United States hero Landon Donovan wiped away the tears as he reflected on his last-gasp winner against Algeria tonight, saying it made him believe there was "good in the world" following a difficult time for him personally.
With England en route to victory over Slovenia in the other Group C match, both the US and opponents Algeria looked to be heading out of the FIFA World Cup™ as their game in Pretoria entered stoppage time with the scoreline still 0-0. However, Donovan popped up in the last few moments to slot home after the ball had rolled loose in the area when Algeria goalkeeper Rais M'Bohli dived at the feet of Clint Dempsey.
That match-winning strike not only saw the United States secure a place in the last 16 but it also earned them top spot in the pool ahead of England. For an emotional Donovan, it meant even more. "I've been through a lot in the last four years," the Budweiser Man of the Match said as he broke down in tears during the post-game press conference. The Los Angeles Galaxy playmaker split up with his wife last July.
"I'm so glad it culminated in this way and it makes me believe in good in the world and when you try to do things the right way it's good to be rewarded."
Algeria exited the tournament without managing to score a goal in their three group games, although they had their chances tonight and hit the crossbar early on through Rafik Djebbour. It was not to be for the north African side, but their coach Rabah Saadane was still proud of his team.
"I think it was a really good match and the two teams have done well," he said. "We've seen many attempts on goal from both teams, and with a bit more luck I think we would have won the match. However, the Algerian team have worked very hard to get the right result in the second match and the last match. I'm quite happy with the team.
"They [the USA] had the last chance to score the goal and they got it. I want to congratulate the US team and wish them all the luck in the next stage.