World Cup 2014 Updates

7/15/14

The final of the 2014 World Cup was played in the famous Maracana stadium in Rio De Janiero, Brazil yesterday, and it was a beauty.  Now, zero-zero can be pretty exciting is what this game proved to all soccer fans.  It was zero-zero, through regulation time between Argentina and Germany.  Lots of aggressive, attacking football.  Back and forth, with Argentina taking the initiative, and then Germany.  Lots of close shots with Germany hitting the goal post two times!  These were clearly the best two teams in the world going at it tooth and nail for over 90 minutes.

In the first half of overtime, no score.  In the second half, German midfielder, and leading German scorer, Tomas Muller, kicked a left footed cross from the left sideline to Mario Goetze, who chested the ball about ten yards from the left side of the goal, and before the ball hits the ground, spins and kicks it in the goal with his left foot.  Everything was left!  Goalie Sergio Romero, had no chance.  It was the winning goal with about five minutes left in the game.  The ref gave over three minutes of overtime, but it did no good.  Game over.

Other than Germany winning the game, the other story was the tens of thousands of Argentines and a few less, but not less enthusiastic Germans, who packed the stadium and the heart with which the Argentine team played the game.  Uber superstar, Argentine forward, Lionel Messi, had several good chances to score, but it wasn’t his day.  It was a rough game with many fouls and yellow, or warning cards.  In the overtime, it was obvious that Germany had benefited from its extra day off.  The Argentines, not only got a day less, but also they played an overtime game ending in penalty shots to beat Holland.  At the end of the game, it was the Germans who still had their legs under them, while the Argentines could barely walk much less run, aiding the Germans in their winning goal.

After the game, the four time Balon D’Oro, or footbballer of the year, Messi was petulant and morose.  While the German team and fans celebrated, none of the Argentines could muster a smile.  It appeared they were all going home and commit hari kari.  Their countenance was comatose and grim.  Juxtaposed by the elated Germans who accepted their gold coin neck trophies, and the ultimate, the actual, s18 carat, Gold Cup, symbol of the best team on the planet.

This World Cup tournament was stupendous!  A celebration of not just futbol, but life.  The hundreds of thousands of fans who went to this wonderful country, had the time of their lives.  They ate well, drank well, partied well, and in general had the experience of a lifetime.  I say this from experience after attending two World Cups in Mexico and Pasadena.

People were smiling and rooting for their team, and their country in every game, and even outside the venues in the restaurants and bars throughout Brazil.  Friends from other countries were made, as were plans to visit each other in their own countries.  The World Cup atmosphere is like no other on the planet.

Let’s hope that all soccer fans can make this pilgrimage one time in their lives.  Until the next World Cup, ADIOS!

G.D. Morrill

7/5/14

The big news this week is that the USA lost to Belgium 2-1 on Tuesday.  We looked lackadaisical and out of place, playing defense for most of the regulation time. Score 0-0.  Then in overtime, Belgium scores two goals in the first fifteen minute overtime. In the second overtime, Julian Green the 19 year old with an American father and German mother, born in Germany, and speaking mostly German, comes in and in his very first touch, kicks in a goal from a pass that never touches the ground.  2-1.  All hell breaks loose!  We have try after try and almost scored like five times, but in the end we lost and were eliminated.

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Much criticism is being leveled at USA National Team Coach, Jurgen Klinsman.

The strategy was obviously defensive.  At this point in the tournament, the rest of the world understands that you play to win, not to not lose.  That was his strategy.  Landon Donavan criticized Klinsman, saying that the boys were never placed in a position, and using the example of Michael Bradley, who normally plays back as center midfield, but who Klinsman played as an attacking midfielder.  Also, it sure looks like choosing Kyle Beckerman over Landon Donavon was a HUGE error in judgement.

The semifinals of the World Cup are half the way there.  Today Germany beat France 2-0 and Brazil beat Colombia 2-1

The Germans look like potential champions.  France was not up to the task with Germany willing 1-0.  A good showing for sure by France to get to the quarterfinals, but they miss their best player who didn’t make the team due to an injury, Ribery.  Put France’s other forward, Kareem Benzema with Ribery, and you’re talking serious firepower.

We also saw Brazil hang on for a well earned 2-1 victory over Colombia.  Probably the best game so far in the WC.  The action was non-stop, back and forth, but the Brazilians were up to the task and prevailed with goals by Hulk and David Luis.  Colombia’s goal came on a penalty kick by the leader in goals for this WC so far, James Rodriguez.

Earlier in the week Netherlands v  Mexico was also closely contested with Mexico’s Giovani DosSantos scoring for Mexico and Snjyder scoring for Holland.  Next came the controversy.  With minutes left in the game, Arjen Robben gets tripped in the penalty box by Mexico defender, Rafa Marquez and they are awarded a very iffy penalty kick, which they converted.  Holland touts the best players in the world: Robbens, Sjnyder, and Robben Van Persie.  Mexico coach Miguel Herrera tells the world that Mexico got jobbed AGAIN.  However, this is the sixth straight WC in which Mexico has been ousted in the round of 16, and every time, they have excuses.  In this case, the ref stole the game.  Good luck with that Mexico!

Also, Costa Rica beats Greece 2-1 to advances to the quarter finals and plays Netherlands today, and Argentina will play a Belgium side which beat the USA.  Netherlands, Germany, and Argentina are clear favorites to win.  Now we get down to the nitty gritty of the best soccer being played by the top four countries in the world.  The only team surprise is Belgium, a definite dark horse in this tournament.

At this point it looks like Germany v Brazil and Argentina v Netherlands.

G.D Morrill

6/29/14

Well, lots of stuff has happened since I last wrote about the WC.  The USA lost to Germany an still made it through to the round of 16, where half of the teams were eliminated.  It was a great game!  We lost 1-0, but played great!  Played our hearts out.  Acquitted ourselves well on the world stage.  After the Portugal tie in the last minute, the games against Portugal and Germany toughened us up and prepared us for the round of 16.

Since then, Mexico made it through, and five of six South American teams made it through as did four European teams, two African teams, Ghana and Nigeria, and no Asian teams.  The CONCACUF, which placed THREE teams in the round of 16, showing that we don’t play in some little girl conference!

Today, the first day of the round of 16, in the best game so far was Brazil v Chile.  Brazil scores first and then Chile ties them.  At the end, no winner.  Over time.  No goals.  We go to penalty kicks.  Brazil makes two and Chile misses its first two.  Brazil misses an Chile scores the next two to tie. Neymar makes his penalty, 3-2.  Chile hits the bar and bounces out.  Brazil wins!  Brazil goes nuts!  Brazil is partying!  Wish I could be there!

Next game, Colombia v Uruguay sans Chewy Louie, Luis Suarez, and he’s one of the few players in the world who can win for a country all by his self.  Without him, Colombia wins 2-0 with James Rodriguez, the 22 year old phenom who plays for Monaco in the French league.  Monaco paid Porto $60 million for him, and it looks like he’s worth every penny of it.  One of his two goals was potentially the goal of the tournament.  He takes a long pass off of his chest with his back to the goal, and before the ball hits the ground, he turns and kicks a bullet before the ball hits the ground, and GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOl!

Today, Mexico v Netherlands, and in the afternoon, Costa Rica v Greece.  Have a great day viewing!  USA v Belgium on Tuesday, don’t miss it!

G.D. Morrill

6/22/14

What a game!  USA v Portugal today, Sunday, June 22.  The USA defender shanks a shot on goal to the goalie’s right.  Nani, the Portugal right winger gets the ball just a few yards from the goal and knocks it in.  1-0 Portugal after only 5 minutes.  Portugal is in control.  All of the action in the first twenty minutes is on the USA’s side.

First half score: 1-0 Portugal.  Second half a different matter.  Back and forth, and BOOM!  The Jermaine Jones, one of the German/Americans scores.  With ten minutes left, Graham Zusi crosses a perfect pass in front of the Portuguese goal and scores with his belly!  We go to the 90th minute, game over, right?  No, the ref adds 5 minutes of injury time.  In the 94th minute with forty seconds, supposedly our best player, midfielder Michael Bradley loses the ball on our own end instead of kicking the ball out of bounds, and Portugal races down the field and scores with twenty seconds left in the game!

Heartbreak!  A win turns into a tie.  Devastation for the USA.  A win propels us into the round of 16, where half of the teams are eliminated.  The tie absolutely confuses the whole group.  We play Germany next, while Portugal plays Ghana, which the USA beat, and which tied a great German side.  If the USA wins or ties Germany, we’re through to the next round.  If Portugal loses, we’re through.  If Portugal ties, we would probably go through by differential of goals.  If Portugal wins, and we lose,we could still go depending on the score.

Convoluted?  Yes, but those are the mathematical equations we deal with with every World Cup.  Fun, devastating, unnerving, and lovely.

Go USA!

G.D. Morrill

6/18/14

Not a big day in the WC on Tuesday.  Belgium came back to beat an Algerian team which cannot score, unless given a penalty kick, which it was awarded and which was converted.

Russia and Korea played to a 1-1 tie with Korea, boring.  Kiss your sister.

But the big news was a Mexico, tying home team and powerhouse, Brazil, in Brazil.  Brazil respects Mexico, because in recent history, they’ve had their number. The question was will Mexico play for a tie, or go all out and risk being routed severely by the home team?  Well, as things played out, Mexico was in a washing machine of the super aggressive Brazilian attack for the first 20 minutes.  Then, they settled down and played Brazil equally, or even better, for the rest of the game.

Many opportunities for Brazil, but the Mexican defense was stout and survived the onslaught for the first half.  The second half was another story as Mexico decided that they would go for it and attacked the Brazilian defense with fury.  Neither team scored, but many beautiful chances, especially for Mexico.

However, the story of the game was the Mexican goal keeper, Guillermo Ochoa, who made at least three and possibly five saves of shots on goal which will go down in WC lore as some of the best saves EVER!  Ochoa dove from right to left and took point blank shots to his body, saved goals with his hands and feet and shut the vaunted Brazilian scoring machine down.

The meaning of all of this is that it probably ensures that Mexico and Brazil will both advance to the next round, quite an accomplishment for a Mexican side which barely made it into the WC, only because the USA beat Panama in Panama in extra time, which allowed Mexico to get into a playoff with Australia to get into the WC.

Mexico will play Croatia next, and Brazil will play Camaroon.  Depending on the results of those games, it looks like Mexico and Brazil will advance.

A great result for Mexico.  Not so good for Brazil because they were expected to beat Mexico, however, the point is that they will advance.  Anything else, and the Brazilians might have rioted for a different reason.

G.D. Morrill

6/17/14 Monday Recap The two biggest games  Monday were Germany V Portugal, and USA V Ghana. The Germans played first, but for Americans, we care more about our team, don’t we?  WE WON!  2-1!!!!!!  Dempsey scored our first goal as the game just got underway.  Josey Altidore, one of our two forwards, severely pulled his hamstring.  He was in extreme pain when removed from the field.  Big blow going forward.

Ghana scores in around the 81st minute.  They had been attacking furiously and the USA looked disorganized for that goal and for the next few minutes.  Then, Klinsman substitutes in John Brooks.  Another sub, first international game that counted.  In other words, not a “friendly”.  Graham Zusi kicks a perfect corner kick and Brooks headed it in for the winning goal just before the 90th minute.  We held on during another furious extra time, generously given for five extra minutes.

Jubilation!  ESPN shows places all over the country where large crowds have gathered to cheer on our national team.  Beating Ghana, who had eliminated us the last two times in the first round in the WC, were inconsolable, holding their heads in their hands, crying.  This is a big deal to such a small and poor country.  For us, it means we need to eke out a tie against Portugal, who lost to Germany today 4-0, and lost two starting defenders: one to a red card, Pepe, and the other with a severe hamstring injury.  Good for us and bad for them.

In the German game, the game was just minutes into the beginning and the ref awarded a very dubious penalty kick (awarded for any foul inside the penalty inside the area, or the small box with a half moon at the top).  Both players were fighting for the ball inside the penalty area, and both were using their arms to gain position, and the German player, in my opinion, throws himself down.  The ref didn’t hesitate, but awarding a penalty that early, changed the nature of how both teams were going to strategise for the rest of the game. 1-0 Germany

Three more goals for Germany and zero for Portugal.  In the 37th minute, Pepe for Portugal, a notoriously dirty player (google it), who plays for Real Madrid, one of the best club teams in the world and which won the Union of European Futbol Association (UEFA) championship for European clubs, hit a German player in the face while trying to gain possession of the ball near the Portugal area.  The German player went down with a huge flop, and a foul was called.  Pepe went over to the fallen player and whispered something in his ear, or head butted him, as said the ref.  The ref seeing this, goes up to Pepe and issues him a red card.  Out today, and out for the game with the USA!

Neither I nor the announcers could understand this action.  It could have been that the ref thought that the whispering was antagonistic and unsportsmanlike, however, generally the ref would issue a yellow and tell the player that the next time he’d be out of the game.  But the ref chose not to and, once again, became the protagonist rather than the players, calling it a dubious head butt.

When the refs become the story, it is bad form.  Refs, like umpires in baseball, should not be noticed.  When they’re noticed, they’re not doing their jobs.  The reffing is always an issue in World Cup because they have ultimate power (some say too much power), and the criticism is universal.  This is the worst case of a ref taking over a WC game to date.  Let’s hope that there won’t be much more about this situation.

G.D. Morrill

6/15/14  Big doings day 3 of the World Cup in Brazil.  Two time former WC champion Italy beats England 2-1, Colombia beats Greece 3-0, but the big news is little, underrated Costa Rica, beatsformer WC champ, the dirtiest team in the WC, Uruguay 3-1!  Uruguay, with the universally hated Luis Suarez.  He of the racist comments against black players.  He who spits on opponents, and he who bites, that’s right, bites other players.

Oh yes, and he plays in England and happens to be the the leader of goals scored in the highly rated Premiership soccer league of England.  Uruguay coach chose not to use him in such an “easy” game due to a recent knee injury.  He said he was saving him for the next game against England, which the coach thought was going to be a much tougher game than Costa Rica.

BIG MISTAKE!  Now it appears that Uruguay will not advance.  Before the game, the quotes from the Uruguayan players was insulting to CR.  The CR players said, “we’ll show up anyway”, even though everybody else says they’ll run around us like cones at a training session.  Well, SURPRISE!  CR dominated.  Uruguay, as they are wont to do, turned ugly when it was obvious that they were going to lose, going after their opponent’s legs with cleats up, a very big no no in soccer, as that is the move which will break an opponent’s leg.  Considered very unprofessional and unsportsmanlike, but that’s Uruguay.  The Uruguay player only received a yellow card, or warning.  The Mexican announcers said he should be taken literally, to jail. Two yellow cards in a game results in a “red” card, or expulsion from that game and at least the next one.  The Uruguayan player had the nerve to object to the yellow.

So, with the game only a minute or so to go in injury time, a Uruguayan player viciously kicked a CR player and received a straight out red card.  But that’s par for the course for that country’s national team.  They’re known for it all over the world.  And now they have to get around without a major starter for their team.

The big news is that the USA plays Ghana today at 3 PM.  Remember, ESPN, or UNIVISION.

G.D. Morrill

6/14/14 First two days of the World Cup in Brazil are over.  Brazil won 3-1 vs Croatia yesterday.  Today, Mexico beat Cameroon 1-0.  Chile beat Australia 3-1.  But the big news was WC winner four years ago, Spain  played the team that they beat in the final 1-0 four years ago, the Netherlands, and the score was 5-1 Netherlands over Spain!

A HUGE upset.  In fact, it was a massacre.  5-1 is outrageous in a sport where 0-0 can be the final outcome!  What does this mean?  It can mean a number of things: firstly, it could mean that the Netherlands was extremely under rated; it could mean that Spain was over rated; it could mean that the game was just a fluke and that Spain will be back next game; it could mean that Spain was badly coached, or that the coach picked the wrong players; or it could mean that the Netherlands played way over their actual level and might come back to earth in their next game or two.

It has implications in the group of Chile, Australia, Spain, and the Netherlands.  After such a devastating loss, Spain must be greatly disheartened, so their next game against Chile, Chile is now thinking that Spain is no big deal, and salivating at th

So, that group is a mess.  Spain with one more loss in their next two games could be out of the tournament with another loss.  Australia is a surprise but not like Spain.  For all of us USA fans, we have to wait until June 17 to confront Ghana in Natal, where Mexico had two goals taken away from Giovani Dos Santos today because a linesman from Colombia called two off sides which would have resulted in goals, if not for the lineman’s mistake.  Just a travesty in a tournament where goal differential is the first tie breaker, but at least they won.  Great for Mexico, while they’re jumping out of high rises in Madrid.e prospect of playing them.  However, everyone thought that Chile would tag Australia by some huge score, but they needed over 90 minutes to get the third goal.  It was 2-1 for most of the game, meaning that Chile might not be as good as everyone thought, or once again that Australia is under rated.

The huge riots predicted have not materialized in the first two days.  It’s funny because there were about 300 protesters in Sao Paolo until the game started with Brazil playing Croatia, but when the game started, the protesters retreated to their homes to watch the game and when Brazil scored the news was that fireworks were set off all over Sao Paolo.

So far, so go

od.  Four games on TV today (6/14) on ESPN or Univision.  Enjoy the games and you’ll hear from me in a couple of days.

G.D. Morrill

6/9/14 So, we are now only 3 days away from the start of the World Cup 2014 in Brazil.  Lots of controversy!  As I have many friends in Brazil (Goiania, Brazilia, Rio, Sao Paolo, and Natal), I get the 411 on the sentiments of the Brazilian people, and it’s mixed.  The majority don’t like the graft and corruption which got the WC to go to Brazil, and especially the money being spent on construction of stadia and all other construction related to the games due to start on June 12.

Riots have already taken place to protest the poor people of Brazil, who need educational services, medical services, transportation services, and who are generally a forgotten group when it comes to Brazil’s modernization process.

To them, the symbol of the WC is one which engenders anger and frustration, and they have shown their feelings through riots and strikes, especially in the major cities of Rio, Sao Paolo, and Brazilia.

However, I have written them my opinion that I believe that now that the WC is a fait compli, or a done deal, that there is a bright side to the equation, which I wish they might consider: namely, that the free advertisement for other countries of the world to see the sophistication, beauty, wealth, and the opportunities for business, industry, and tourism, are huge!

My Brazilian friends acknowledge this concept, however, are ambivalent regarding the event.  Nobody loves soccer or “el jogo bonito”, as they call futball more than the people of Brazil.  They have won the tournament more times than any other country in the world, a total of four times.

They are fully invested in the tournament, however, as their awareness and consciousness has grown, so has their anger at their government and corrupt officials, who stole and bribed their way so that Brazil had to pay billions of dollars that they do not have on the WC.

These are old politics.  The former head of FIFA, the governing body of International soccer, is Joao Havalange, the main, corrupt force behind the Brazilian effort to bring the WC to Brazil.  He and his son in law are well known as the main corrupting force  in this process to bring the games to Brazil.  They have been found to have been bribed a total of $12 million during this process.  This cheating, rich, and completely dirty force is well known in soccer circles and is the object of Brazilian ire.

So, there you have it.  The games will go on, however, there very well might be protests, injuries, and deaths during these games, especially in Sao Paolo, the site of the finals, and Rio and Brazilia, the cites of the semi-finals.  We have been advised not to go.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, we are to become first time grandparents on the 14th of June.  Therefore the choice was removed from us by my oldest and first daughter to give birth.  Can’t go.  Wish we could.  Little Ciel, is on her way.  Planned to go, butelements have conspired against us.  Did we miss riots, or did we miss the best World Cup EVER?

Stay tuned for the results of this question.  For now, so long from your intrepid and humble reporter.

G.D. Morrill

6/1/14

Well folks, less than two weeks to World Cup (WC).  Today’s news is that other than a penalty today against Turkey in the last minute, the USA WC National Team played a pretty good performance against a team which barely didn’t make the WC, but is still ranked higher than other teams which did, Turkey, 2-1, with one goal for the USA was incredibly erased by the ref for no apparent reason.

We play Nigeria, another decent side next weekend and it will be our last game before the WC.  Lots of questions remain, as the defense is not settled, as again and again, without scoring, Turkey took a lot of pot shots on our goal.  Timmy Chandler, our right back made mistake after mistake.  Center back, Geoff Cameron had a handball leading to Turkey’s only goal.  The defense was constantly caught with their pants down in this game.  Good luck to Klinsman trying to fix that sieve

Clint Dempsey scored today as did German/American John Brooks.  Michael Bradley, our superbmidfielder, laid a pass on Brooks’ foot for the prettiest goal of the day.  Not a bad performance.considering all of the mixing and matching coach Klinsman did in the second half when he brought in 17 year old German/American, Julian Green, and 20 old American Deandre Yedlin for the last 20 minutes.

With these two last changes, it appears that Klinsman is locked into a mode of getting these youngsters ready for  the WC, at this time, with a bribing scandal on the horizon in Qatar, is getting the youngsters ready for the pressure of the next WC, where there will be much more pressure on them to perform, as apposed to this WC.

The scandal continues to appear to be Landon Donavon, whose teammates who made the team in his stead, Kyle Beckerman, Mix Desterud, and Jermain Jones, another German/American brought in by the German coach Klinsman, couldn’t, in this humble reporter’s opinion, carry Donovan’s athletic supporter.

That said, we’ll apparently dance who brung us and pray for miracles.  Jose Altitadore needs to start scoring, as does Clint Dempsey.  Klinsman has another 4 years on his contract after this WC, so he may to want to place his stamp on the team which will being to Qatar, rather one which he has inherited, to a large degree, and which is really a patchwork for him.

If we get past the first round, it will be a miracle.

G.D. Morrill

5/23/14

When last heard from, I wrote for the Clairemont Times that “A big party was about to begin in Brazil”.  The World Cup.  As we are now only about 3 weeks away, the anticipation is building and there is big news for all Americans following our national team.

My friends in Brazil are all over Face Book and other social media decrying the event in their country, citing the poverty and lack of services for the middle and lower classes, saying that they cannot possibly justify the outlay of funds, in the hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars for building new stadiums, some of which may never be used again.  Riots and social unrest is expected, especially in Rio and Sau Paolo.  That said, there is much for Americans to follow when it comes to the World Cup.

This notwithstanding, yesterday Landon Donovan, the face of USA World Cup soccer for a generation of Americans, was left off of the team by new German coach Jurgen Klinsman.  Donovan, has five goals in two World Cups and, has more international games under his belt than any other American, by far.  No one really comes close when it comes to name and facial recognition for the USA.

There is much controversy.  Eric Wynalda, former WC team mate and now commentator, says it’s wrong.  Tim Howard, our current starting goalie, days before the announcement, said it would be unthinkable if Donovan didn’t make the team.  But, he’s not there.

Now, there are a myriad of reasons behind Klinsman’s decision, starting with the four month hiatus Donovan took from soccer early in 2013.  To most, if not all world class soccer players, such a thingis unthinkable.  It’s actually unprecedented.  It’s simply not done, especially in Germany, where Klinsman spent his career, playing in two World Cups and winning the whole thing once.  However, Donovan indicated that he was “burned out” and needed to recharge his batteries.  Also, he has not scored a goal since October, unheard of for a player of his caliber in the Major League Soccer league, North America’s professional soccer league for Canada and Canada.

The fact is that Klinsman has made it well known that all prospective World Cup team players needed to place their best foot forward during the evaluation period and show that they belonged on the team.  He told players playing in Europe that they needed to perform at the highest level for their teams in Europe. He told Eddie Altidore, a starting forward for the national team for the past five or six years, for instance, that his performance was sub-par for his first division Dutch team, and that if he didn’t pick up his level of play, he could forget about playing for him if he didn’t pick up his performances in Holland.

Donovan, since coming back from his little walkabout to Cambodia for four months, has not played at a high level.  He’s also had a leg injury during this period.  Klinsman made it clear when Donovan took his four months off of his displeasure with his decision as it was during the World Cup window of his evaluation of players for the squad.  Donovan, 32 years old, clearly not an old man in the larger picture, however in the world of professional soccer, is definitely in the “middle aged” area for professional soccer.  He’s played in two World Cups.  This would have been his third.

Had Donovan taken seriously his responsibilities as the captain of the national team, not taken his time off, and wanted to please the person making the decision about his future with the national team, he would not have done what he did.  Also, his sub-par performances this season with the LA Galaxy, his MLS team for the past four or five years, also did not impress his coach.

Unfortunately, Klinsman’s 16 year old son, committed to Cal as a goale in two years, tweeted, “Hahahahaha.  Donovan didn’t make the team.  Hahahahaha!  (: (: (: (:”.  His father was said to have been furious with him and his tweet was removed and his Twitter account closed.  However, it makes one wonder about the discussions which must have gone on in the Klinsman home regarding Donovan.  There are those who have indicated that they believed the move to be one of “revenge” on the part of Klinsman.

Other former WC players have indicated that Donovan is feared in the world based on his career and WC performances and that he would be quite a weapon coming in off of the bench say at the 80th minute in a tie of losing situation.  Others indicate, that what he’s meant for American soccer, should have given him some special consideration.

All of those things considered, Donovan, however is NOT on the team.  Some call it a mistake, while others can see the justification for the decision.  Either way, Klinsman may well live or die with the decision.  It is said that he’s telling the world, by choosing a 17 year old German/American, Julian Green, and another 20 year old team mate, Yedlin, and leaving an older player of Donovan’s stature off of the team, that he’s throwing in the towel, finding his team in the “group of death”, with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana as teams in the USA’s group in the first round of WC action.

They say that this will be an opportunity to evaluate younger players whom he views as the future of USA soccer and begin to prepare them for the next four years, where he will have placed his stamp on the national team.  In other words, he’s resigned to not having a chance of advancing in the WC by finding his team placed in such a difficult group.  Germany, the two time WC champion, and Portugal with the best player in the world, Cristian Ronaldo, and surrounded with major talent, and Ghana, known as a formidable opponent, moving past them into the next round, is not in the cards.

So, this WC is rife with drama, and we’re just talking about the USA, realistically a minor actor in this Greek tragedy.  Imagine the stories from those teams actually capable of winning the whole enchilada: Germany, Italy, Spain, Argentina, and Brazil!  Hopefully, you now have a little background while watching what the whole world waits for with bated breath every four years for a whole month of agony, terror, joy, and ecstasy.

Enjoy!

G.D. Morrill

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