I remember back in 1998 we were camping with friends up on the Kern River near Lake Isabella in California. 1998 was also a World Cup year, and the U.S. was playing Germany one day during our vacation there. We made arrangements with a small pizza parlor in the little town of Kernville for our small group to take over the parlor, and watch the match on their TV....that was the only match we watched that year, and that has been typical over the years. Of course, the USA lost that match as they routinely did back in those days. We did not win a single match in that World Cup.
Advance the calendar forward 16 years and we have the USA advancing out of group play with a legitimate chance to win against Belgium on Tuesday. This current incarnation of the World Cup has had some very good matches with teams coming from behind late in matches to win, or tie. Sunday was no exception. Mexico held a late 1-0 lead over Netherlands with 3 minutes to go in regulation. They had played great defense for 87 minutes, then, suddenly, the Netherlands scored to tie the match, and just a few minutes later in stoppage time the Netherlands scored on a controversial penalty kick to win 2-0. The second match between Costa Rica and Greece was equally exciting. Costa Rica led 1-0 late in the match only to have Greece score the tying goal with just seconds to go in regulation. Ultimately the match went to "kicks from the mark" in which Costa prevailed 5 kicks to 3.
In between the matches I took a leisurely ride up to the Emerald Bay overlook....seriously....I was not trying to set any new personal records, and I didn't........although my ride took me just 4 minutes longer than my best time.