The Full 90

Five things we learned from the World Cup today

Four more teams advanced, four more teams went home. Oh... USA! USA! USA! USA! What else did we learn?

1.

Tim Howard = Peyton Manning.

For good reason, everyone has focused on Landon Donovan's goal to end the game today with Algeria. It was a great goal. But it doesn't happen if Tim Howard doesn't play an absolutely brilliant throw 65-yards right to the feet of Donovan. He delivered great balls like that three times this game, each time my jaw dropped. He's the best.

2.

Mesut Oezil is the early favorite for breakout star of the Cup.

The son of Turkish immigrants has given the Germans something they haven't really had recently: A supremely gifted offensive architect. He's their Lionel Messi. He's only 22, and his strike today was just stunning.

The only other player that's even in his class for this discussion is Chile's Alexis Sanchez.

3.

If you were bored by the USA-Algeria game, you are either dead (and, as such, are walking the earth as a zombie) or you're Rick Reilly.

4.

Unlike some other teams (cough England cough France cough Italy cough Slovakia), the United States plays for the full 90 minutes.

It doesn't matter if they're trailing by a goal, by two goals, if the refs screw them royally or if they are chasing a needed goal in stoppage time. This team will go for it. Bob Bradley, who has been criticized at times for his substitutions, absolutely nailed it today. Herculez Gomez didn't do anything wrong, but at halftime, he had to bring Benny Feilhaber on to help win possession in the midfield. It worked. When they needed to get more strength up top, he brought in Edson Buddle. It worked. Heck, even DeMarcus Beasley's speed in the dying minutes of the game helped open up Algeria on the counter. Nice work, Bob.

5.

England didn't win because they had better tactics, they won because of ... beer?

Yeah,

this is a real story

.

Honorable mention: How does ESPN choose which pairing to put on the World Cup set? Coin flip? Random chance? Best combo for entertainment reasons is Lalas-McManaman. Best combo for game insight is Martinez and just about anyone else. Most annoying duo is Lalas-Guillit. Most unintentionally hilarious pairing is Klinsman-Guillit by far. ... Clint Dempsey is a tough SOB. He took a blatant punch to the face and suffered a bloody lip and gave the world

the "Angry and Bloody and Out for Vengeance" face

. ... Ghana will be the only African representative in the next round (well,

more than likely

) and as young as they are, will be a factor for a looooong time. ... The Socceroos shouldn't be ashamed of their finish. They had the best recovery from game one to game three. ... Mexico-England? Argentina-Germany? Argentina-England? Mexico-Germany? Show me a bad match-up in that part of the bracket in the quarterfinals? ... We have likely seen the last of the

Slovenian "Woodland Tree Nymph" dance

. This makes me strangely sad. ... Is it just me or does it seem like everyone is a fan today?

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