Americans are naturally skeptical of soccer. It’s too slow, it’s not physical enough, it’s too simplistic. But for Americans that watched the final U.S. match of Group Play in the 2010 World Cup, the game captured our imagination.
We saw that soccer is the world’s game. The United States, facing elimination, playing the team from Algeria. The fates of England and Slovenia hanging in the balance as well. This doesn’t happen in any other sport.
We saw that the beauty of its simplicity, the basic components of ball and players in infinite combinations as the U.S. pounded away at the Algerian defense trying to get the goal to break the nil-nil tie and allow the U.S. to survive in the tournament.
Finally, we felt the emotion that soccer so readily produces, the building of tension and anticipation for 90 minutes as our team skated ever closer to elimination, and the floodgate of emotions that is released in one amazing moment behind a beautiful goal. The U.S., through sheer perseverance, wins in the last.
Now on to the Knockout round, with lots more work to do for the U.S. team . .
You can check out the game recap, if you missed it.
Update: I like this video compilation of U.S. crowd reactions to the goal, it really captures what I’m talking about. Is there anything better than cheering for your country?