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PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Over and over, everything seemed to go against them.
A referee took away a win last week, and a linesman disallowed another goal Wednesday.
Now there was just 3½ minutes left in their World Cup, just that much remaining until all the doubts about American soccer would rise again.
But then, in one of the most stunning turnarounds in World Cup history, Landon Donovan scored on a lightning fast counterattack 45 seconds into 4 minutes of injury time. With the most amazing late-game moment in American soccer, the United States beat Algeria 1-0 and reached the World Cup's second round.
"This team embodies what the American spirit is about," Donovan said. "We had a goal disallowed the other night, We had another good goal disallowed tonight. But we just keep going. And I think that's what people admire so much about Americans. And I'm damn proud."
Former President Bill Clinton lingered in the locker room for 45 minutes after the game to congratulate the players. When Donovan scored, raucous cheers erupted on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and even in White House auditoriums in Washington, D.C., according to e-mails sent to U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati.
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