Will it be "Stop" or will it be "Go"? The US boys are a formidable opponent, especially in the present context, when an American victory will send the German team home.
There are no two ways about it: Germany is the favourite. In the end, however, marginal issues may decide the contest. Marshaling their capabilities on a good day, strong-willed America is perfectly capable of chucking Germany out of the tournament.
Sensationally, Spain (the reigning world champion), England, and Italy are already gone.
To think, in my youth, American soccer was a laughing stock.
I hope, the base of top teams at a soccer world championships continues to broaden, as it seems to this year in Brazil with surprisingly strong performances by teams like Costa Rica, Columbia, or Chile.
However, "don't be beastly to the Germans" (see below), let us be good enough to win eventually.
In the space of six days last week, the U.S. soccer team became a national sporting phenomenon, with audiences eclipsing the viewership of the NBA Finals (15.5 million), the World Series (14.9 million), and the Stanley Cup (some guy named René).
For the first U.S. game at the World Cup, nearly 15 million television viewers (11 million on ESPN; 3.8 million on Univision) and 1.5 million workplace skyvers (watching online) tuned in to see the USA beat Ghana with an exhilarating early goal, some unhealthy filling, and a spectacular late winner. For the second game, those numbers rose to 24.7 million television viewers (18.2 million on ESPN; 6.5 million on Univision) and 500,000 surfers, as the USA bossed their way back from a dire early goal to score twice against Portugal before coughing up a crushing last-second equalizer.
On Thursday, the USA faces Germany in a match that will decide America’s fate — and America expects that every viewer will do their duty. On the east coast, the noontime kick-off may demand a long, liquid lunch. On the west coast, “morning traffic” could conspire to create a late start to the day. In Chicago, we like soccer, and 20,000 people have been watching the games in Grant Park, so no excuse is necessary. The Sunday-night timing of the Portugal match likely contributed much to its record-breaking numbers, but if television ratings for the German match don’t rise again, online numbers surely will. Especially considering office internet speeds and WatchESPN’s picture-in-picture feature that allows viewers to follow both games at once.