Halftime footie spoiler: US vs. Germany

June 26, 2014 • 10:01 am

Don’t read this if you’re watching the game later. But feel free to comment below if you’re watching it.






We suck. Germany’s controlling the ball and have had 6 attempts versus our 2. We look like rank amateurs next to the Germans. Our passes are inept and we keep hitting the ball back to our keeper. In contrast, Germany is passing like gangbusters, and accurately. The only reason the game is scoreless is because our keeper is so good.

It will be a miracle if we win. It will be a miracle if we even tie.

58 thoughts on “Halftime footie spoiler: US vs. Germany

  1. I don’t know. I think it was pretty common knowledge going into the game that the US was facing a formidable and superior foe, so we responded by stacking the defense and packing it densely during any German attack and yes, Tim Howard is a total monster in the goal. Glad to see you’re watching!

      1. Ah, but is it the top half German (they know where they need to get to) not the bottom half (… but can’t get there) ; or is it the bottom half (runs all over the felid at breakneck speed) with inadequate input from the top half (going to the wrong part of the felid)?
        I’ll make a note in the diary – I said something less than vitriolic about soccer.

    1. The US team was understandably nervous after the draw with Portugal! They could have been more attacking – in this World Cup the attacking teams have done well.

      1. Whoever wins between Portugal and Ghana will have to same number of points as the US, so it comes down to goal differential. We’re way ahead of Portugal in GD. If they win we’ll probably advance.

  2. I’m. It surprised Germany is leading. I’m hoping for Germany to be one of the teams at the final.

    1. Are you kidding? We can’t pass–we probably had half of the successful passes the Germans did.
      What happened is what we deserved, though of course the result was determined before the match began!

      I guess we still advance, though, as Portugal won.

      I think I’m going to root for Argentina, just because I’m a big Messi fan.

      1. you’re a hard man. The general view of the ‘experts’ on TV in the UK is that the US are a very good team. Very well organised and achieving to the maximum of their ability.

        1. USA does have a “good” team, but they’re not yet in Germany’s league. They will be the England of the next round. That said, USA did have an unfavorable grouping with Germany, Ghana & Portugal…no pushovers there.

        2. The US should just recruit a bunch of Europeans, just like they recruit Russians, Swedes and Canadians for hockey. 🙂

          1. They recruit them for league play, not the Olympics. But with soccer the European leagues pay better.

          2. Several of the US players are Germans. Offspring of US servicemen stationed there apparently.

      2. Have to agree here. Ball control/passing has been horrible for the US and the only thing that has saved them is a pretty good defense. Best comment seen during first US World Cup game (paraphrased): “I’m playing a drinking game where I take a slug whenever the US team successfully passes the ball… I’m dying of thirst.”

      3. It is not like Argentina’s defense has been impressive. If Messi doesn’t score, they’re toast. All of the top teams have had less than stellar performances in at least one match – the next round should be interesting.

      4. While possession is not the name of the game these days I agree the US gives it up too easily. They need to develop better passing and better first touches overall.

        That said, I’m not sure what you expect, it’s not like those skills turn up overnight and things can look a lot worse against an opponent like Germany than against an opponent like Honduras or even Portugal which is considerably better but still not Germany.

        Nothing wrong with cheering for Argentina, I say go for whatever team you feel more connected too though. (Home team, home town isn’t automatically the most emotional connection especially if you don’t grow up with the sport).

        1. PS – You don’t know how painful it was for me to write that “nothing wrong” part as a Brazilian. But hey, I’m not the rabid irrational fan I used to be. Today I let people cheer for who they want and don’t get all up in their face… instead I trash talk them rationally once they pick the demonstrably incorrect team!

    2. I’m actually impressed with the way USA performed. They were in a tough group.

      Is this the first time USA make it to the 2nd round?

      1. It’s the first time they make it 2 tournaments in a row.

        Since their first modern WC in 1990 US was alternating first round elimination (1990, 1998, 2006) with knockout round play (1994, 2002, 2010).

        This year they beat Ghana and qualified for the knockout round for the second tournament in a row, breaking two significant streaks that alone should be enough reason to make US soccer fans proud.

        They probably have a tough match against Belgium next but it’s winnable.

          1. Belgium looks exactly as I expected them to look. Unimpressive in a group with teams they’ve never faced before. But enough talent to win over those teams since they’re also inexperienced.

            Europeans will be baffled at why some of the best players in some of the best leagues don’t somehow magically walk all over Algeria and South Korea rather than pay attention to the actual matches (with the exception of Michael Cox, Jonathan Wilson and a few other notable soccer writers).

            Cliché based prediction time:

            Now, it remains to be seen whether the US, with a lot more experience, can knock Belgium out. If the US were a team that showed tournament savvy I’d pick them in a heartbeat, as it is I don’t think I can trust them to knock Belgium out on experience and tournament savvy, it’ll have to be luck and heart :p

  3. Interesting to see Jerry slagging off the US play, when the BBC pundits are commenting that USA are playing pretty well.

    Reminds me of when I lived in Scotland for a few years. When you watch a Scotland game in England, with English commentators, they are nearly always positive about them, so I got a shock when watching Scotland games in Scotland with Scottish commentators who were vastly more critical of the team.

    BTW Ghana were awful and if Ronaldo had got his shooting boots on then Portugal could have overturned the GD and qualified ahead of USA.

    1. They were without two of their best players sent home & they STILL looked like they had the beating of Portugal. Ronaldo is injured & it has been a long season for him, what with Champions league & Spanish league…

  4. Germany is consistently one of the strongest international sides (Argentina,Brazil and Italy are the other top contenders imo).The USA have done well not to be annihilated and they are through to the last sixteen… Yes,Germany are better-they are better than almost everyone- but that doesn’t mean that the USA team is rubbish.

  5. Germany have decades of experience in punching above their weight, beginning spectecularly in 1954. They’d been there and doing acceptably per-WW2, but German footballing identity is founded on the “Miracle of Berne”.
    At the time, “The Mighty Magyars” were the team of the day, the first foreigners to beat England at Wembley. In the WC Final, Germany beat them to everyone’s utter surprise. They were someone, now.
    Overall, their national team setup has decades of success ingrained, and when the form took a dip around 2000, they brought in Klinsmann who in turn introduced some American ideas then somewhat new to football. Löw was in at that new beginning as the head coach, for Klinsmann lacked the formal training to qualify for the job – the same setup had worked nicely under Beckenbauer in 1990…
    The USA have been growing their role in world football for a decade or two, and I think nobody will write them off all that easily anymore now… but against Brazil, Italy or Germany, you will for a while yet be seen as playing uphill against decades of winning tradition without big dips. But you can beat them… sometimes.

    1. Fantastic comment. But Germany’s turnaround after the dip was more to do with a revamping of the coaching schemes and youth player development than any American ideas. As I understand it now, Germany (like Spain and France and other successful Euro nations) have legions of qualified coaches in the youth ranks, teach a technical style, and put a lot of pressure on the clubs to develop local talent. Everyone is pretty much on the same page, which is why those nations are like football talent factories.

      Contrast to England, where young players are poorly coached (“hoof it up the pitch son”) and find it difficult to make it at the big domestic clubs which are dominated by foreign imports.

      Or the US, where we have kids in “travel” or “select” soccer carted around to 1,000 games a year, coached by obsessive parents or ex-pros looking to make a buck. We have enough kids playing the sport, we just don’t develop the talent nearly well enough.

      1. There’s nothing wrong with hoofing it up the pitch in certain circumstances. Witness the number of goals conceded due to defenders trying to pass or dribble their way out of trouble instead of just clearing their lines.

        British teams have always accepted a higher chance of losing possession in exchange for a lower chance of losing possession close to their own goal.

        The big problem British teams tend to have is the lack of central defenders who are any good with the ball, so opponents know that when those are in possession they can just close down the other 8 players and wait for the central defender to hit it long.

        1. I’d say it’s less accepting a trade-off between losing possession overall and losing close to home than caving in, accepting and ingraining that their players aren’t good enough to keep possession anyway.
          If that happens even in youth football then yes, by the time they’ve grown up through the system, won’t be good enough to play much besides kick-and-rush. Unfortunately, that only ever worked for Wales with Ian receiving… 🙂

          1. Well, my argument is that *no* country’s players are good enough to keep possession consistently in such positions. Pundits and fans always seem to love it when players “calmly” run or pass the ball out of a difficult position, while ignoring the large number of cases when it doesn’t work and gives a goal away.

            E.g. if the Russian right back had just lumped it clear then they would still be in the tournament.

            (Of course a *policy* of lumping it clear will likely lead to more possession and hence chances for the opposition as well).

          2. It’s worked for Barcelona and Spain for a few years, and to some extent it still does. However, some others have figured out how to score against them in the 40% or so when they haven’t got possession, though.

          3. “Well, my argument is that *no* country’s players are good enough to keep possession consistently in such positions.”

            I think everyone realizes that there are times when just lumping the ball clear is the best option. But the problem with too many English players over the years is that this seems to be their ONLY option when they are under even a little bit of pressure.

            Remember this? It probably set back English football 20 years.


            Also, I don’t think that anyone is saying that teams should just maintain possession for its own sake. For example, I’ve read that Arsene Wenger in training sessions is constantly on his players to get the ball forward into dangerous positions as quickly as possible, via a quick succession of short, deft passes. It’s only when the direct routes are blocked that teams will string the ball around, looking for openings and making the oppostion chase shadows.

            Lesser players tend to just “hit the ball into channels” in those problem situations, as they are barely in control of the ball in first place and would probably lose it if they tried to do anything creative.

      2. The coaching was indeed improved in the early 2000s, but the basic infrastructure, the “Verein”-system of organisation has been around since forever, it’s how nearly all sports or similar activities are done in Germany.
        What Klinsmann did change and what I meant was establishing profesional-level fitness coaching, and a focus away from winning through fighting spirit and towards playing well. Never before his tenure did many neutrals cheer for Germany, rather the opposite. These days, it does happen…

  6. I thought the USA did fairly decent and they are also quite respected. I hope you guys advance a bit further, because that’d be good for Klinsmann, bad for Ann Coulter and a win for soccer.

    I like it that almost the whole world agrees on one sport. It makes it all feel a bit like a big family (even though I am not interested in soccer at all, outside of such major events). The olympic games somehow don’t bring that across.

        1. I imagine George Will and Coulter on a discussion on Fox. Coulter rambles on about the evils of kicking a ball instead of throwing or bouncing it, and Will nods approvingly and starts to wax poetically about the greatest sport ever invented, the one whose primary activities appear to be spitting and standing around scratching oneself. Oh, why can’t America be like it was in the 50s?

          Then, off camera, Will leers at Coulter in her short skirt and makes a sexist remark. Coulter is in shock, but before she can say anything, Will starts to lecture her about her coveted status…

        2. I read that, or something close to it, this morning too. I think Ann Coulter has officially become a caricature of herself.

  7. I’m pleased to note that the community of this site is not only well informed when it comes to science and religion but also on the (way more important?) subject of football/soccer.

  8. “We suck”…wow, harsh assessment! Germany are one of the top two or three sides in the world, and very technically adept, so it was expected that the US would have trouble with ball retention against them.

    Part of our problem with possession, at least in the offensive third, is that we don’t have Jozy right now. He was good at holding the ball up and bring others into the play. Clint is doing his best but he’s a lot better playing off the centerforward instead of leading the line.

    1. We really did kinda suck yesterday. I’m confident that the team will play better vs. Belgium on Tuesday.

  9. We have indeed come a long way as a soccer playing nation since hosting the cup in 1994, but we have a long way to go before we’re in the same class as Germany. The German’s almost always play a good possession game and it was, I believe, exacerbated yesterday by the fact that most of Germany’s players are on EPL, Bundesliga and La Liga clubs and most of the USMNT players are on MLS clubs. The MLS is an improving league, but it’s still nowhere near the EPL. The top European football leagues have such exceeding depth of talent and pace of play that they demand a style in which the first touch must be clean and decisive, no so much in the MLS. I think this was reflected in the match totals. 0 shots on net for the USMMNT. Perhaps better soccer awaits versus Belgium.

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