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Just The Sports: A Little Nitpicking

Just The Sports

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Little Nitpicking

After the US loss to Ghana, US goalkeeper Kasey Keller got off this quotable gem.

"We put ourselves into position to advance," said goalkeeper Kasey Keller. "Obviously we're disappointed with the decisions of the referee, but in the end, we didn't make the plays we needed to make. It's as simple as that."

Easy there, Keller. Let's not play revisionist history and hope no one finds out.

You did not put yourself in position to advance. Ghana put you in a position to advance when they won their match against Ghana, subsequently creating a wide-open race to see which two teams would advance from Group E to the knockout stages. They then beat the US, ending the US's World Cup aspirations, but that is not the issue at hand right now.

Czech Republic put you in a position to advance by putting two consecutive goose eggs on the board.

Italy probably did the most of anyone to help the US advance (including the US). First, the Azzurri were kind enough to score a goal for the US, essentially tying themselves, so the US would not have to. Second, they defeated the Czech Republic, holding up their end of the bargain under the simplest scenario for the US to advance.

Face it, Keller. The US played poorly in all three of their matches and caught as many lucky breaks as unlucky ones. Yes, they played better against the Italians, but the circumstances of that game were so different from any normal game that you have to be careful what conclusions you draw from their effort. Of course 9 players will play harder and with more "heart" when they are facing an opponent with 10 players, just like five people will each clap louder individually than one hundred people will clap individually.

The US were the chaff in the World Cup this year.


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