After today's World Cup match between Team USA and Algeria, I'm sure all the Americans who watched had little left on their fingernails.
In a tight, well-played match from the opening minute, both Algeria and USA had very, very close chances on net. In the sixth minute, Algerian striker Rafik Djebbour rang a shot off the crossbar. In the 37th minute, speedy American forward Jozy Altidore faced an almost empty net and put the ball over the bar.
The second half was even more intense, with both sides missing close chances. The seconds kept ticking away for both Algeria and Team USA's World Cup hopes. Then, in the 91st minute, a scene unfolded that was as classic an American sports moment as any.
Landon Donovan came gliding into the box, picked up a rebound and put the ball into the back of the net, securing a near-sure victory for USA with two minutes left to play.
What's so special about this moment for the Americans is not the goal, or how they finished first in the group, but rather the tenacity they showed throughout the tournament.
Down two goals against Slovenia in its preceding game, America fought back to score three goals, the last of which was unjustly disallowed. In a must-win situation today, the Americans fought hard for every shot, every ball, and didn't allow the Algerians any easy chances near their net.
In a World Cup that has seen top teams fall and historic soccer nations act like children, Team USA led by example. The Americans showed how the game should be played.
Now that they have won Group C and are looking ahead to a match against the runner-up from Group D, the Americans have their hopes set on a deep tournament run. You shouldn't count them out, either. They're disciplined, well-trained, and they never give up.
Whichever team comes up next for the USA will have to be wary and not underestimate the Americans. As we've seen before, history repeats itself and this tournament could be just like another world competition from Lake Placid in 1980.
Watch out world, here comes Team USA!
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