U.S. Rebounds From Two-Goal Deficit To Tie Slovenia
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
Stefan, the U.S. was heavily favored to win this game, but Slovenia almost took the game. What happened?
STEFAN FATSIS: Landon Donovan blasted in a beautiful goal from close range in the 48th minute. The coach's son, Michael Bradley, tied the game in the 82nd minute. I was sitting in the stands. There were beer showers after both goals. Pure mayhem after the second goal. It was a spectacular performance.
NORRIS: Spectacular, and then there was that controversial call after what would have been the third goal. Tell us what happened.
FATSIS: Now, tugging and holding is not uncommon by both teams on free kicks like this one. My friend Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated just blogged a little while ago that it was an all-time officiating blunder and even media and fans from other countries seem to agree.
NORRIS: What does this tie mean for the U.S.?
FATSIS: You got it, Michele?
NORRIS: I think I got it. A chart, though, would be helpful, Stefan.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
NORRIS: Overall, this tournament started out slowly. There weren't a lot of goals scored early on, but there seems to have been much more exciting play lately.
FATSIS: I think teams were cautious in the first game. Players absolutely opened up since the second games began. There were 20 goals in the next nine games. Two huge upsets: Serbia over Germany, one to nothing today; Switzerland over Spain, one-nothing yesterday; and tonight's U.S. game, by far the most exciting of the tournament.
NORRIS: Now, for those of us who will be watching and listening over the weekend, what are the games we need to follow?
FATSIS: Did you hear this one, that the North Korean government apparently hired Chinese actors and singers to play the role of fans at their first game?
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
FATSIS: As for me, I'll be at the Italy-New Zealand on Sunday in the city of Nelspruit, and then I'm going to spend a couple of days in a park looking for elephants, wildebeest, springbok and maybe some lions.
NORRIS: Take care, Stefan.
FATSIS: Thanks, Michele.
NORRIS: That's Stefan Fatsis, our regular sports commentator in Johannesburg, South Africa. Stefan and other NPR soccer fanatics are posting for our World Cup blog, "Show Me Your Cleats!" That's at npr.org.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WORLD CUP FEVER")
AIR MIAMI: (Singing) Hey, hey, hey, I've got it. World Cup fever. She, she, she, she's got it. World Cup fever. I, I, I, I've got it. World Cup fever. You, you, you, you got it. World Cup fever. 5-8. 4-9.
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
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