Monday, July 16, 2007

Around the world, newspaper headlines trumpeted the shocking upset !!

At the time, the English were considered the "Kings of Football", with a post-war record of 23 wins, 4 losses, and 3 draws. Conversely, the Americans had lost their last seven international matches (including the 1934 World Cup and 1948 Summer Olympics) by the combined score of 45–2. The odds were 3–1 the English would win the Cup, and 500–1 for the U.S.

England won the toss and elected to kick off. Within ninety seconds, Stanley Mortensen sent a cross from the left wing to Roy Bentley, who let off a shot that was barely pushed aside by U.S. goalkeeper Frank Borghi. By the twelfth minute, England had six clear shots on goal but could not convert, with two shots hitting the post, one just going over the top, and another brilliantly saved by Borghi.

The U.S. struggled to move to the offense, and finally managed a shot on goal in the twenty-fifth minute, which was blocked by Bert Williams. The English counterattacked with three successive clear shots at the goal in minutes 30, 31, and 32, but failed to score. Mortensen twice went over the crossbar, and Tom Finney's header to the top corner was tipped away by Borghi.

In the thirty-seventh minute, Walter Bahr launched a shot from twenty-five yards out, but as Williams prepared to make the save, Joe Gaetjens (pictured above) dove headlong and grazed the ball enough to put it past the reach of the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. The crowd exploded as the U.S. improbably led 1–0, and they held on to win. Final score 1-0.

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