With Germany being the third team the U.S. Men’s National Team is scheduled to play during the group stage of the 2014 World Cup, any hopes of the Americans advancing to the knockout stage could come down to getting a positive result against the Germans. On the surface, that would seem like a difficult task for the U.S., but the Americans are owed some karma against Germany, and the soccer gods may use this match to give it to them, which could help give the Americans the result they need to advance.
To understand why the U.S. is owed karma against the Germans, let’s revisit the last time these two nations met in a World Cup, which was during a quarterfinal match at the 2002 World Cup. To the world’s surprise, the Americans outplayed the Germans in the match. They had 58% of the possession, they out shot the Germans 11 to six, and they had six shots on goal while Germany had just two.
However, the Germans won the match 1-0 on a 39th minute goal from Michael Ballack. Everyone who saw the match, including the German media, agreed that the better team did not advance. Nevertheless, the Americans went home while the German team moved on and ultimately lost in the final match of the tournament to Brazil. So where does karma enter the equation?
Well, in the 50th minute, the Americans were millimeters away from tying the game, but the arm of a German defender prevented the ball from crossing the goal line on a shot by American Gregg Berhalter in what is arguably the most egregious missed hand-ball call in World Cup history. There’s no doubt that the U.S. would have scored if not for the arm of the German defender, and because they were denied that goal, they should have received a penalty kick, which the match official did not award to them.
If the Americans were awarded a penalty kick, as they should have been, there’s no guarantee they would have converted, and obviously there’s no way of knowing how the match would have ended if the U.S. had tied the game at that point in the match. However, the Americans were robbed of a goal, and because of it they lost a match they deserved to win. For that, the U.S. is owed some karma against Germany, and June 26 may be the date that the soccer gods return that karma to the Americans, 12 years after it was stolen from them.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.
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