If the referee had only called the USA Men v New Zealand match 3 and a half minutes early, the USA would have defeated the All Blacks for the first time in history, but as the saying goes, “If my aunt had balls, she would be my uncle.” The Eagles started the match playing fiercely like they had nothing to lose. Midway through the second half, leading 19-5, the men became indecisive as it dawned on them they had the match and their moment in history to lose. A penalty try and 2 other Kiwi tries in the last 3 minutes and the final score was 26-19.
Earlier in the day the Eagles added another loss (15-14) to Canada to extend the losing streak to 4 … I think.
The dream that is still alive is that the Eagles area relatively young side and were in with a good chance in both their losses in a tough pool.
On Day 3 the men start their quest for the plate against Argentina.
The US Women, after shaky starts against both Fiji and Spain, ended up easily winning both matches to finish top of their pool. Their cup quarterfinal against Ireland is a relatively easy match, but the women’s form and defense are shaky at times. They need to reach another level if they are to progress past quarterfinals, and if they don’t bring at least their B game Ireland ‘s hard charging women will squash world champion dreams and send the Eagles to compete for the plate. The US Women show a strong tendency on defense to not trust the inside player to make the tackle. If they get past Ireland , their semi-final will probably be against New Zealand. Kiwi star winger (Portia Woodman) makes quick work of teams that give her a little space. To keep the dream alive the women will need to bring a level of play to the knock-out stages that they didn’t show in the pool stages. Weirdly after 6 months in the Olympic Training Center conditioning seems to be an issue for some players in the Moscow heat. Eagles Jillion Potter and Kelly Griffin’s work rate is outstanding , though, and Vanesha McGee’s ability to raise the tempo and intensity at just the right moment is inspiring.
Wales kept their dream of back to back world cup championships alive with an exciting hard fought win over Fiji (12-7).
Russians’ dream of a world championship on home soil were kept alive when the Russian women defeated England in the last match of the day to put the Russians through as the top team in their pool.
Sadly and weirdly my personal dream to have a nice cool Russian beer while watching the US play in the Luzhniki Olympic stadium is dead . No alcohol is allowed in the stadium or in the Olympic complex grounds.