AFC East: Jozy Altidore

World Cup allegiances allowed to shift

July, 4, 2010
7/04/10
2:19
PM ET
Buffalo Bills offensive lineman and soccer fanatic Kirk Chambers will share his World Cup thoughts with the AFC East blog throughout the tournament.

When you're a fan of a team that constantly leaves you crestfallen, it's OK to have a backup squad.

Kirk Chambers needed some time to recover after USA's flirt-with-disaster run through the World Cup came to an appropriate end. Ghana snuffed the U.S. 2-1 with an extra-time goal.

"I was heartbroken," Chambers said. "To come so close again, hoping for a miracle and it not happening, it was deflating. All the air was released."

If you're going to continue to follow the tournament, then a rooting interest is desirable.

At least Chambers has Germany left. Germany advanced to the semifinals with a 4-0 rout of Argentina. He also is pulling for German forward Miroslav Klose to win back-to-back Golden Boots as the top World Cup scorer.

But don't think Chambers is jumping onto the bandwagon in his lederhosen. He fell in love with soccer while serving his Mormon mission in Berlin. He speaks fluent German. His father taught German in high school.

"That's where I spent two years of my life," said Chambers, who majored in public policy and minored in German studies at Stanford. "They just play good football. They've just been a machine on how they play and possess the ball. They're team-oriented, not selfish."

But Chambers didn't select Germany or the U.S. to win it all in his ESPNsoccernet Bracket Predictor. He penciled in Brazil as the champion, a decision that will destroy his bracket. Bills center Geoff Hangartner, who knows little about soccer and was cajoled into filling out a bracket, picked Germany.

Chambers' heart will always be with the U.S. team. He's generally satisfied with its showing in the World Cup despite his disappointment the sport will "fall back into obscurity until they start playing qualifiers again."

"A standard's been set to play well in group play and get through," Chambers said. "I'm not going to say they dominated in group play, but they showed up well. They performed as well as they should have when you look at it realistically."

Chambers has been impressed with emerging U.S. players such as Jozy Altidore, Herculez Gomez and Benny Feilhaber.

Chambers was struck by the dramatic exit of America's ouster. Ghana had a glorious chance to defeat Uruguay when Luis Suarez desperately used his hand inside the cage to prevent a goal. Suarez was ejected. Asamoah Gyan was awarded a penalty kick that should have ended the game. Gyan missed. Uruguay won in the shootout.

"Suarez purposely handballs," Chambers said. "He's in the goal. He knows he's getting kicked out and not playing in the next game. But that was a heads up play by Uruguay and an amazing outcome."

All sorts of reasons to keep watching.

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