U.S. Defeats Algeria in Closing Minutes to Advance at World Cup

BY Judy Woodruff  June 23, 2010 at 2:08 PM EST

Landon Donovan

Landon Donovan scores past Algeria goalkeeper Raïs M’Bolhi and defender Madjid Bougherra in injury time. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.

The U.S. men’s national soccer team beat Algeria, 1-0, in dramatic fashion to advance to the next round of the World Cup in South Africa. The winning goal by Landon Donovan came in the first minute of stoppage time as the United States was on the brink of elimination.

“In the stadium everyone was aware of the score of the England versus Slovenia game, which was that England was leading one to nil. This means that if the United States didn’t win, they were out of the World Cup,” said Mike Pesca of NPR in Pretoria.

“As time ticked down, it got very, very nerve-wracking until Landon Donovan, the best player the U.S. has ever produced, most likely, calmly waited for a rebound off a shot from Jozy Altidore, put it in the back of the net in penalty time: U.S. wins!”

Listen to an interview with NPR’s Mike Pesca:

The win marked the first time the team won a group since 1930. The winning goal was Donovan’s fourth in World Cup play and tied him with Bert Patenaude as the all-time American leader.

The United States had a number of near misses to take the lead earlier in the game. Clint Dempsey appeared to score 21 minutes into the match, but he was harshly ruled offside. Last week, controversy surrounded an apparent goal by Maurice Edu after he was ruled offside after a goal that would have propelled the Americans over Slovenia.

The U.S. team will now take on the runner-up from Group D on Saturday.