The dream is over for the Stars & Stripes at the the Arena Fonte Nova in S SALVADOR as BELGIUM squeaked through 2-1 in extra time to the last 8 and a date with ARGENTINA in BRASILIA on Sunday.
It was a great match along with many, many great matches since June 12th at the BEST WORLD CUP EVER. The outstanding team??? Well, in my humble opinion there isn't one... nobody that is a favourite to lift the cup at Estadio Maracana. We have all first round group winners advancing, with 4 from Europe, three from South America and one from Central America. With such a lengthy and gruelling 32 team tournament with many extra time and penalty deciders, fitness, injuries and a strong bench will help decide who goes all the way.
WHAT SPORTMANSHIP as well. Jurgen Klinsmann and Mats Wilmots respected each other and so did the players and the fans. Jurgen had said pre-match that he was disappointed that the referee Djamel Haimoudi was from Algeria, but he had a very good match and kept it flowing when he could. Many stoppages were due to injury and exhaustion. TIM HOWARD WAS WORLD CLASS and was hugged by Belgian players including former Everton team mate Romelu Lukaku at the end.
FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA : From the White House to Soldier Field, Chicago, Cowboys Stadium in Texas, Hollywood homes of the rich and famous, Bryant Park in New York City, outside City Hall in Boston and the FAN ZONE on Copacabana Beach. America took to this team and this event LIKE NEVER BEFORE. More players than any other country, twice as many registered referees as any other FIFA member, more and better multi-field lighted complexes and MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER (MLS) that grows in stature BUT,- more importantly- a supporting minor league pyramid that has been lacking until recent times. AMERICA WANTED TO BE FIRST ON THE MOON AND FIRST IN THE WORLD GAME !
ONE MORE THING !!! It's time for FIFA TO MOVE THE 2022 WORLD CUP FROM A CALIPHATE TO USA. The stadiums are already built, the fans are amazing and there are more Arabs in America than in QATAR--- ALL enjoying the benefits of DEMOCRACY !! Show me a video of fans watching the World Cup in downtown Doha this week.