If the United States loses to Algeria Wednesday it will be its most disappointing loss ever.
More disappointing than the debacle at the 1998 World Cup, more heart-breaking than the quarter final loss to Germany in 2002, more devastating than the loss to Ghana to end the 2006 Cup campaign. With U.S. soccer games shattering T.V. records and an American public ready to completely embrace the sport, a loss to Algeria would allow every sport radio blowhard to say, “I told you! Soccer would never become big in this country. We don’t like rooting for losers.” Unfortunately, they might be right.
The U.S. really should win. It has significantly better players, Algeria is one of only two teams at the World Cup that hasn’t scored a goal and tactically the U.S. matches up favorably.
But like I wrote last week, the U.S. has never won won a World Cup match as the favorite. Plus, there are so many question marks it doesn’t take a nihilist to think this game has disaster written all over it. But before we get to that, let’s first look at the tactical matchup.