Thursday, June 22, 2006

If Ghana beats the United States, their dream will explode to new limits. If America beats Ghana, the American dream needs help from Italy. The United States needs Italy to beat the Czech Republic in the shadow match, to finish second of group E, and qualify for round two.
Loaded with anticipation, the Americans open cautiously.
Ghana is greedier when they obtain the ball and test the defense. America concedes an early free kick, which Ghana blasts meters over the crossbar.
Minutes later, Ghana is more creative. A player for Ghana lobs the ball to a running striker. He ran too early, the linesman raises his flag for offside, this time.
Twelve minutes into the game, the Americans are tenaciousness. An American striker tries to punish Ghana for playing the ball back to the keeper, killing time. He spurts after the ball, and reaches an incredible speed. He loses the race to the ball, with the keeper of Ghana, by a fraction of a second. However, the Americans show their skills, they are excellent athletes.
"Ghana doesn't look as the same team when they played the Czech Republic," says the commentator.
I can hear the dream in his voice.
A player from Ghana delivers a knock out punch to that dream. In the twenty-second minute, he approaches an American defender who has the ball. He rubs the ball out of the American defenders feet, creating a golden opportunity. The personal disaster of the American defender is sealed with blood when the steal turns into a goal.


The Americans seem to choke, until the news from the shadow match revives their hopes, and fires up their dream. The Italians are beating the Czechs.
"This is developing beautiful," says the commentator, while the Americans bring the ball forward in rugby formation. The ball is passed along an orbit in front of the storming defense of Ghana. The last American in line gets twitchy and passes the ball backwards, killing the momentum.
Minutes before halftime, the Americans repeat the play. This time the last man fires on target. The keeper is frozen on his line, too late to react. Only his head is able to follow the ball into the net.


"The United States finally score a goal of their own making," shouts the commentator.
The American fans erupt, this could be the next blockbuster movie.
In stoppage time, the American dream is fondled. An American defender pushes a striker of Ghana down, conceding a penalty.
The dream is broken, straight after it got fixed. The keeper dives to the wrong corner.


In the start of the second half, Ghana seems to have dissected the American tactics and slow the game down.
The United States create chances but fail to have the right aim.
Ghana's aim is on target when they fire from thirty meters in the fifty-fourth minute. However the American's keeper reflexes are also on target, and he makes a long dive to the right corner to tap the ball out of danger.
America charges, while Ghana defends deep. The United States collide with more misfortune when an American striker dives through two defenders towards the ball. The wood cracks, when he heads the ball of the post.
The Americans strike until the end whistle, fighting a lost battle.
America lost the dream to Ghana, where the whole country got half the day off to see the game. I do not think many people will make it back to work.


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