay tribute to Mandela’s life and legacy. President Clinton will rejoin the U.S. team on Saturday in Rustenburg for its round of 16 match vs. Ghana (Photo: Adam Jacobs/ISIphotos.com.)

And this – from a U.S. Soccer press release:

The day after the historic and dramatic 1-0 victory against Algeria that sent the U.S. to the round of 16 at the World Cup, President Barack Obama called the team and addressed the players and staff via speakerphone.

The President then congratulated the players on the amazing team spirit they showed during the unbeaten run through the first round of the World Cup and told them that while he was meeting with General Petraeus in the Oval Office, he could hear the rest of the West Wing erupt when Landon Donovan scored the game-winner.

The President then congratulated Donovan on the game-winning goal, asked Tim Howard how his ribs were feeling and asked Clint Dempsey how his lip was doing.

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Rising Japan sinks cold Denmark to make last 16 in World Cup

i-5d3b5584c67225b6c255931e22935aae-japanfans.jpgJoyous Japan: The 2002 World Cup co-hosts reached the last 16 of the World Cup at the expense of Denmark today enabling their fans to celebrate at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa (AP Photo).

Set pieces haven’t played a big role in the World Cup so far, but leave it to the precise Japanese to change that, downing the dowdy Danes with two free kicks for a deserved 3-1 win.

Japan joins the Netherlands in the last 16. The Dutch reeled off their third World Cup victory in a row, beating Cameroon 2-1.

The attack-minded Japanese looked hungrier and more confident and the Danes were conversely hesitant and apparently lacking self belief.

When I visited Torrance’s Miyako Hybrid Hotel earlier in the tournament they had been forced to close the second floor after slumbering guests complained because of the screams of scores of excited Japanese soccer fans from the bar below. Good thing this game aired around lunchtime, otherwise management might have had to find them rooms elsewhere altogether.

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Thursday Kicks: World Cup holders Italy go home, Kiwi dream over & more

i-c275f81982896d86855e301454930e67-fabiocannavarodone.jpgItaly and Cannavaro are done: Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro, 36, has likely played the last World Cup game of his career (AP Photo).

Uninspired Italy were deservedly shown the World Cup door by Slovakia today while New Zealand snatched a third consecutive draw against Paraguay to remain undefeated, but also winless in the group. They will be missed, the Italians won’t be.

Later this morning at 11:30 a.m. it’s Denmark-Japan (ESPN) and Cameroon-Netherlands (ESPN2). The Dutch have already qualified for the next round.

In other World Cup news:

*Reflections on a historic U.S. World Cup victory Wednesday here.

*The rumors were true – the World Cup semifinals, third-place game and final will be shown in 3D at select movie theaters across the country, including the Regal Long Beach 26, for the first time ever.

To buy tickets, click here.

In other soccer news:

*The Galaxy host AC St. Louis at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Home Depot Center and Chivas USA greet the visiting Austin Aztex at the same night and time at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Stadium in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup.

St. Louis defeated the NSC Minnesota Stars 1-0 Wednesday night, while the Aztex beat the Arizona Sahuaros 3-1.

The Seattle Sounders or Portland Timbers await the winner of the Galaxy-St. Louis game in the fourth round, while its either the Houston Dynamo or Miami FC for the Chivas USA-Aztex victor.

Tickets to both games are on sale starting at $10.

*A week from today the PDL Ventura County Fusion host Cruz Azul in a 7 p.m. friendly at Ventura College, 4667 Telegraph Road.

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Up next for U.S. at 2010 World Cup: 2006 World Cup opponents Ghana

i-08fabf7583266211aea59619c699b521-notingbutnetgermghana.jpgNothing but net: A shot by Germany’s Mesut Oezil beat Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson to secure the top spot in Group D (AP Photo).

The game is at 11:30 a.m. Saturday on ABC. Ghana, of course, beat the U.S. 2-1 at the 2006 World Cup to send the Americans home early.

Hot dog! These two happy puppies to the right were among a packed, enthusiastic crowd at Alpine Village near Torrance who watched Germany defeat Ghana 1-0 to win Group D.


Australia defeated Serbia 2-1 in the other Group D game.

But for Germany, next up is England at 7 a.m. Sunday on ABC. Sounds like German Coach Joachim Low is already looking forward to that one.

It is the fifth World Cup duel between the teams. Those encounters have included such memorable clashes as the 1966 England World Cup win with its disputed winning goal and Germany’s revenge at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

But Germany won a penalty shoot-out in Turin to win the 1990 World Cup semi-final on their way to the title. And England missed a penalty at Wembley against Germany in the Euro ’96 semi-final before the Germans won the final.

The overall record between the two teams is England 15 wins, Germany 10, with six draws.

And if England gets past Germany, a potential clash against Diego Maradona’s Argentina awaits.

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Galaxy’s Donovan saves U.S. World Cup hopes with heart-stopping second half stoppage time winner

U.S. 1 Algeria 0

i-1e351c5a87064756ece651d23cb6485c-magicmomentld.jpgThe magic moment: Landon Donovan’s boyhood dream comes true – scoring a tournament-saving goal in the World Cup finals (AP Photo).

The U.S. tops the group in the most unlikely fashion, while England also qualify, beating Slovenia, 1-0

Justice is done. The U.S. were seconds away from crashing out of the World Cup on another bad call – a disallowed 21st minute Clint Dempsey goal wrongly called offside as television replays showed.


“I’ve been on a long journey for the last four years,” said a sobbing Landon Donovan, right, on ESPN. “I’m shocked and I’m so proud of our guys – unbelievable.”

“They were pushing a lot to try to score. We had to take a lot of risks…Time kind of stopped,” he said of the goal. “You can’t miss from there.”

We embody what Americans are all about,” he added. “We can moan about it or we can get on with it and we got on with it. We believe.

“These guys put a lot into it – they never quit,” U.S. Coach Bob Bradley told ESPN.

England-Slovenia game story here.

Does a rematch with 2006 World Cup opponents Ghana loom from Group D? Not only is the U.S. likely to avoid Germany in the round of 16 with the win (assuming Germany wins the group), the winner of Uruguay-South Korea awaits in the quarter final. Fancy the U.S. chances with those potential match-ups? All the permutations from Group D are here.

Congratulations to Redlands’ own Landon Donovan, who had a relatively quiet game by his standards, but the nation’s greatest-ever player was there to do exactly what needed to be done and finish off the tensest U.S. game ever.

Tweeted U.S. Soccer after the game:

President Clinton visiting with the team in the locker room.. said he was proud of the amazing effort and even led a #USA United States #USA United States chant!


Weezer’s Represent blaring in the #USMNT locker room right now… guys are going nuts!

Time to flood radio stations with a certain song request (that’s worth reposting).

Photo gallery of the U.S. win here.

Tweeted Fontana’s own Maurice Edu:

“Omg! What a game!! Couldn’t be more happy n proud!! Never want this feeling to end! I know u guys are with us too!! Let’s go!”

Former Galaxy and Chivas USA striker Alecko Eskandarian’s take on the U.S. victory.

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U.S.-Algeria Preview

i-15689e8540bbc25fcedef13b22138c0d-barbedwire,jpg.jpgThe U.S. trains Monday behind barbed-wire fencing at Eersterust Stadium in Pretoria (AP Photo).

*The best is yet to come.

*U.S. World Cup permutations to advance. Just win!

*Notable: Landon Donovan will earn his 11th World Cup cap Wednesday, tying former Galaxy star Cobi Jones and Earnie Stewart for the most by a U.S. player.

*Message to Bob Bradley: Buddle, Torres, Gomez. Play them.

*The England perspective.

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Represent! World Cup songs & a new American soccer anthem

To get you psyched up for Wednesday’s U.S.-Algeria game (7 a.m. ESPN) as well as the England-Slovakia game at the same time on ESPN2 this seemed an apt post.

(The new unofficial U.S. World Cup anthem is at the bottom of the post, but I warn you – you’re going to miss a lot of um, frankly awful music, if you skip ahead).

If there’s one reason to celebrate American soccer’s lack of mainstream acceptance it’s this: no lame World Cup songs.

It’s been a tradition in England, my homeland, ever since 1966 when the well-meaning, but misfiring (on this occasion) skiffle star Lonnie Donegan produced this little ditty:

It went downhill from there.

For a while it was all the rage to have English footballers singing songs, a terrible idea to start with, but we can thank early Chelsea (“Blue is the Color”) and Tottenham Hotspur (the immortal “Nice One Cyril”) squads for that. These, um, hits that raced up the charts when I was growing up in England.

Naturally, the England World Cup squad joined the trend with this stirring number in 1982:

The name of this song was the kiss of death to England’s World Cup hopes. Obviously, they didn’t get it right (that time).

The high point of football-oriented songs came in 1990 when New Order recorded “World in Motion,” which featured a rapping John Barnes. Brilliant!

And they went into it with the right attitude:

“We thought it was the worst idea of all time,” drummer Stephen Morris told FourFourTwo. “(The late) Tony Wilson, the Factory records boss, suggested it. we suggested our careers might soon be over. A football record? How do you write one of those without it being absolute rubbish? Every football song ever is totally naff.”

Except their song:

Which brings us to Weezer’s unofficial 2010 U.S. Men’s National Team-supporting effort. Lead singer Rivers Cuomo is a soccer player and fan – he’s played in the Mia Hamm charity game at Home Depot Center the past few years – so gets the mandatory anthemic terrace-singing retro vibe. And it rocks, too:

ESPN really should play it before kickoff.

Bonus! At the risk of leaving a bad taste in the mouth (ear) this England World Cup 2010 candidate song is a guilty pleasure. Singing and dancing construction workers? Yes:

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Dreams done, dreams to come for South Africa, Mexico

i-dd0f1f3e0b8d8e84faa4818ff47cfb60-dreamover.jpgDream over: South African fans react Tuesday after the end of South Africa’s World Cup trek despite beating squabbling France (AP Photos).

And an impressive win it was over a dispirited French team Game story.

But Mexico World Cup hopes continued despite a 1-0 loss to Uruguay. Game story.

i-5f392aabd2f95a04b2ecc9cd3acb4319-comeonmexico.jpg“Come on Mexico,” reads the sign as El Tri qualifies for the next round of the World Cup today against Uruguay.


Lest we have any doubt about French Coach Raymond Domenech’s total lack of class, he declined to shake the hand of South African counterpart Carlos Alberto Parreira after today’s game – and then argued about it:

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