Despite coming into the tournament ranked number five in the world, mostly thanks to playing against relatively weak competition in the Americas, Team USA was trounced in their opener in the 2006 World Cup.
Jan Koller scored early, and Tomas Rosicky added two more goals Monday to lead the Czech Republic to a 3-0 win over the United States in Group E of the World Cup. Koller, who returned only last month from knee surgery, already had been fouled by Oguchi Onyewu and Eddie Pope in the first two minutes. He then headed a cross to put the ball past United States goalkeeper Kasey Keller for his 43rd goal in 69 international appearances, a Czech record.
Rosicky scored on a soaring 25-meter (yard) shot in the 36th minute, and the Americans never got back into the game. Rosicky hit the crossbar in the 68th and added a goal in the 76th minute, getting past the United States defense off a through pass from Pavel Nedved and beating Keller on the breakaway.
Koller injured his right leg battling Onyewu for a ball on the flank in the 43d minute, and was taken off on stretcher. He was taken to a hospital to be examined, the Czech team said.
It’s looking like another first round exit for the Red, White, and Blue. And they wonder why Americans don’t get excited about soccer.
Of course, this points to another reason why the World Cup is unlikely to cultivate much of an American fan base: Idiotic bracketing. There are 32 teams in 8 brackets. How on earth can the 2nd and 5th teams be in the same bracket, virtually guaranteeing one will be eliminated in the preliminary rounds?! Wouldn’t we expect teams 1-8 to be in separate brackets, with teams 9-16, 17-24, and 25-32 distributed accordingly to give the top seeds the best shot at advancing?
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