well, with Italy's dramatic 2-0 win vs. Deutschland in the semifinal, i think it gives the U.S. effort vs. Italy a far rosier sheen. remember that we played the Italians at 10 players for part of the 1st half, and then played them a man down the entire 2nd half to force the 1-1 draw. I'm not prepared to say the the US is a top 8 team- or even 16- but maybe they are not as bad as portrayed and just had a HORRIBLE game against the Czechs. maybe, though, they got lucky vs. the Italians. nonetheless, the tied the team that is going to be in the WC final. that's something to take into account.