June 09, 2002

Group D clash of upset "titans": US v S Korea.: The two teams expected to be last in their group are top of the table. Winner of this one automatically qualifies (I worked out the permutations), a draw isn't bad but leaves the group wide open for the final games. Who wins? I pick the US. Or will it be a draw? Who takes it? Who's team play reigns supreme?

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 10:13 PM - 12 comments

You are right, of course, in that the winner of this game will auto-qualify but I'll add that they may emerge second from the group and the loser of this game could still emerge from this round first! It depends on how the other games go.

posted by vacapinta at 01:04 AM on June 10, 2002

vaca: No doubt. I don't really care who wins the group, as long as the US qualify. OR even S. Korea, I guess. I'd like to see the underdogs do better. Hey, maybe Senegal will go all the way.

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:22 AM on June 10, 2002

USA is already up 1-0 in the 37th minute as I type this. Lessee, next set of games: USA (3) v. South Korea (3) Poland (0) v. Portugal (0) then lastly USA (3,4 or 6) v. Poland (0, 1, 3) South Korea (3, 4, 6) v. Portugal (0, 1, 3) Whoever wins this of course is in automatically (unless it's a draw), while the other can still make it, but only with a win or draw in its final game and hopefully a win on points in the case of a tie. Best case scenario for both US and SK seems to be a draw in Poland/Portugal, ensuring that both those teams can earn 4 points at best- so even a loss in game 3 could leave US and/or SK with a win on points. Either way, a Pol/Por draw would leave both US and SK with their own fate solidly in their hands in game 3 regardless of the outcome of this US/SK game (US and SK each would have at least 3 against Poland or Portugal going into Game 3, meaning a win or draw against Poland or Portugal would put them into the second round guaranteed.). WOW! Friedel just made an amazing penalty kick save that could have tied it in the 41st minute; that might have been the game right there. We're headed into halftime with the US up 1-0; the way this game is playing, another goal for the US should clinch the win.

posted by hincandenza at 02:19 AM on June 10, 2002

I should add that, as a soccer newbie, I'm liking one thing about this sport: no timeouts. There's something exciting and convenient about their being 90 minutes to a game, no exceptions. As an at-home viewer, I know pretty much exactly how much time I'm committing to watching the game. Usually, when there's like 1 minute left in the 4th quarter of a basketball game, that means you'll be watching for another 10-15 minutes, then possibly overtime(s). In soccer, the clock doesn't stop- at best, they'll take 3-4 minutes at the end of the half for stoppage.

posted by hincandenza at 02:24 AM on June 10, 2002

This is a brilliant game, and now I have to go to work and it's only half time. Friedel is a fantastic keeper, his save before the penalty was as good as the penalty save. Here's to a U.S v England clash in the next round.

posted by Fat Buddha at 02:34 AM on June 10, 2002

1-1 it's over, it was a great match, I have to 2nd the Friedel comment, hell of a job in the net.

posted by jbou at 03:29 AM on June 10, 2002

Now the U.S.A. only needs a draw against Poland to qualify. Forza U.S.A. :)

posted by Zhu-De Loves Orchids at 03:30 AM on June 10, 2002

South Korea dominated that game. We (U.S.A.) are lucky to get out with a point.

posted by howa2396 at 03:36 AM on June 10, 2002

Yeah, and we can thank the Koreans for their lousy finishing, too. Three goalmouth chances and they ballooned all of them. If you include that lame penalty, it could've easily been 5-1 to Korea. I think the Korea:US possession ratio was probably 80:20. Korea was relentless, and showed more cohesion and imagination. The U.S. sat back and only had that one chance that Mathis put away plus the Donovan chance which was totally flubbed. The Beasley opportunity was never going in, even tho he got to the ball first (barely). All in all, the U.S. were riding their luck on a razor's edge. I expected better esp. since they had Reyna back but he was disappointing. Well, here's hoping they take a more positive approach against Poland. The U.S. only need a draw after tonight (regardless of the Pol v Port result) to qualify, but I'd really like to see them give Poland a thumping, just so they have an emphatic entry to the 2nd round. I hope Arena was saving Stewart and Jones for that game.

posted by worldcup2002 at 03:42 AM on June 10, 2002

The U.S. was lucky to gain a draw, given the better possession and attacking skills of the Koreans, as well as the help from the Swiss ref. (I might be a biased American fan, but the ref was biased towards the home crowd and team, doncha think?) BUT, the U.S. was also unlucky to gain a draw, as it could have been a win. The foul that set up the Korean goal (a nice goal) was a bad call...the U.S. player played the ball, even touching it before the Korean was tripped up. All in all, if not for great saves by Friedel, the U.S. lost the game, so I'll take the one point instead of none.

posted by msacheson at 04:02 AM on June 10, 2002

Yep, the US played pretty incoherent this game, no offense really at all (but unlike the Koreans, they managed to close the deal on those rare excursions towards the Korean goal), and the Koreans owned the ball it seemed the entire game- it was practically an event for the ball to cross midfield for the US! Although I do echo msacheson's sense that the refs seemed to call it tighter on the US players than the home team. Walking out of that game with a point is a major achievement, and makes the US a team that has gained some respect at the World Cup. I mean, if they actually reached the quarterfinals I'd be stunned (as will the entire world), and I shudder to think what would happen if/when the US faces a team of the caliber of a Brazil, but already they've done more than anyone could expect and should feel immensely proud right now. If the US can make the second round, they can go back and prepare for 2006 knowing they've finally made it.

posted by hincandenza at 06:58 AM on June 10, 2002

Fun game. Even though you're a newbie, hincandenza, I think you got the analysis right on. The number of chances that Korea missed was amazing, as was Friedel. My pick for the next round is Portugal and US. Poland is out, and if Portugal play Korea half as well as Poland, they're toast. Meaning that all the US needs is a tie against a demoralized Polish side to get through. But then again you never know...

posted by sauril at 11:14 AM on June 10, 2002

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