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The Best of Group C

Group C, of course, has been a popular group for our bloggers. Rabih Alameddine kicked off proceedings with a bold pick:

So the final will be Spain vs. Argentina, and Algeria will win. Mark it down.

England vs. the USA divided the loyalties of some of our bloggers, including Luke Dempsey:

So how am I to watch England vs. USA? Who could I possibly cheer for? I’m English, through and through, and what would my late father think … but I’d no more root against the US than want to live anywhere else. How can I be in the position of wanting both teams to win, and neither to even draw? A draw won’t do it—both need maximum points in the treacherously brief, three-game group stage.

Zachary Roth was a little more decided in his loyalties:

It's become clear to me lately that being an England soccer fan (and typing the word “soccer,” by the way, still feels weirdly like something between a compromise and a betrayal) is just about the best way I still have to connect to the place I grew up. 

The 1-1 draw between the two drew celebrations from Stefan Fatsis:

The problem for England is that, in another couple of decades, the U.S. will have a reasonable soccer history of its own, and its population isn’t getting smaller, and its economy isn’t likely to, either. Advantage: USA.

On the other side, Roth was less happy:

I've tried to put off talking about the game itself because when a big game gets decided on a thing like happened last night, a dignified silence sort of feels like the only possible response.  But that doesn't work on the internets, so here goes.

I've never quite been convinced by the legend of Capello as some kind of tactical genius (or frankly, I guess, by the legend of any football coach as a tactical genius) and yesterday he seemed to get every big decision wrong.

The USA's 2-2 draw led to a debate on the now-famous disallowed goal, between Jesse Zwick and Alex Massie:

The Americans were not robbed today and nor were they the victims of any anti-American bias. Sorry, Jesse, but that’s the sort of fanciful, solipsistic whingeing one normally associates with Notre Dame fans.

Franklin Foer had a slightly more positive take on the match:

The most exciting match of the tournament by far. Add it to the growing pantheon of courageous U.S. ties.  (I await the day when my most precious memories of U.S. soccer aren't just spiritual triumphs.)

And Stefan Fatsis was downright optimistic by American (or indeed, English) standards:

That delicious, sudden eruption that happens best at sporting events happened. A deafening roar (and not of you-know-whats). A tasty shower of beer. Strangers jumping and hugging and toppling on to their neighbors’ seats. Pure, unadulterated, consummate elation. U.S.A., baby.

England's 0-0 draw with Algeria drew a range of suggestions, including from Christopher Hsu, Luke Dempsey, and (with the most intriguing criticism of all) Nate Berg:

While I don’t want to discount Algeria’s quality of play, I think England’s poor performance in the match and the World Cup as a whole can be blamed on Coach Fabio Capello’s overzealous coaching tactics. Not on the field, but in the bedroom.