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Dinging the Dong in Upset City

While the world’s attention was fixed on the Cube, watching Michael Phelps collect his — ho-hum — eight golds and seven WRs, the real spectacle was unfolding over at the Dong. Oh, you haven’t heard of the Dong? While it doesn’t have quite the cache of the Bird’s Nest or the Cube, the Dong — Ying Dong Natatorium — is the place to be in Beijing by those in the know.

Jeff Power winds up.

Jeff Powers winds up.

Tony Azevedo and the rest of the ninth-ranked USA water polo team dinged the dong in a big way, taking down reigning Olympic champion and world No. 1 Croatia, 7-5, in a huge upset and making those lucky, team-building mustaches on the Croatian team seem like nothing more than, well, hair. 

Goal-machine Azevedo roared back from the U.S.’s 4-2 loss to Serbia, in which he went scoreless,  with three goals and an inspired game overall. The Americans showed few weaknesses and made few mistakes as they took control early and locked down the vaunted Croatian offensive attack.

This is a ridiculous upset for the Americans, who haven’t medaled since 88, but it will be nothing more than a nice consolation if they don’t back it up with a win against 2-2 Germany on Monday. It’s win or go home. But after beating the Chinese and Italians, playing the Serbs tough, then giving the world’s best team the business, the Americans have never been better positioned to ride the momentum into the medal round.

Water polo is game of momentum, and no one is rolling quite like the Yanks at the moment. So, as they say in China, keep your eye on the dong.

Pub Wisdom Predicts: USA 9-8 GER

Ratko Vents

Ratko Vents

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