With just minutes before the U.S. soccer team would have faded from the nation's consciousness again, team captain Landon Donovan came through with a clutch goal in the 91st minute to advance his team to the knockout round of the World Cup and possibly even to lasting legitimacy.
"Wow. What a moment," Donovan told reporters after the match. "I'm so excited that you all are still here. And that you remember my name. This is everything I've dreamed of."
Donovan's goal came in stoppage time as many U.S. media members were packing up their gear or were on the phone trying to book earlier flights back home. That's why the play-by-play of Donovan's goal was: "NEVER MIND, SOUTH AFRICA AIRWAYS TICKET AGENT! LANDON DONOVAN JUST SCORED!!! AND, NO, I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO TAKE A SHORT, CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY! GOODBYE!"
Back home, casual fans who were watching the game were also overjoyed at the turn of events.
"Yesssss!" yelled one patron watching at a Washington, D.C. bar! "Now I don't feel stupid for paying $14.99 for this U.S. soccer t-shirt!"
Yet despite making what is possibly a huge step for U.S. soccer in terms of popularity at home, some players pointed out that the U.S. national team has advanced this far in the World Cup before and as recently as 2002.
"That was the year we beat Portugal and Brandi Chastain took off her shirt, right?" said DeMarcus Beasley. "No? Look, I honestly don't remember either. Whatever."
Picture Slanted Soccer Pitch
Eh, still pretty boring. Call me if they add a fire pit to one side.
Picture Soccer Ball to The Butt
That should refute the ideas that girls can't play sports, and/or fulfill very specific fetishes.
Prepare to see a lot of Landon Donovan.
He is the captain of the men's national team. He scored the dramatic goal to put the U.S. through to the knockout round of the World Cup.
And, his biggest attribute: he's got as much billboard space as our most prolific endorsing sportsman.
Picture Sexual World Cup Sign
Don't worry, you'll get your turn, the FIFA Women's World Cup is only a year away!
L'Equipe is a newspaper. A daily newspaper. All about sports. In France.
Yes, there is a daily newspaper dedicated to French sports. What kind of coverage could L'Equipe possibly provide each day? Here are some recent headlines, translated.
Now French head coach Raymond Domenech can't even get his team to play in matches. Or stop them from taunting him.
USA fans all over the United States filed into bars early this morning to have a beer and cheer on their nation.
"I love the U.S.," said Jeff Smith, who watched the news at a lower Manhattan bar with some friends. "I've loved them ever since I was born here."
The crowd erupted early when CNN scrolled across the news that both the Dow Jones and the NASDAQ opened higher. But the cheering was quickly quieted when a live feed of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico came on the screen. A group of English fans in the corner happily cheered and high-fived.
It was the same scene elsewhere. At a bar in Chicago, fans broke into chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!" on the news that a predator drone in Afghanistan had taken out a high-ranking al-Qaeda official and his family. Minutes later, the bar patrons erupted into boos when footage came on off a tornado that tore through Bilings, Montana.
One nervous U.S. fan at a bar in Atlanta nervously kept an eye on a TV set to BBC for news on Greece, admitting that while he was a U.S. fan, he had bet heavily on a turnaround for the Greek economy. In the same bar a group of Swiss fans sat off to the corner and politely cheered positive news for every country, while some French fans a few tables over smoked heavily and cursed at the television.
While all the U.S. fans rooted on the home team, the mixed results led to disagreements about how the nation could improve. For example, at a bar in St. Louis, a fistfight among a few drunk fans broke out when one fan booed the image of President Barack Obama and demanded he be fired and replaced with Sarah Palin.Other fans demanded the channel be switched to MSNBC or Fox News.
"The Fox announcers are always so negative," said a fan at a new bar in Austin, Texas. "It's like they want us to lose."
Most bars compromised by setting the televisions to CNN with the volume turned all the way down.
"I know some people disagree, but I think we've got a great guy leading us in Obama," said a fan at a bar in Seattle. "We just need better execution and effort from the citizens. Me included, I guess. Perhaps I shouldn't sit here every day watching the news."