(Copyright 2002. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

Making a permanent impression since 1994

June 19, 2002

World Cup surprises include Team USA

By Kaishi Lee

It was the hamburger versus the taco in Jeonju , South Korea .

And the hamburger won.

Team USA played a meaty style of power play while the Mexicans let slip in their crisp and spicy passing.

At full time, Team USA had two goals(Brian McBride in the 8th and Landon Donovan in the 65th minute) while the Amigos bid adios.

An arguably better team, the Mexicans were lacking in spirit and their Lambada soccer failed to suffocate the Americans.

Mexico surprised the global audience with its slick passing game with moves involving over 30 passes at a go. In Round 1 of the World Cup, they beat Croatia 1-0, won Ecuador 2-1 and drew Italy 1-1.

Perhaps Team USA ’s penchant for playing hard ball made it shine.

It threw all cavalry forward straight after kick-off, forcing opponents to err, and had strikes with a powerful forward line.

With an attendance of 36,380 -- and 3,000 Americans -- in the stadium, Team USA shed its underdog image and astonished the world with their powerful feet.

Totally against the run of play, McBride shot past Mexican goalkeeper

Oscar Perez and scored his 2nd goal, putting US into the lead at half-time.

Donovan, using a firm header (scoring the goal with his head) to deal the final blow to Mexico , rolled one goal into the goalpost.

USA meets Germany this Friday at 7:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on ESPN.

Meanwhile, Japan lost to Turkey 1-0 in a closely fought match.

Sadly, the home ground and the passionate support of Japanese fans could not motivate the players to defeat the Turks.

Much of the effort should be credited to Hidetoshi Nakata, the swank , key player and one of Japanese best exports to the Italian soccer team, Parma (besides Seattle ’s Mariners Ichiro Suzuki, baseball’s MVP player of the year).

Still, one player could not play against a team of possessive Turks,with Umit Davala scoring in the 12th minute, and gaining momentum and poise as the Japanese faltered in the torrential rain.

Turkey meets Senegal this Saturday at 7:30 a.m. EST time. 

Asia ’s dreams lived on when Korea defeated heavyweight Italy 2-1 in the evening’s match.

Spoilsport Italians condemned the referee and claimed the match had “hidden hands” and Italian supporters yelled “Thieves, thieves, you stole the game” at Korean fans who were celebrating on the streets.

Thanks to the golden goal (Ahn Jung Hwan in the 116th minute), Korea went delirious with frenzy as its country advanced into the quarter-finals, the first in Asian history of soccer.

South Korea meets Spain this Saturday at 2:30 a.m. EST time.

In the end, soccer remains a sport of sizzling surprises and just might penetrate into the U.S. , just like the hamburger.

Click here for earlier story about the World Cup


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