Please be forewarned: the following recap and analysis of the USA-Ghana match was seen only through Yahoo! Sports's MatchCast. I've yet to see a frame of video.
But the United States, thanks to a 2-1 loss against Ghana, will be leaving Germany early when just 64 years ago we were the ones who arrived to Germany late.
And too bad — the game the Americans couldn't control went the in favor of the red, white, and blue. Italy beat up a tired Czech Republic team 2-0 to win the group, so had the USA won they would have finished second in the pool and moved on to play Brazil.
From what I've read, it sounded like Team USA really played hard. They had three shots on goal, increasing their 2006 Cup total to ... four. They actually scored a goal with their own feet (whoa!) when Clint Dempsey drove home a pass from DeMarcus Beasley, tying the game at 1-1.
But USA's undoing was in the first half's stoppage play — a mere four minutes after USA tied the game — when USA defender Oguchi Onyewu fouled Ghana captain
Dwyane Wade Stephen Appiah, giving Appiah a penalty shot and burying it in the USA net.
Yes, it was questionable. Ludicrous. A friggin' conspiracy, man. But suppose there was no foul and no penalty kick. The final score would have still been 1-1. A tie would still have advanced Ghana into the second round. The Americans would still have been knocked out from the pool. And we'd still be outraged somehow.
Then look at the entire range of fouls. Ghana had 32 fouls to USA's 16. Ghana also received four yellow cards to USA's one.
Again, I didn't witness a nanosecond of streaming video. But with all the must-win mentality surrounding USA's players and fans, we forgot Ghana was also in that same frame of mind. And we can't pin all, most, or even some of the blame on the refs. Ghana just played better.