Everyone that is following the 2006 World Cup knows that the United States is in trouble. After losing 3-0 to the Czech Republic in the opening game, the Americans are essentially in a must-win situation. While Ghana's huge 2-0 upset of the Czech Republic in earlier Group E action means that the United States can't be eliminated today, a win would certainly improve their chances of advancing. Bruce Arena has already made two lineup changes for the game with Italy - removing DaMarcus Beasley and Eddie Lewis and placing Carlos Bocanegra and Clint Dempsey in the starting lineup.
So with this afternoon's game against Italy as the United States' most important game to this point, Gothamist is going to try our hand at liveblogging all 90+ minutes of the game. But to spice up the action a little bit, we're going to do our own little tribute to both nations. For each goal that Italy scores, Gothamist is going to eat a piece of a tasty looking pepperoni pizza. And for each goal the United States scores, we're going to quickly drink a nice cold beer. Because when it comes to stereotypes, pizza=Italian and beer=American.
As we haven't eaten lunch yet, we're starting the game by spotting the Italians
one slice two slices. With the way the US played in their first game, we'll have no pizza left and lots of beer left at the end of today.
Pregame: They color man for the game is Marcelo Balboa, who's still wearing that long-ass hair when he used to play soccer. Can't he take a lesson from his fellow ABC employee, Alexi Lalas, who trimmed his signature locks? The suit plus stoner hair just doesn't work well together for us. The music they played for the teams entering the stadium was just odd. Funny, the Italian National Anthem sounds exactly like we thought it would. Ack! Italian man in tight underwear!! Eyes! OUR PRECIOUS EYES!!
It's funny, watching the contrast between the American players and the Italians during their respective national anthems. All the Italians were singing very proudly, the Americans were a mixed bunch and those that were singing weren't all that enthusiastic. Certainly not as enthusiastic as the loud American crowd on hand. Will this give the US the advantage they need to win? We'll see.
90:00 - And we're off. Can they make the opening kicks more interesting and exciting? Maybe a competition to see has the fanciest soccer trick?
88:52 - There just aren't enough chants that American fans can do. All we've got is "USA, USA" - that just doesn't compare to some of the other, more soccer loving nations. Can we get some "Ole, Ole, Ole" action going?
85:26 - A yellow card! Dempsey draws a yellow card on Italy's Totti.
81:30 - Oguchi Onyewu picks up another foul. He's just so tall, something we noticed when we talked to him, that he's just picking up fouls. Of course, he's using his hands too. They're just so anti-hand in soccer.
74:30 - Free kick (cover your nuts!) results in some nice chances for the US. At least they aren't losing yet this far into the game. As an aside, it's kind of hard doing the traditional time that is used around the world when the clock on ABC is counting up. Damn Americanization of football!
72:10 - So why wasn't Clint Dempsey playing in the first game? The man is making things happen. Making things happen, we say!
69:45 - Eddie Pope hit with a yellow card. American fans respond with chants of "bullshit!" Ahh, some things are good at home and abroad.
77:16 - Goal! Italy. Gilardino celebrates by playing his violin. Or perhaps a viola? What's that stat on teams that score the first goal going on to win the game again? Tell us, ABC, tell us! It was something ridiculous like 27-7-2. Well, the US is apparently 0-14-1 when their opponent scores first.
63:10 - Italy scores again! Except in their own goal! Oops!! Beer time! Good, we're thirsty. Or is it another slice of pizza?
62:15 - Holy shit! Red card!!! Advantage USA! This could be huge for the chances of advancing. Brian McBride is bleeding from the De Rossi elbow to the head.
59:30 - Nice shot of McBride for the ladies. Gothamist also has washboard abs like that. Nice, round washboard.
55:00 - The Snarling Dog (Gennaro Gattuso) is in for Italy, who took Totti out. Gothamist's stomach feels a little like a snarling dog right now.
50:00 - Five minutes left in the half. Those five minutes can't end fast enough! It's time for a pee break!
46:00 - Oh shit. Back to even for Italy and the United States. Mastroeni is hit with a red card for a tackle. Balboa thinks it's a makeup call for Italy's red card.
Halftime - Why did ABC just say that 10 men are walking off the pitch for each team. I see lots of players walking off. Jackasses. No need to attempt drama and use inaccuracy. A 1-1 tie is somewhat of a moral victory for the United States, no? Then again, moral victories are useless in the World Cup. Just like that #5 ranking the Americans came in with.
Those Gatorade ads with "Take Me Out to The Ballgame" as a backdrop for soccer action are quite good, aren't they?
44:00 - Crap! Eddie Pope is out of the game. After drawing a yellow card earlier in the game, Pope drew another card, leaving the Americans with only 9 players for the rest of the game. Good thing we have lots of pizza left.
39:15 - Ha! Did that ball just hit the medical staff? You almost question whether or not they are really needed. They should just get fake doctors and trainers as it seems most injuries on the pitch are just acting jobs.
33:00 - Ho hum. We're a little full. And a little bored. It's time for a nap. Stupid liveblogging! Now we're killing time by watching Clint Dempsey's first attempt at freestyling. We shouldn't make fun though, as Gothamist really isn't any good at freestyle rap.
29:00 - Italy has used all its subs. Dempsey is out of the game. Beasley is back into the game despite his performance in the US loss the Czech Republic.
25:33 - Goal! No. Not so fast my friend. Brian McBride was way offsides on Beasley's shot, negating what looked like the go ahead goal. Did Arena just say, "Son of a fucking bitch!" because that's what it looked like. Damn no-Tivo TV.
20:15 - More card action. Gothamist has always wanted a yellow and red card. We could walk around the streets of New York, giving uncalled for cards or deserved cards to people on the streets. Walking five abreast in the street? Yellow card. Clipping your nails on the subway? Red card and ejection from the system. Driving while on your cell phone? Red card, loss of phone for 1 day. We're pretty sure if we did this, we would get a swift punch to the face.
17:45 - Nice save old man Keller! He's a soccer player after our own heart. He's shaped just like us. We just have longer hair and a much shorter body.
6:00 - Can the United States hold on for the tie? It looks like everyone is beat and the game could end in a tie. It would certainly be a good result considering the American team's history against European teams and their one man disadvantage.
3:40 - It's looking slightly dangerous for the United States. Italy constantly has the ball in their end. It would be crushing if they allowed a goal right now (we like to point out the obvious).
2:00 - Two minutes left. Too many corner kicks. How much injury time will there be?
Injury time - They've decided on 3 minutes of injury time.
Final - United States 1, Italy 1. Pizza 3 (including 2 slices pre-game), Beer 1. There's that music in the stadium again. With such a low scoring game, which is really to be expected, Gothamist has a lot of pizza and beer left. Looks like pizza and beer is for dinner.
The United States is not yet eliminated with the tie, but they also don't control their own destiny. To move on to the next round the Americans need a victory against Ghana on Thursday and help from Italy. If Italy defeats the Czech Republic and defeats Ghana, the US can advance. If that happens, the US will move onto the round of 16 to face...Brazil, where they would face all but certain elimination. If Italy and the Czechs tie, then it will come down to goal differential, which the US is way behind in.
If Ghana plays the US like they did the Czechs, then the Americans will have their hands very, very full. No matter what, it should be a great game. We hope the United States can pull it out, because who wants to see the team eliminated so early.
Finally, because we're thirsty and just so damn proud to be an Americans (not proud enough to sing Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" though), we'll do what our fellow countrymen do best. No, not go out and play soccer. We'll drink another beer for our American homies who were unfairly slapped with red cards. It should be noted that our parent's cat found the 2nd half so boring that she slept for its entirety. Lazy cat.
For good measure, we'll probably add another slice of pizza too. We're international like that.