Football is a cruel game.
Just when you start to believe, when you think the impossible just might be possible, your soul gets ripped right out of your body, and you remember you have to walk home in a full Captain America costume. The worst.
The United States men’s national team loss to Belgium in extra-time on Tuesday was the most painful kind of torture. For 90 minutes, we watched Tim Howard save the USA time and time again, putting forth arguably the greatest goalkeeping performance ever at a World Cup, only for it to all fall apart in extra-time. Just like four years ago.
But after the heartbreak, there was pride and hope; pride that the team wouldn’t ever, ever quit, and hope that in 2018, this team will be even stronger, and encourage even more belief. One team, one nation:
If you still have the mental and emotional capacity to do so, take a look at how America followed the USA’s thrilling 2-1 loss in the Round of 16:
THE GAME BEFORE THE GAME
The United States hadn’t even taken the field for warmups yet, when our blood pressure was already over 160. The heart-stopping finish between Argentina and Switzerland — Angel di Maria’s winner deep into extra time sent the Albiceleste through — should probably have told us that this was going to be a long, long day:
THE FIRST HALF
Oh NO! The first sign that the United States were in trouble:
Anyone still wondering if soccer has “made it” in America?
A pitch invader makes an appearance:
More bad news, Fabian Johnson is hurt:
Madeleine Albright with some wise words for the USA:
And England legend Gary Lineker perfectly summarizes the play thus far:
THE SECOND HALF
All Belgium, all of the time: