Hats off to Brittney Griner and Tim Howard. Or perhaps I should say, hands up! The Phoenix Mercury center and Team USA goaltender both showcased incredible defensive performances this week. On Sunday, Griner recorded 11 blocked shots against the Tulsa Shock, the most ever in a WNBA game. On Tuesday, Howard made 16 saves during Team USA's game against Belgium, the most in a World Cup game since 1966.
While scoring gets a lot of praise and attention, Griner and Howard showed us why defense deserves more applause.
If you’re feeling blue because of that devastating US loss on Tuesday, you’re not alone. But don’t hang your head for too long, — it was a great game, and there’s a lot more World Cup soccer left.
Here’s the lowdown on the quarterfinals matchups, which begin on Friday.
The US lost a heart-stopper to Belgium yesterday, 2-1, in the World Cup Round of 16. Belgium moves on to play Argentina in the quarterfinals; the Americans head home.
But there's a lot of victory the Americans can pull from their defeat. Not only did they make it out of the Group of the Death, the US team defeated rival Ghana, came within two seconds of topping Portugal, and hung with the high-octane Belgians for most of the knockout round match.
And then there's goaltender Tim Howard. He had the tournament of a lifetime, and his best performance came in his team's final game. Howard made 16 saves against Belgium — the most since World Cup stats began being kept in 1966. The previous record holder was Ramon Quiroga from Peru, who saved 13 shots in 1978.
The United States faces Belgium in the Round of 16 in less than an hour, and when you watch the game you're bound to see a lot of Belgian flags in the crowd. But fun fact! Those flags are all wrong — at least according to Belgian law.
Five years ago, 10-year-old Ethan King traveled to Mozambique, Africa, with his father. Dad repairs non-functioning water wells in impoverished African villages, so when he went to rural Mozambique in 2009 Ethan tagged along.
To help pass the time while his dad worked, Ethan would kick around a soccer ball that he brought with him. The local kids took notice of the ball. They loved soccer, but Ethan discovered they played with makeshift balls made of trash, plastic bags and twine.
Ethan shared his ball with the other kids and invited them to play. Five kids joined at first, then 50. And when Ethan saw how thrilled they were by the sight of a real soccer ball, a life-changing idea was born.
Now 15, Ethan is the founder of Charity Ball, an organization he began in 2010 that donates new soccer balls to kids in developing nations. When someone donates $25, a child in a developing country is hand-delivered his or her own brand-new, quality soccer balls.
The World Cup knockout round began this weekend, with Brazil, the Netherlands, Colombia, and Costa Rica all moving on to the quarterfinals. Here are some of the must-see top plays from the matches!
Group play of the 2014 World Cup is officially over, and from the opening match to the final day, it did not disappoint. The Group of Death lived up to its name, the Brazilian humidity lived up to its expectations, and now it’s time to buckle our seatbelts for the knockout rounds. Before we get there, though, let’s see what went down in the final week of the group stage.