The World Cup Weekend

A picture is worth a thousand words isn't it? Die-hard U.S. fan that I am, it took me nearly an entire day to recover from Saturday's 1-1 draw with England. A friend of mine from back home in Michigan sent the above photo of England "advisor" David Beckham's disgusted look following "The Big Green Gaffe" in the game's 40th minute.  

That mistake aside, the result was fair....How many U.S. fans had flashbacks to the Czech Republic four years ago when Gerrard broke through in the 4th minute? The greatest fear with this team is that they don't play well from behind -- especially against teams with the strength that England brings to the field. Kudos to Bob Bradley's men for moving on from that goal immediately, picking the right moments to move forward while still containing a dangerous England attack....

Before I move on to the weekend's other matches, please be sure to check out Fire matchday volunteer and current Fire World Cup correspondent Curtis White's (first row center in photo)Blog from South Africa as he follows the U.S. team around the Republic...

Taking the one point from the England match was enough. The performance -- not spectacular, but sufficient. Colonial cousins now out of the way, the time for earning three points comes Friday with surprising group leaders Slovenia, who downed Algeria 1-0 yesterday for that nation's first-ever World Cup victory. The desired result from both the United States and England's perspective was a 0-0 draw and it looked close to happening until Algeria's Abdelkader Ghezzal was sent off for a second yellow card after an intentional hand ball in the Slovenia penalty area.

Playing a man down, Slovenia were able to push forward and Robert Koren's 79th minute strike had just a tad more skill behind it then Clint Dempsey's lucky hit the day before, as Algerian keeper Faouzi Chaouchi made a mess of the skipping ball.

For Slovenia, the result keeps their hopes of advancement high, while Algeria will have to face an England team reeling after their disappointing 1-1 draw on Saturday... For both the United States and England, all you have to do is win to advance -- neither team should complicate things for themselves by dropping points to two decidedly weaker sides.

In Group D, Serbia's 1-0 loss to Ghana has probably messed up my World Cup bracket a bit.. Playing better for long stretches of the match, another hand ball undid a side yesterday when Aleksandar Lukovic's hand announced itself in the 74th minute. The result: Lukovic's second yellow card and a sending off and the first penalty of the tournament was converted by Ghanaian midfielder Asamoah Gyan. The strike made Ghana the first African team to win a World Cup match on African soil and put them in poll position to advance out of the group with Germany....

....Yes Germany. So many derided this German team's chances coming into the tournament but Deutschland made their presence known yesterday night with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Australia. Miroslav Klose, a World Cup fixture for Germany scored his 11th career goal in the tournament, putting him within range of the all-time record of 15 set by Brazilian Ronaldo just four years ago. The Germans have scored a combined 20 goals in World Cup openers, conceding only two since downing the United States in France '98 and it certainly seems they'll be a handful again in this tournament.

On the flip side, Australia looked just as dire as they did in their friendly a week before against the United States. Things look pretty bad for the Socceroos who will need to bounce back against Ghana on Saturday without Tim Cahill, suspended because of a red card picked up in the 56th minute of the Germany match.

I'll check back in later today to wrap up Holland-Denmark (already finished), Cameroon-Japan (in progress) and the big one, Italy-Paraguay (this afternoon).

Happy viewing!