The match to catch (and I missed it because I've been at a poetics conference), however, was England vs. the USA. Despite having a team packed with Premier League stars, England could only manage a 1-1 tie, which counts almost as a win for the Americans. The game started in heart-dropping fashion for the US when English midfield Stephen Gerrard scored only 4 minutes into the contest, based on a defensive lapse, the sort of harbinger of a US debacle to come. Yet the Americans were able to hang on from that point onwards, even surviving a potential injury to their star goalie, Tim Howard, when England forward Emile Heskey slid cleet-first into the Howard's chest, and, in one of the most remarked moments of the tournament thus far, tied things when Clint Dempsey kicked a squibbler towards the English net and goalkeeper Robert Green couldn't hold onto it before it crossed the goal-line. From that point onwards the US team made no significant mistakes, despite being outshot 10-4 and corner-kicked 8-4. A great deal of credit goes to Howard for unflappable play, and to Dempsey and Jozy Altidore, who nearly got another US goal, for penetrating the English defense.
Tomorrow's games should provide some excitement, though I forsee Germany tromping over Australia, and Ghana v. Serbia ending a tie while I predict Slovenia will defeat the unheralded Algerians. The game I'm waiting for is Brazil's opening match, on Tuesday, against North Korea. In tribute to the match, I even wore my Brazil socks yesterday. Below are a few of the photos from the games that I was able to cull thus far.
|England's Jamie Carragher (L) fights for the ball with Jozy Altidore of the U.S. during a 2010 World Cup Group C soccer match at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg, June 12, 2010. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)|
|U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard fails to stop a goal by England's Steven Gerrard during a 2010 World Cup Group C soccer match at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg, June 12, 2010. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)|
|Clint Dempsey of the US celebrates after scoring during a 2010 World Cup Group C soccer match against England at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg June 12, 2010. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)|