June 14, 2006
Spain 4, Ukraine 0: Well, the U.S. didn't have the most embarrassing opener at this Cup after all. Two goals in the first fifteen minutes but the East European debutants in a big hole, then a very harsh red card, and ensuing penalty kick, doomed the only representative from the former Soviet Union. More to the point, though, the Ukraine came in with hopes at least as inflated as the Americans. They were the first team to qualify in Europe, and they did so besting a group that also included Romania, 2002 Bronze Medalist Turkey, and Euro 2004 champ Greece. They also have one of the best players on the planet in Andrei Schevchenko, who may be one of the most recognizable soccer stars in America, thanks to his ubiquitous ad on ESPN. He, and his team, simply laid an egg, while Spain, on the other hand, just sent its supporters expectations to the roof.