America is headed for the second round of the World Cup, defeating Algeria 1-0 with a dramatic injury time goal from striker Landon Donovan. Team USA also qualified ahead of England on goal difference, marking the first time they have topped their first-round group since 1930. Donovan's decisive goal — a close-range blast off a rebound from Algerian goalkeeper Rais M Bolhi — came only three minutes before the final whistle blew, with U.S. fans poised on the edge of despair. (Watch Donovan's game-winning goal.) Here are some first reactions from blogosphere:
"Hats off": Donovan's goal sparked "mass euphoria among the American players and fans," says Paul Doyle at the Guardian. And no wonder, after the barrage of shots that bounced off the crossbar or ended up in the goalkeeper's gloves. The USA are through, and "on the balance of play they deserve it."
And America goes wild...: "My window is open here in Manhattan," says Jeff Z. Klein at The New York Times, "and when the Americans scored, you could hear the roar in the street." I can't recall such scenes of jubilation after a soccer game. "The Yanks are in... and yes, I actually do hear some church bells ringing."
We can win the tournament: The squad "looked done" toward the end of the match, but they rallied amid "amazing adversity" to get to the next round, says Sean Gregory at Time. If the U.S. can hang onto the momentum, "who is to say they can’t win the whole thing?"
This was much bigger than a game: That "was about all my poor heart could take," says Pete Grathoff at the Kansas City Star. Talk about cutting it close: "Three minutes from the worst tie in U.S. soccer history, Donovan rescued the American team, his own legacy and [coach Bob] Bradley's job." The goal didn't just save the game, it saved American soccer. "It's a goal that will be talked about for years to come.
This is what sports is all about: "This is why we love games," says Dan Le Batard in the Miami Herald. "This is why we invest and care and cry and scream and get angry." We all have so much emotion wrapped up in these matches. After Donovan's goal, all the "anger and frustration and disgust evaporated into an uncommon and sudden and shared joy."