Play by play
FT: USA 0 – 1 Germany || It’s all over at the Recife swimming pool. We’re back to the it’s all about the results narrative. And it’s true. Qualification is the name of the game. The U.S. didn’t play very well, but somehow they kept a much more talented German team at bay for most of 90 minutes. Mind you, this is a German team that is one of the favorites—if not THE favorite—to win the World Cup. So hat tip to both sides; they’ve done what they needed to do and clearly didn’t hold back and play for a draw. Had they done that #MatchFixing and the end of sportsmanship and world peace, right? What comes next for these two teams? More water in the form of showers, probably. Some hugging, definitely. And then a wait until Group H shakes out to see who they’ll both be facing in the next round. In the meantime, enjoy this shot of two old friends embracing after trying to kill each other. Ah, sports. They’re so delicious.
And meanwhile …
Enjoy the rest of the day, everyone. I hope you got what you wanted. It seems that these two did. *hugs*
Hey, the U.S. almost scored. The ball makes it’s way across the top of the German box and lands with Bedoya on the left. He has Neuer lined up and tries to bend the ball far post, but two Germans slide across the ball’s bath at the last minute. DRAMATIC! Sliding Germans. Who’d have thought?! Kind of dramatic. But it’s still 1-0 Germany and everyone still qualifies.
The board has been raised. There are 4 minutes of injury time. As it stands, if the U.S. make it through these four minutes without evaporating, they are qualified for the knockout stage. The result will be one of those “U.S Victory! Germans win 1-0!” newspaper headline things. You know what I mean.
DeAndre Yedlin—the first DeAndre to suit up for the U.S. and hopefully not the last—comes on for Zusi. He lets the world know he is playing by receiving the ball in the attacking third in the corner and sending a shot-cross straight into a flock of unsuspecting birds overhead. That shot must have killed wildlife. Definitely an 85% chance of bird death.
Portugal 2-1 Ghana. A benign ball in the box is headed high in the air, falling to Dauda who bats it right in front of goal. Ronaldo is all too happy to oblige and bury it. This means Ghana has to score twice to knock the USA out, or Portugal needs to score three.
Is it wrong that the first thing I thought when I saw this photo of Obama watching this game was, “Why are you going to Minneapolis?” I think it’s a fair question. I also haven’t seen the news in a few days because soccer has taken over my existence.
Jermaine Johnson and Alejandro Bedoya break up a great spell of U.S. possession (decent spell—some nice combination play) by running into each other at the top of the U.S. box. The collision leads to both players sprawled out side-by-side, rolling around. The pair are rolling around identically. The symmetry is beautiful. But it seems they’re OK. And that’s what’s most important.
American leader Clint Dempsey just went into a good old fashioned 50-50 challenge. Based on how he was holding his broken nose, his broken nose hurts. But this is Clint Dempsey, the man who was born in [insert Dempsey tale about virgin birth and rapping]. A little 50-50 challenge never gets the best of Deuce. You don’t beat Deuce; you get beat by Deuce. *roll commercial*
It isn’t as if crazy things haven’t happened at the end of U.S. games. Remember Portugal? Algeria? And there are others. Many others. So if the score stays at 1-0, which is a fortunate score for the U.S., there’s always a chance. I feel awful for writing one of the most obvious and frequently used empty lines in sport, but it needs to be said right now. Germany are creating all the chances, but they really just can’t finish. Even Löw is frustrated.
Or are John Wall and Joakim Noah bored with people asking them “ARE YOU JOHN WALL AND JOAKIM NOAH?!” and taking pictures in their faces while they’re trying to watch some soccer. I don’t know. I’m just asking the important questions. #journalism
Somehow, this is a metaphor for the action in Recife. Or is this actually the stadium? Stay tuned.
Jermaine Jones has been looking like this all game. He’s been giving everyone this look. He’s like, “Fellas, this is a pool. We’re in water, man. Think. You can slide. Stop running around here like chickens. Be fish, guys. Be fish.”
Ghana 1-1 Portugal. Asamoah Gyan, nemesis of the #USMNT, heads in a fantastic cross. One more goal for Ghana and this gets very interesting.
That was a clinical finish from Tom Muller. A short corner started it all. When the cross came in, it found the exceptionally large Per Murdersacker. It’s actually Mertesacker, but I prefer Murdersacker. Anyway, Murdersacker’s header met Tim Howard for President 2016. Tim came through with an OUTSTANDING save to his right, stretching out as much as one can expect a human to stretch without snapping. But the rebound fell to Tom. Tom Muller. And Tom Muller doesn’t mess around. He bends the ball to the far post and Tim Howard for President 2016 can’t hold the line anymore. 1-0 Germany.
Bastian Schweinsteiger clips in a cross from the left flank and it almost finds the most goalscoring goalscorer in the underwater colony worlds, Miroslav Klose, at the far post. So … no, I won’t do it. OK, I will. IT WAS SO KLOSE. Klose just misses.
REWIND: Omar Gonzalez challenges a man half his size for a header and wins. Omar wins! Omar wins! Omar wins!
First chance to … you guessed it, the Germans. Boateng crosses a ball from the right flank and it comes down to an aerial battle between Mesut Ozil and Omar Gonzalez. This time, Omar was really comin’. From out of position. But, to be fair, he recovered admirably to just beat Ozil to a free header in front of Howard. Somehow we’re still scoreless.
THE SECOND HALF HAS STARTED. GO BACK TO YOUR CUBICLES.
I’m telling you, this campaign thing has legs. I’m not even going to start about Tim Howard for FIFA president. There’s an election coming up, you know.
If you haven’t seen it, Will Ferrell is in Recife at the U.S. fanfest is hilarious. It’s basically Frank the Tank meets soccer. Or, Will Ferrell doing Will Ferrell things. The Suarez comment had my dying. And then the “I Believe” chant started and I pressed mute.
HT: USA 0 – 0 Germany || As far as synchronized swimming goes, this is one of the more impressive games I’ve seen. As you can see below, the participants are really getting into expressing themselves. Jermaine Jones, on several occasions, has decided to start breakdancing when things got serious. It’s how I deal with stress, too, so I understand. As it stands, both the U.S. and Germany are going through to the knockout stage. Despite tales of deals between Klinsmann and Löw to engineer a draw, that doesn’t look to be the case. Either that, or this is some really impressive match fixing.
REWIND YELLOW: Omar Gonzalez (also known as “OMG, OMAR STARTIN’?!”) picked up a yellow in the 37 minute for a “my bad” on Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Only $5 a week. Volunteer to have a discussion group at your house. Go door-to-door. Something. Do something. We promise to only send you 15 emails per day and have you on a distribution list for the rest of your life.
Ozil gets a step on Matt Besler and squeezes through a shot that is thwarted by Tim Howard for President 2016. Seconds later, Germany squeaks through a gap in the defense and almost get off another shot. The Germans are doing an excellent job making runs from wide, and the runners are being found. If is weren’t for Howard and desperation sliding, this could already be ugly.
REWIND: Jermaine Jones before video. In the next one, he’ll be buff and beating up referees with one arm tied behind his back.
A ball is played from the middle of the park out to the space on the right flank. Fabian Johnson, my favorite German, runs on to the ball, reaching it just before it gets to the endline. I didn’t think he’d get there so I yelled, “SLIDE! What do you think he made rain for?!” But he got to it and put in a low cross, right across the penalty spot. Jermaine Jones might have been there if the Uzbek referee hadn’t run him over. Jermaine Jones needs to lift more. There, I said it. You can’t be letting referees interfere with your 1-game scoring streak.
People use Snapchat for respectable things? I’ve been tricked by the media, guys. All this time I thought … um, yeah, let’s go back to the action.
Another ‘Murican shot. This one MUCH better. Graham Zusi, also on the left (is this a theme?), receives the ball and takes a prep touch with his right foot after cutting inside. His shot curls to the upper-right corner and goes just over the goal. An outstretched Manuel Neuer maybe made the shot look closer than it was, but that’s a much improved chance than the Beasley “shot.”
DaMarcus Beasley, who really isn’t the one you want taking shots, has the first “attempt” for the U.S. He cuts in from the left, getting a step on Boateng right outside the box. He rips … just kidding … he takes a right-footed shot that trickles harmlessly over the endline for a goal kick. That was kind of sad. But it’s a step in the right direction for Klinsmann’s swim team.
America needs sea horses.
Man, this German water polo team looks like it came to play.—
Brian Phillips (@runofplay) June 26, 2014
‘Murica got the ball for a few minutes. Maybe it was only a minute. But it was a moment to cherish. But now it’s right back to the German storm. They are raining down on the American box without mercy. Omar Gonzalez is sliding around out there, like he’s on a Slip-N-Slide, trying to prevent the Germans from doing German things. It isn’t stopping, guys.
Benedikt Howedespicks up the first yellow of the match. This is the only moment of rest the Americans have had. They should be thankful. They’ve been like a dog chasing a tennis ball out there.
Podolski is all in. All the Germans are involved. Not surprisingly, the U.S. has seen very little of the ball. Well, they’ve seen it, but they haven’t really touched it. Podolski put in a a wonderful, low-driven cross from the left, right across Howard’s box. Thankfully for the Americans, Tim Howard is Tim Howard and saves the day. For now. This isn’t looking great for the U.S.
This first “chance,” and I use that loosely, falls to the Germans. Mesut Ozil, at the top of the box, lays a ball off to Boateng, approaching on the right flank. Boateng crosses, and after some intra-box nonsense, the ball drops for Lukas Podolski’s gravy-filled legs. Podolski sends the shot into the Atlantic. And all is safe. For now.
Inside the stadium, these people don’t care about no rain.
AND WE’RE OFF, PEOPLE!
For Germany, I thought I’d go with something a little more sensitive. The boring German stereotype always wades into stiff territory. But not today. Today’s German team is anything but stiff. It’s a multi-ethnic, silky smooth bunch. So, to celebrate the Germans, I’m going with Milli Vanilli’s “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You.” Yeah, girl, you know it’s true.
We do national anthems here on the live blogs, but not in a conventional way. The conventional live blog way might be to embed the actual national anthems. But, if you’re like me—and I hope you aren’t—that would bore you to near-death. Instead, we select songs and/or sounds from the competing nations to serve as national anthems for the day. The German national team is known as “Die Mannschaft.” So I think it’s appropriate for the U.S. anthem today to be Hall & Oates’ “Maneater.” Or “Manneater.” Get it? Yeah, terrible. I’m aware. Judge away.
The referee today is Uzbek Ravshan Irmatov. You may recall Irmatov from past games such as Mexico v. Croatia and other games you may have seen him officiate. WE STILL HAVEN’T INDEPENDENTLY VERIFIED IF IRMATOV’S HOBBIES INCLUDE FOOTBALL (STILL HAVEN’T VERIFIED WHETHER HIGH SCHOOL, COLLEGE, OR NFL), SWIMMING, AND TENNIS, but that’s apparently what he told FIFA.
If you have one minute and don’t really know very much about these teams, you might be wondering, “How can I rectify that?” How about watching our one-minute previews? Here’s the U.S. preview:
And the Germans have one, too. Because equity. All about equity over here, folks.
Here are the 22 bodies that trillions of people will be staring at for the next couple of hours, unless some of them are substituted, which is definitely a possibility. Soccer and things, you know.
A loss for the U.S., however, is where things get interesting in the group. There’s a path for Ghana to get through if they win and the U.S. let down Hulk Hogan in Recife. That path involves goal differential. Ditto for Portugal, but they’ll need to score about 5,000 goals, even if they win, to even bother having a discussion about them moving on to the knockout round. Sorry, I should have mentioned this earlier: Hulk Hogan is sharing words about soccer. So is Ann Coulter. I know. Don’t ask. Just trust me. If this is what soccer making it in America looks like, I may have mixed feelings. But this isn’t the time to explore them.
Today’s Group G encounter between the U.S. and Germany is more than an exercise in muscle-flexing between NATO partners. Things are at stake. As it stands, Germany and the U.S. are tied at the top of the group on 4 points. That means that if there is a winner today, that team moves on to the knockout stage as the top team in the group. A draw also sends both teams through, with Germany taking the top spot on goal differential. Thus, the conspiracy theories about Klinsmann and German national team coach Jogi Löw (Klinsmann’s German national team assistant at the 2006 World Cup) having late night meetings over Nutella to discuss how to fix a draw.
By now you’ve heard: U.S. men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann sent out a note. Also, if you haven’t heard, the U.S. economy isn’t exactly in the greatest shape. I worry that if things don’t go well for the U.S. in Recife today, Klinsmann may be blamed for stagnant employment, skyrocketing student debt levels, and childhood obesity. And that would be unfair and unfortunate. But hey, no one asked him to send out a note excusing the entire U.S. workforce for two hours in the middle of the work day.
GOOD MORNING/AFTERNOON/EVENING, WORLD! Welcome to the Group G Finale Live Blog! We’ll be getting started shortly, so don’t worry. Obviously, this is the U.S.-Ghana live blog. That’s what it says at the top, right? But, to the extent that important events happen in the other Group G encounter between Ghana and Portugal, we will be providing updates. So, SPOILER ALERT, if that matters to you. It shouldn’t. But I try to be somewhat thoughtful. Also, follow us at @soccergods on Twitter. ONE MORE THING. We’ll also be running the Good Morning America Twitter account during the game today, so give @GMA a follow, too!
Where to watch
Miriti Murungi is a writer/producer for Fusion. He is possibly responsible for the nonsensical ramblings at @NutmegRadio. Also dabbles in yacht rock and used to wear a tie. *tips hat*
Corey Bennett is a writer/producer for Fusion, conjurer of hashtags, barrister in the American sense, and Right Hand of the @churchofsoccer. *straightens tie*