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world cup 2014
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.
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.
The undisciplined, unpredictable, mercurial, fascinating, intimidating, captivating Mario Balotelli is the kind of player who can turn football games into electrifying experiences. He leads Italy in a classic match-up between European powers.
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.
So, while Iraq falls apart and the United States considers a summer air campaign there, it’s time for the day’s third match, a free-wheeling affair between lowly but beer-swilling Australia and tightly disciplined Chile, whose spoiler capabilities should not be underestimated.
This is the treat of the day: a rematch between the 2010 World Cup finalists, a game Spain won 1-0 at the end of a violent and too often ugly game. Spain these days feels like Rodney Dangerfield in Brazil: it’s getting no respect despite its crushing record in the past eight years.
An evenly matched game between two formerly competitive teams that don’t have it this year, and barely qualified, which should make this a lot more fun than it deserves to be: in essence neither team has anything left to lose and can make a stepping stone of the other.
As an opening match Brazil-Croatia didn’t lack entertainment or tension, two of the absolute requisites of any football game, but it lacked skill and spontaneity, it absolutely lacked poetry and justice.