Palm Coast’s Reilly Opelka turned 18 today as he prepared for the U.S. Open, where he qualified for the doubles draw and will play in the Juniors tournament next week, but fell in qualifiers for the men’s draw.
World Cup 2014
A US win over Belgium is a spot in the quarterfinals of the World Cup for the first time since 2002, but Belgium is fielding the strongest team in its history, stronger than both Ghana and Portugal. There will be goals.
Brazil have not been performing as a World Cup-winning team. They’ve been playing like the scattered parts of a Swiss watch, and some of them have yet to be wound up. Now they face a Chilean team that could give them nightmares.
There are numerous ways for the Americans to advance to the next round, but only two ways to guarantee it: a win or a tie against Germany, which happen to be the hardest and second-hardest results to achieve. That may leave the American fate yet again in Ghana’s hands.
FlaglerLive’s Ezra Salkin braved the brawn and brash of Palm Coast’s emerging soccer–sorry, football–culture and reports on his close encounters with fandom in two of the city’s most football-fevered spots.
Uruguay’s Luis Suárez bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini moments before Uruguay took a 1-0 win into the next round. It’s Suárez’s third recorded biting incident on top of other repulsive acts on the field. Time to ban the little chomp of horrors.
Beating Ghana was thrilling, but only beating Portugal will prove that the Americans are serious about their World Cup campaign. Against whiny, brilliant Cristiano Ronaldo, and without Jozy Altidore, the Americans may have a crucifying 90 minutes in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.
Both Team USA and Ghana return to the World Cup with revenge on their mind–the US for losing to Ghana in a terrifically fought round-of-16 match four years ago, and Ghana for being unjustly eliminated by the cheating hand of Uruguay’s Luis Suarez in the quarterfinal. It should be a high-energy, dazzling match as long as both teams display the verve they have, but don;t always produce.
French national football has been a comedy of errors and disgrace since the team got clobbered in South Africa four years ago, and self-imploded with acrimony and racist issues. A much calmer, gentler team heads to Brazil, with higher hopes.
The World Cup is as close as it comes to a religious experience for many of us–despite the sport’s corruption, match fixing scandals and ubiquitous racism among fans, in Europe especially. But it’s not for nothing that they call i the Beautiful Game. Try it. You might be reborn.