Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

July 1, 2014

World Cup: USA battles to the end in 2-1 extra time loss to Belgium

SALVADOR, Brazil — They captured the eyes and hearts of a suddenly awakened soccer nation, who gathered in unprecedented numbers to watch the world's game.

But the end of the ride came at the exact same point as four years ago: with a loss in extra time in the World Cup's round of 16.

Kevin De Bruyne finally beat goalkeeper Tim Howard in the third minute of extra time, Romelu Lukaku scored 12 minutes later to give Belgium a two-goal lead, and the Red Devils hung on for a 2-1 victory Tuesday.

"It's heartbreaking," Howard said. "I don't think we could have given it more."

Before exiting, the U.S. showed the spunk that captured America's attention. Julian Green, at 19 the youngest player on the U.S. roster, stuck out his right foot to volley in Michael Bradley's pass over the defense in the 107th minute, two minutes after entering the game.

They nearly tied it up in the 114th, when Clint Dempsey peeled off the ball and was stopped point-blank by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois after being fed by Bradley on a free kick.

But it wasn't enough, and U.S. players fell to the field at the final whistle in their all-white uniforms like so many crumpled tissues.

"I think they made their country proud with this performance," coach Jurgen Klinsmann said.

The Americans advanced from a difficult first-round group that included Germany, Portugal and Ghana to reach the knockout rounds of consecutive World Cups for the first time. Four years ago, they were eliminated in South Africa by Ghana 1-0 on a goal in the third minute of extra time.

Fans who had made the trek south of the equator chanting "I believe that we will win!" could hardly believe they lost, extending a World Cup winless streak against European nations to nine games over 12 years.

The crowd of 51,227 at Arena Fonte Nova appeared to be about one third pro-U.S., with 10 percent backing the Belgians and the rest neutral. Back home, millions watched across the United States in offices, homes and public gatherings that includes a huge crowd in Chicago's Soldier Field.

"There's a lot to build on going forward," Klinsmann said.

At some large financial firms in Manhattan, 70-inch screens were brought in for employees to watch. President Barack Obama joined about 200 staffers in an Executive Office Building auditorium to watch the second half.

"I believe!" he exclaimed as he walked in at the front of the hall. "I believe!"

That sparked a chorus of the chant, and as Obama took a front-row seat, he said sheepishly: "I was worried that if I walked in and Belgium scored, I'd get in trouble."

Howard, playing the finest game of his career, stopped a dozen shots with his legs and arms to keep the Americans even through regulation and force an additional 30 minutes. He wound up with 16 saves.

In its first World Cup under Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. had promised to play attacking soccer. But once again the Americans had trouble maintaining possession and for much of the night it seemed as if the field were tilted.

Howard, at 35 one of the American veterans, kept saving his team.

But when Matt Besler lost his balance on an attack down the right, Lukaku sped in alone and crossed in front of the goal. The ball rebounded off defender Omar Gonzalez, and De Bruyne controlled it, spun and beat Howard just over his right foot.

Then with the U.S. pushing for an equalizer, De Bruyne burst ahead and fed Lukaku. He slotted the ball past Howard, his Everton teammate, seeming to put the Red Devils out of reach.

But Green, among five German-Americans on the U.S. roster and a surprise pick, woke up the team and its fans with his first touch of the game, setting off raucous chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" But there would be no final comeback this time.

"You get to this point and these games are always about a play here and play there," Bradley said.

Chris Wondolowski had a chance to win it in stoppage time when Jermaine Jones flicked the ball to him at the top of the 6-yard box, but with Courtois coming out Wondolowski put the ball over the crossbar.

"The dream falls short, but this is an incredible group," Howard said, "and we'll never forget this night."

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • 7-31-14 Jae.jpg GC Volleyball Summer Tour: Frost set for a big season

    Everybody's back at Frost.
    Yes, everybody.
    “This will probably never happen again,'' said Frost volleyball Coach Elaine Woods, who returns every player from last year's team.
    They are not only back, but they are talented — arguably the most talented group of volleyball players in Frost history.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-30-14 Davis.jpg Former Cowboy Keith Davis delivers motivational speech

    Keith Davis believes in dreams.
    He lived his.
    That was one of the messages Davis, a former Dallas Cowboys safety, delivered to a standing-room-only crowd of youngsters Tuesday at the Boys & Girls Club, where he spoke with enthusiasm and energy about life inside and outside of the NFL.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-30 web Wortham TTBA picture.jpg TTBB: Wortham takes second at state tournament

    The Wortham Bulldogs made an impressive run at the Texas Teenage Baseball Association High School Eligible State Tournament in Buffalo and took second in the state.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29-14 tiger sharks.jpg Tiger Sharks make splash at state meet

    There are leaps and bounds, and then there's what the Corsicana YMCA Tiger Sharks did over the weekend at the Lone Star state swimming meet in Frisco.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-27 Shimonek all-star.jpg Mildred's Shimonek transferring from Iowa, will walk on at Texas Tech

    Former Mildred quarterback and Golden Circle Del Thrash Player of the Year Nic Shimonek is leaving the University of Iowa after one red-shirt year and transferring to Texas Tech because of Iowa's pro-style offense.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • GC Baseball/Softball: Mildred names Zamzow new baseball coach; AD Chambliess to coach softball again

         The Mildred Eagles didn’t have to go far to find a new baseball coach to replace Aaron Tidwell, who left the diamond to take the job as the principal of Mildred High School.
        On Saturday, Mildred named softball coach Brett Zamzow its new baseball coach as Zamzow, who was Tidwell's assistant for five years,  moves back to baseball after spending a year coaching softball.
        To complete the move Mildred Athletic Director Billy Dan Chambliess will take over the softball team. Chambliess, who is the head football coach, spent fours years coaching softball before becoming the school’s AD last year. All four of his teams won district titles.
     

    July 26, 2014

  • RON MORGAN.jpg Morgan; Remembering House and a better era

    The Cowboys started training camp the same week that Robert Newhouse died.
    In a way, that’s very unfortunate for Jerry. Thinking back to the “Human Bowling Ball” and the teams of that era might lead to the inevitable comparisons to today’s product on the field.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • weights.jpg GC Football: Blooming Grove's Williams expects to win

    His father was a head coach for years at Pecos High and his brother-in-law is the head football coach at DeSoto, but Lawrence Williams Jr., a man who loves coaching football, never had any ideas about being the head man.
    “I love coaching,'' said Williams as he sat at his desk in Blooming Grove, where he became the Lions' head coach this summer. “I just never thought about being the head coach and I never applied to be a head coach. With this job I can still coach.''

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kevin Reese mug.jpg Outdoors: Kevin Reese: Summer time means summer tracking

    With only two months before opening day of archery season you should already have your bow maintenance complete, be shooting daily and chomping at the bit for our favorite day to arrive!
    Let’s face it, few animals turn our rotors like whitetail deer.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • All-State Baseball: Corsicana's Harlan and Wolver honored on TSWA/Collin Street Bakery 4A All-State Baseball team

    Corsicana junior Brady Harlan and sophomore Layton Wolver were honored on the Texas Sports Writers Association/Collin Street Bakery Class 4A All-State Baseball team that was announced Tuesday night.

    July 22, 2014