A running commentary on USA’s World Cup match vs. Belgium
The world runneth over Soccer, World Cup, United States vs. Belgium, and a former Chico State footballer (Chris “Wondo” Wondolowski) on the team!? That’s more than enough potential drama to warrant Arts DEVO taking his “work” home on Tuesday to bring you this running commentary (entries marked with ascending game-clock time):
2:00: The score is tied at zero and the temperature is 100 in the parking lot as I stare at ESPN.com on my phone and wait for my carne asada burrito.
9:15: The burrito, poodle and I are soccering. Score: still 0-0.
22:10: Game notes: U.S. is really shaky but energetic on offense and totally stacked on defense … and Belgium’s no. 7, Kevin De Bruyne, looks like Prince Harry or Scut Farkus from A Christmas Story (“He had yellow eyes!”). I am so nervous.
23:00 Oh shit! Scut Farkus nearly killed us. Now I’m really nervous.
25:04: Oh shit! Scut Farkus’ crummy little toadie, Axel Witsel, nearly killed us. Crap.
25:05: English announcer Ian Darke completely sucks the air out of the ball with his no-nonsense lilt: “That was one of two ominous signs. The pressure is growing.” I don’t know if I can bear it.
40:50: We have the ball! Wait, no we don’t.
Halftime. Score: 0-0. Why does it feel like Belgium has four goals?
45:01: Cautiously optimistic, I think.
47:00: Another save by U.S. goalie Tim Howard! God bless those comically oversized mitts.
52:10: From my notes: “Every moment feels like Belgium is on the verge of another attack.” My heart is just going to stop beating for awhile.
52:38: Darke: “We’re told Toby Alderweireld has a tattoo of Antwerp Cathedral on his person.”
59:55: Belgium’s missed 11 shots on goal. Running out of gas?
63:56: Darke shouts that maybe the “U.S. is playing the long game here!?” I laugh out loud, and tell myself, “Yes, of course they are.”
70:00: Did I just see Wondo?
70:43: With 20 minutes left, Darke lets us know that Belgium has scored all of their goals during the 2014 World Cup during the last 20 minutes. What’s the point of living?
71:54: Wondo is in the game! “I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win!”
78:52: Howard! Save No. 10! Someone needs to make a body pillow in the shape of his legs to keep Americans secure at night.
81:24: Soccer! DeMarcus Beasley and Clint Dempsey look real good.
89:54: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I can’t take another almost Belgian goal. Thank you, again, St. Howard.
3 minutes extra time: Wondo!!! FUUUUUUUUUU … DGE! Missed at point blank. Sorry, Chico. Regulation ends. Score: 0-0.
Overtime: Jan Vertonghen looks like a Greek god … and he just puked on the field. Reason to believe?
92:00: Nooooooooo!!! Scut Farkus! (“Say uncle!”) Belgium leads 1-0.
103:42: Howard’s 15th save! C’mon, U.S.! Do it for Howard!
104:27: And, another goal by Belgium. Assisted by … yes, Scut Farkus. “Uncle. Uncle!” Belgium leads 2-0.
104:30: Darke: “Surely the end of the road for the U.S.”
105:41: 19-year-old Julian Green, youngest U.S. World Cup player ever, comes in for Alejandro Bedoya.
106:10: Michael Bradley, beautiful pass to Green—U.S. score!!! The world is beautiful, life is fair and filled with hope. Belgium 2, U.S. 1.
107:58: Jermaine Jones! So close. My spinal cord just disconnected.
110:08: Save! Howard shoots Romelu Lukaku in the stomach with a sawed-off shotgun and buries him in a shallow grave in front of the goal. (Howard sets record for saves in a World Cup match: 16.)
112:18: U.S. gets a free kick. Cue scene-setting by Darke: “You feel like the script has been penned by Steven Spielberg.”
113:30: Dempsey threads the needle. Too close. Can’t cope.
115:00: I’m still not convinced Dempsey didn’t score.
120:00: Darke: “Last chance at the Last Chance Saloon.” Green passes to super-speedy sub DeAndre Yedlin … Final: Belgium 2, U.S. 1.