World Cup 2014. USA 1 - Belgium 2
1 July 2014, 4:00 pm. Governors Island Beach Club, Manhattan
“True champions aren’t always the ones that win, but those with the most guts.” - Mia Hamm
The USA found itself within this World Cup’s “Group of Death” and were supposedly doomed from the start. However, exactly thirty seconds into the must-win first game against Ghana, the African power that knocked us out both in 2006 and 2010, Clint Dempsey silenced all the critics, cynics, and skeptics with a brilliant individual run and left-foot finish. Thus, a new script was immediately written for the USA’s chances in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Americans, whether 5th generation or recently immigrated, were most likely raised on soccer in one form or the other. It is an ingrained sport within our culture despite our viewing of the global game not usually stacking up to our seasonal three course meal of football, basketball, and baseball.
This is changing, however. We can pontificate on those reasons for hours, but for now, it was an incredible experience the last few weeks to watch a great group of Americans play their hearts out— gaining new fans and unlikely plaudits along the way— even if it was largely our grit, guts, and work rate that, again, carried us to the round of 16.
The Governors Island Beach Club served as an excellent and quintessentially American venue— complete with beers, burgers, and the beach— to cheer on the Yanks in the knockout stages. From our seats we had the lower Manhattan skyline in view and this location served as an impressive backdrop as we watched the red, white, and blue take the field for Tuesday’s match-up against Belgium.
From the outset, the US was put on their back toes. Tim Howard proved himself to be world class, putting in one of the best goalkeeping performances in modern World Cup history, making a record-breaking 16 saves.
The Yanks continued to fight on even after two deflating extra time goals were scored by Belgium’s De Bruyne and Lukaku. Against all odds, a heroic comeback effort was kick-started shortly thereafter. In the 104th minute, 19-year-old substitute Julian Greene expertly scored a fantastic goal with his very first touch of the Cup, signalling a bright senior career and giving millions of American fans hope for the future.
See you in four.