I am, of course, talking about this: Brazil 4-3 Egypt. What the hell?
I can appreciate that Egypt is an underrated team, especially by me. I had them firmly in the underdog category a couple of days ago. But they played well today. They bounced back agaisnt one of the best teams in the world. And they scored 3 goals! Take a look, New Zealand: that is how you go about challenging a top team. It took a Kaká PK to finally seal the deal. The United States should be very, very afraid and probably wishing they had a time machine to go back and be drawn into Group A.
Side note: Brazil and Egypt have two of the plainest kits I’ve ever seen. Although Egypt has, hands down, the best team nickname: The Pharaohs.
And then, of course, there’s the WTF feeling the US must be having after losing 3-1 to Italy. After having Ricardo Clark red carded (I thought he deserved a yellow, but not a straight red) and going down to 10 men (seriously, will the US ever field a full 11-man squad versus Italy?), Landycakes scored on a PK to put them up 1-0. Everything was fine until Giuseppe Rossi showed up. He proceeded to score not once but twice. The first, it must be said, was spectacular.
One of my goals this week is to try to gauge exactly how good the United States is. I think, at number 14 in the FIFA rankings, they might be a tad overrated. Then again, they could just be going through a rough bit of form. They were lethargic against Italy until Clark got red carded; then Landycakes turned it on played like a man possessed. That’s two straight world-class performances for him, for those of you keeping track at home.
Bob Bradley’s tactics were acceptable, though they could have been better. Charlie Davies is overrated by the US hierarchy and should not have been subbed in for Jozy Altidor. What he should have done was put in another defender – perhaps someone to play a sweeper role – or a defensive midfielder. Benny Feilhaber and Michael Bradley provided nice offensive options at times but once the lead was their and they were down to 10 men, defense becomes the priority. I’m not saying they should have collapsed into a shell because that puts too much pressure on the keeper.
Hopefully the lesson was learned for what looks like two difficult encounters coming up.