Women’s World Cup – Things We Learned: Go Go, USA Edition

Thomas Paine wasn’t born in America, but he probably deserves his place with the Founding Fathers for his contributions in making the United States what it was in the Revolutionary War period.

It was Paine who wrote in December of 1776 (you’ll have to excuse the history lesson, it’s my day job) with the Americans falling apart and seemingly ready to capitulate, “the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”

We don’t know what kind of soccer fan Paine was, but he was reasonably progressive, I’m sure he would have been proud of the American women today.

It’s hard to imagine a win with more value or a harder conflict than the United States had today. (In soccer, of course. We’re not comparing today’s win to the Revolutionary War. It was a big, big soccer win, though, so bear with the analogy.) Against their nemesis Brazil, with a bunch of things (including one big one) that didn’t go their way, down a man and a goal in stoppage time of extra time on the world’s biggest stage, one where they haven’t won in 12 years, the Americans got the job done.

And that’s all that matters in the knockout stages of a major tournament.

Paine’s quote could almost apply to women’s soccer in this country as well. Maybe the U.S. obtained success too cheaply at the beginning of the World Cup era, winning two of the first three Cups, being No. 1 in the world for virtually all of the last 20 years. Whenever there was a loss, like there was to Germany in 2003 or Brazil in 2007, it was a huge letdown. What was wrong? Why was everyone as good as us all of the sudden? Why aren’t we developing players like we used to?

For one day at least, you can shove all that stuff where the sun don’t shine, excuse my Portuguese. The U.S. met a team that was in most ways their equal, was dealt a very hard hand to play, and found a way to get the job done, and it‘s the United States in the semifinals and Brazil on the next plane back to South America.

I try hard to guard against overdoing nationalism and patriotism, they lead to very bad things when used incorrectly. But when Abby Wambach said after the game, “that is a perfect example of what this country is about,” I smiled and went out the door with as much U.S. national paraphernalia as I can find.

I’m not right much, so surely I’m going to let you know when I am, I wrote after the Sweden loss that in spite of it, the Brazil match could be the U.S.’s finest hour. If beating China in 1999 was No. 1 in that category, this is surely No. 2.

But one cautionary note, folks, in case you haven’t noticed, France can play a little bit.

Without further ado, the 10 things we learned from a heartstopping Day 15 at Germany 2011:

1) Abby Wambach deserves her place in the pantheon of the U.S. greats

It’s not often I agree with Tony DiCicco, either, but when he said that Wambach put the U.S. on her back, he wasn’t kidding. Really, she’s been doing that for most of the tournament in one way or another. Her goal today was her 120th international goal and 48th with her head.
The second part of that may be why she’s sometimes not put in the same category as a Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, or even a Julie Foudy. And, yes, she hasn’t won a World Cup yet, and it’s true they won the Olympic gold medal without her in 2008.
However, even if she doesn’t have the flashy style of some of her predecessors or the star power off the field of a Hamm, hopefully Wambach will get her due when she hangs up her cleats. Obviously, two more wins in Germany will help the cause.

2) Yes, that call wasn’t very good

Let’s be as impartial as we can here. I praised the referees yesterday, and I’ve seen worse games than Australian Jacqui Melksham had today. But when Rachel Buehler and Marta are fighting for the ball, there’s nothing there, at least worthy of a penalty kick, Marta was giving as good as she got. That’s a no call.
From there, is it a clear goal-scoring opportunity? Probably, and that’s something I think FIFA should change. Aside from handballs on the goal line, the penalty of a red and a penalty seems silly to me, and always has. But I’m not going to blame Melksham for that one.
Then to disallow Hope Solo’s save because an American encroached nowhere near the ball on something that didn’t seem to have an effect on the play was also a little ridiculous. But by the letter of the law, I guess she’s correct. Common sense, though, after a controversial penalty (and red card) to begin with, dictates you let that go.

3) And still the Americans found a way

I’ve gone over this before here, but let’s remember that even in the 2008 Olympics which the U.S. won, they were probably outplayed by Brazil, and they obviously were in the 2007 World Cup debacle.
I don’t think, even with 10 people on the field, you can say that here. The statistics were remarkably similar and the chances were as well. It wasn’t the U.S. evening the game against the run of play or holding on for penalties and winning it that way, they played a very good game, their best game of the tournament, almost from start to finish.

4) Marta didn’t really deserve the crowd abuse, though

After the controversial call, the neutral Germans seemed to turn against the Brazilians and for the Americans (leading my friend to channel Rocky IV, “Some cheers now for the U-S-A”). The crowd particularly went after Marta, but – even though I think the call was incorrect – it wasn’t a case of diving by Marta, nor has she done much unsportsmanlike at this tournament (she seemed pretty gracious afterward, as well). But I guess as the best player on the team the crowd wants to root against, that’s going to happen. But Marta played pretty well today including scoring both goals, so she has nothing to be ashamed of.

5) Pia Sundhage’s loyalty in her midfield paid off

Shannon Boxx didn’t look 34 today, she ran her butt off and played a tremendous game. Like she was a couple of years ago, she was everywhere and never stopped working, even in extra time. Boxx was also getting forward more than in any other game. Carli Lloyd was also at her near-best today, as she and Boxx made their presence felt with sheer determination, and rarely left the back line exposed for Brazil to run at.

6) Goalkeeping was a big difference, too

That was where the Americans had their biggest advantage, and in the end, it came through. The first goal was obviously an own goal, but could Andreia have come and gotten it? Possibly.
On the second, Andreia comes and gets nowhere near it, blocked off by Daiane. Hope Solo also had some anxious moments at the other end, but there was nothing she could do about either goal, and she won the game with a penalty save, and that advantage is something the United States should carry into the rest of the tournament.

7) Down goes the sweeper

Hopefully, you read the preview, so I was personally happy to see that both goals involved the sweeper playing extremely deep. On the first goal, the switch of the field (something I wish the U.S. could have done a lot more often, but I digress) left the Brazilian defense lost and Daiane (the sweeper) got the own goal. On the second, Daiane was way too deep, allowing her goalkeeper no space to come out and get the ball (although who knows if Andreia would have missed it anyway?). Unfortunately, for most of the game, the Americans actually had trouble exposing the Brazilians, but at least – in the end – they did twice, and a team with a sweeper won‘t win the World Cup.

8) The U.S. was clinical from the spot

Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd, Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe, and Ali Krieger were the five penalty takers, and none of the goals was soft. Andreia guessed the correct way a couple of times, but the kicks were just too good. Penalties can be a random outcome, but credit deserves to be given for the coolness under pressure of the Americans in the biggest of big spots with all the pressure they had on them coming into the World Cup.
I debated whether Krieger should have taken off her shirt as an homage to Brandi Chastain and the 1999 bunch, and I’m still torn. Maybe you can help me whether that would be completely tacky or funny and appropriate.

9) The U.S. defense still did look a bit shaky

Not trying to be a Negative Nancy on such a glorious day, but now that the U.S. is still in the tournament, so we do have to say that things weren’t always secure in the back, although some of that is obviously Marta and the Brazilian attack. Now the team must do without Rachel Buehler for the semifinals, which leaves Sundhage with a dilemma: move LePeilbet inside and go with Stephanie Cox outside, OR leave LePeilbet (who I thought had her best match of the tournament today) at left and bring Becky Sauerbrunn in (even though Sauerbrunn would be coming in cold), OR Shannon Boxx at center defense, as we saw a little of today? Not likely, although interesting.
They’ll need to figure it out, because ….

10) France will be a stiff test in the semifinals

Brazil has better athletes and Marta, but – for my money (which isn’t much) – France has been the best team at the World Cup through four games. Although it took penalties, they took apart England in the second half and extra time and should be able to keep the ball better than Brazil (or anyone else the U.S. has played thus far). But I’ll have a preview either tomorrow night or early Tuesday, let’s take the time to enjoy this one first.

(By the way, Thomas Paine also tried his hand in the French Revolution as well, only things weren’t quite the same over there. Not sure where his loyalties would lie Wednesday, though.)


Hey, we’re Sweden over here

Unfortunately, the Sweden-Australia game gets pushed to the back burner today, as Australia’s youth an inexperience, especially in the back, finally brought their demise. There were some curious lineup selections from Tom Sermanni as well (like starting Ellyse Perry, who‘s a great story with the cricket and all, and scored a great goal, but was a liability defensively. Take nothing away from Lotta Schelin, who was very good, miles ahead of her performances in the first couple of games.

Double bonus

It’s not original, but …

Hopefully we’ll see some more of these soon. And hopefully they won’t be staged, you’ll have to judge for yourself.

Triple bonus

No Go Go, U.S.A.?

I’m disappointed in Ian Darke, although I guess that wouldn’t have been too original, either. Oh, well.

Quadruple Bonus

Go Go, WPS?

Might today’s victory – in the manner in which it happened – aired on a Sunday afternoon with very little else going on (it seemed to have buzz with people I normally don’t associate women’s soccer with), help save the WPS? Obviously, that’s very speculative and Jenna could answer that question (at a later date, perhaps) with much more evidence and validity than I can.




29 thoughts on “Women’s World Cup – Things We Learned: Go Go, USA Edition

  1. Paul Thomas

    I think the crowd was still angry at Marta for that travesty of a first goal against Norway. Yelling at a player down on the pitch probably didn’t help things, either.

    No one doubts her skill, but she has a deserved reputation as an unsporting player. Basically, she’s the women’s-side equivalent of Cristiano Ronaldo, with his constant play-acting and complaining to referees. And if you build up that kind of reputation, then you can expect that neutral observers will not give you the benefit of the doubt on close plays in the future.

    1. Ray Curren Post author

      That’s fair, but again I think the difference – even in the Norway incident – is that it’s not her job to call the foul, and she didn’t simulate or try to pull one over on the officials, they just didn’t call it. I think that’s a subtle but significant difference.
      Not going to defend everything she does, but I just hope people appreciate how good a player she is.

      1. cambridge_footie

        Oh.. I don’t agree at all :). For a Brazilian player I think Marta rides tackles and stays on her feet better than most, and she is so tricky she gets clipped a lot. She reminds me of Carlos Tevez that way. I would say Abby Wambach and Kelly Smith hit the ground more often.

        Nonetheless she did make the most of her contact with Buehler and obviously the crowd saw the replay and made up their own mind, so in that regard Marta has no one to blame but herself.

  2. Roger

    Great analysis Ray, as always!
    I too actually thought for a moment if Ali would take off her shirt after she scored. But, I think without a doubt, it was better that she did not. It surely would have not been seen as a spontaneous gesture and, if you remember the bulls**t criticism Brandi got in 99, it would have distracted from the story of the game.

    1. Ray Curren Post author

      A few hours later, I think I agree. Initially, it would have been very funny for us that watch women’s soccer on a regular basis, but the mainstream media would have turned it into something it’s not.
      Add to that it wasn’t a final, they still have two games left.

      1. Paul Thomas

        Minor miracle that no one seems to have gotten hurt in that celebration… particularly Hope Solo and her bionic shoulder.

        Hard to ask anyone to contain that kind of excitement though. I mean, that might literally have been the greatest World Cup game in history, and I’m not talking about just the women’s event.

        Curious to see if anyone has any other candidates.

    2. kdh2011

      I agree that it’s better she kept her shirt on. If the the final comes down to PKs or someone scores a go ahead goal very late that would be the moment for shirt removal. It’s been 12 years since Chastain did it and that moment is so well-remembered that I think it would better ingrain the new moment in the national memory. I also think that any controversy over the Chastain moment has long been forgotten and an homage would only inspire happy conversation.

  3. Sol Muser

    Complete props to the United States. It was a fantastic win, and I hope this powers them through to victory. I don’t think there has been this much devotion to US Women’s Soccer since 1999.

    Give credit to Marta; she’s now tied with Prinz for most goals ever scored at a World Cup. I wonder if in general the Brazilians were hard done by. A lot of it was self-inflicted (although some of it was a result of benefiting from poor officiating, but Americans and Europeans react to diving far harsher than Brazilians and other Latin Americans do (it is far more acceptable in Brazilian leagues where referees call fouls on even minimal contact.) There also tends to be some blinders about our own when they dive (*Abby Wambach*). I wrote about this a little today, and a lot before, on my blog.

  4. Angie in OK

    I know comparisons are inevitable, especially with the penalties, today’s anniversary, and the 99’ers in the announcing booth. But I hope we give the 2011 team a little more room to be their own unique team and do things in a slightly different fashion. So with that in mind, I am glad Krieger kept her jersey on 🙂

    1. Ray Curren Post author

      Also good that Krieger has seemed to get the credit she deserves beyond the penalty. A great story, and she’s had a great tournament.

  5. IzzyWSU

    I think brazilian players are individually better players than american players (the only exception is Hope Solo that are the better gk). I think all one should be proud about Brazil and show your respect for a team that played equally, against teams that have a hundred of friendly matches per year and teams that have respect of your confederation that invest in women’s soccer. We have a horrible coach and we had the worst preparation and no one support of CBF. Daniela Alves gave a interview last week and she said that one scale of one until ten, she give TWO for CBF support, and she said that she decided retire ( after Wambach broke her leg and disabled Daniela) of soccer because she was very disappointed with our ridiculous support… so I think all people that called Marta idiot and booed her and Brazil should feel ashamed, because she is a Hero, she borned in the most poor area of Brazil, where people sometimes don’t have water (because is very dry there), live under the poverty threshold and she is not one a player between others, but the best female soccer player and today she help all her family. People said that she has a bad attitude inside field, but none people saw the violent attitude of american players yesterday ( Lloyd she deserved no only one, more two red cards for her violence) and Marta was correct when she was mad with the referee! And talking about the referee, when she annulled the goal she was the only think she did correct yesterday and none american that understand soccer etiquette can talk on the contrary. So… for me, what I can say about the match yesterday is: (1) Marta continuos being the best player in the world, (2)a good preparation makes all the diference in the end, and talent don’t win a match alone, (3) USA did not do nothing more that their obligation winning, because they played against a amateur team, (4) USA don’t deserve win this WWC, because if Daiane didn’t do the own goal yesterday, probably the result today would be diferent and Sweden, Japan and France are better teams than USA on this WWC, (5) would be good for the women’s soccer in general, if other team (than Germany and USA) to win. (6) AND THE MOST IMPORTANT THING: Soccer never is fair, so Brazil lost yesterday, Germany won’t play Olympic Games (that won’t be the same thing without the germans) and we have a risk than USA will win this Cup, even they don’t deserve it.

    1. cambridge_footie

      While I see things a little differently I do agree with most of your points (except point 4). I think if you line up the starting 11 of the US and Brazil (and Germany) the US are less skillful. But football is a team sport and the US team seem a very unified group. They work harder for each other than any team in the tournament and obviously they have had a lot more preparation and are fitter than other teams.

      I think if Brazil had even a little support from their federation they could win every world cup. I also think if they played less like the men (with the diving, looking for cards, faking injury and screaming at the referee) they would have the biggest fanbase of any women’s team.

  6. barca10

    @IzzyWSU: the fact is, brazil lost this game for themselves. daiane scored an own goal and the pathetic play-acting by erika gave the US enough time to equalize. sure it is a sad situation that brazil doesn’t get the support form their federation. well women’s soccer is not exactly supported to such high levels in the US, either. it takes a real supporter of football to recognize great moments and give credit where credit is due and not to make excuses. brazil did not finish the match and they paid the consequence. ca y est, mon ami.

  7. augusto

    Funny. funny how the sundhage coach , in the EVE of day BEFORE, instead of rejoicing because she would face such an outdated, porous, lousy and what.ever else playing system of mr Lima, she took time to whip and beat it top to bottom by the press.
    Was she being just machiavelic (making him so stick to his system or formation even
    more stubbornly) as to have an easier task? Probably she is not that smart, pas vrai?

  8. casualfan

    I don’t want to dwell on bad calls, just for the sake of complaining about refs – that happens all too often. But I think if we just say “Yes, it was a bad call, but that’s the nature of the sport” we ignore the fact that, just like the teams that play in the World Cup, these referees should be *exceptional* referees.

    If we say “Oh well, the US won, so why does it matter?” It matters a lot! If we accept sub-par officiating as the norm, how can we expect to ever get a fair result? And there were a litany of rookie errors and omissions in that game, not the least of which were the two glaring mistakes that led to *both* of Brazil’s goals with what was clearly a 50/50 challenge between Buehler and Marta and the fact that Maurine was a good 2 yards offside on their goal in extra time.

    We hold players and coaches accountable for their mistakes all the time. Poor refereeing should be punished equally. Chalking it up as just another part of the beautiful game is simply unacceptable.

    1. TC

      Here Here. I agree 100%. After last year’s lousy calls at the WC many believed FIFA was going to try to do something. Here we are a year later another WC and the same old officiating issues. Just because USA won doesn’t change the poor officiating or the need for changes to be made. (The USA had to beat the team on the field and the referees too. –The sign of true champions.)

  9. casualfan

    Forgot to mention the no call on the challenge against Lepeilbet in the 106th minute in Brazil’s box. The Brazilian defender completely missed the ball and took Lepeilbet out of the play with her body. If that doesn’t constitute a foul and the subsequent penalty, nothing does.

  10. Marshall

    As a Brazilian, I believe that the best teams are the ones that play what whe call the “beautiful game” (Jogo Bonito): skilled and creative players, deft and fluid passing game, improvisation. This is what made us win 4 of our 5 World Cups with the men’s side (Unfortunately, the only exception is the 1994 World Cup, played in USA, in which coach Parreira almost drove me nuts with his defensive style… winning on PKs was maybe dramatic, but in terms of technical skills, it was a really bad display of soccer throughout the tournament, in my opinion. I even rank the 1982 MNT – the one who lost to Italy in Spain – higher than the 1994 squad. Call me purist – or crazy – if you want).

    With that in mind, I tried, as a fan, to forget that we had virtually no preparation heading into this World Cup. Playing against Chile and Argentina (with all due respect) is not remotely close to an adequate preparation. It got even worse when the volcano ashes from Chile prevented the Argentinian team to travel to Brazil, and the girls had to face players from the state of Pernambuco.

    I also tried to overlook the fact that these girls have almost no support from our federation (CBF). They travel to Germany with a minimum staff (no psychologist, no nutritionist, no assistant coach for physical preparation, not even cooks). They arrived, if I’m not mistaken, later than any other team. They have very little time to play together.

    Several players were playing out of position. Rosana, who is a left wing, played as a forward. Maurine, a right wing, played on the left side (on a side note, I believe her move to WNY Flash effectively killed her momentum and took all the playing rhythm she had). Formiga was coming off an injury and was unemployed when got selected, because Gabriela was not fit enough to be with the squad.

    All these things together were probably a sign of an early exit, but as a fan, I tried to ignore them, because I believed (as a very stubborn fan, I still believe) that talent could overcome all those things. Attacking talent is something we definitely have. No team can create opportunities out of nothing like we do. Even knowing that the USA team is much more organized, better coached, MUCH more tactically disciplined and mentally stronger, I kept the faith (I believe it comes from getting used to winning. This is what usually happens with our volleyball teams – but not yesterday, because we also lost in the final of the World League to Russia… But I can’t complain on this one, since we won 7 of the last 10 World League titles and we finished 2nd in two of the other three).

    And I did this especially because of Marta. I really think she deserves to be a World Champion someday, because of everything she had been through. She doesn’t deserve to be known as the best woman to ever play soccer AND never win a WC.

    The game was energy draining. Fate was really cruel with all brazilian girls, especially with her. In the waning moments of the match I was thinking “Too bad this brazilian win will be marked with an asterisk – they won because of those horrible calls (although some of them were actually correct and mistakes happened either way) and stuff like that”, but I also didn’t want it to end that way. This was a game to end in a tie with both teams advancing, if it were possible. Technically speaking, it was not a beautiful game. Apart from Marta and Cristiane, the rest of the brazilian team played awfully bad… AWFULLY. Bizarre passes, a terrible own goal, bad decisions… Rosana probably played the worst match of her career, essencially killing any chances Brazil had whenever she touched the ball.

    I got really sad with the result, but the worst part was reading the criticism against the players, especially Marta. Regarding the time wasting tactics, unfortunately it is part of the culture of latin american teams. I’m sad that Erika is probably not going to be remembered as the girl who scored a wonderful goal against Guinea, but the one who faked an injury (I’m so used of watching teams do those things that it doesn’t bother me any more… sadly). And especially Marta being booed the way she was. Don’t think she did anything that offensive to be treated like that (Abby was actually diving a lot when Marta yelled at her… I mean, she shouldn’t do that, but it wasn’t for no reason). I even consider that she behaves much better than I’d expect from someone who skipped classes to play soccer as a young girl, who had to leave home at age 14 and live away from her parents. I’m glad that I’m not the only one that thinks she got an unfair treatment.

    But this “small post” can’t be only about Brazil (thank you for your patience if you’ve come this far). The american team showed a great example of team spirit and believe-till-the-last-second mindset… good examples to give to my children.

    At least there’s the olympic tournament next year… hopefully with a different ending.

    — Marcus.

    1. Ray Curren Post author

      Well said. I think if I were Brazilian, I would have written the same thing, word for word.

    2. Paul Thomas

      Hey, it could be worse. Germany losing to Japan eliminated them from TWO tournaments.

      Talk about harsh.

    3. Rick

      Marshall and to all for that matter

      This was from an article describing the game; from what I read here the fans in the stadium started out booing and whistling because the referee made the call to take the re-kick on the Marta penalty. Her action to the crowd after the kick is what probably turned them against her.

      “As the crowd jeered and whistled, Marta stepped up for the retake, staring down her old foe. Solo cost Marta and the Brazilians the gold medal in Beijing, stopping a point-blank blast from Marta in the 72nd minute of the Olympic final. This time, however, Marta got the best of the U.S. keeper, burying the ball to pull the Brazilians even.
      As she walked away from the spot, Marta slapped her right arm and woofed at the crowd.”

      Here my take on this game, as someone who played for 32 years, in Europe and the US, is a coach and a referee; BOTH teams played hard during the game and there were bad call’s made both sides of the ball, however as we as coaches tell our teams, you play on regardless of the calls. I have always believed that a good team will prevail against a great group of individuals 90% of the time; this game proved it once again. Player for player I think Brazil was stronger than the US team, however the US played as one unit out there, they attacked as a team and defended as a team. When there were one on one matchups the US lost around 85% of the time, what helped them is when one got beat there was another player right there to take up the slack. I do believe this game proved one thing – gone are the days of the USWNT dominance in the world. Brazil was technically more sound than the US, for that matter form what I have seen of in this WWC, so are allot of other teams. If the US wants to stay on top they need to have a fresh young crop of players be creative on the ball, and still come out and give everything for a team.


    4. Shwetha

      Good blog! I absolutely genniue love your sort of writing. i’m speculating how i’ll turn out to be notified every time a brand new submit has been made. I even have subscribed to your rss feed which actually ought to do the trick! Have a nice day!

  11. Ray Curren Post author

    I think Izzy brings up good points, and if I was Brazilian I would be upset on many levels today, particularly that the federation (and to some extent, the country) never really gave the team the support it deserved. Brazil should have won the game on paper, but didn’t have the preparation, played with a crazy setup, and never seemed to buy into their coach in general. You already know how I stand with Marta.

    Many people seem to think the red card call was correct. I disagree, but to blanket and say everything is unfair is tough, too. It seems like every sport (baseball and basketball to name two) has its officials under more scrutiny these days.

    I shudder to think what the reaction would have been had the U.S. lost. What was remarkable about the U.S. is how they overcame the adversity, that’s the lesson. Don’t whine about things that are unfair (perceived or not), go out and change it for the better as best you can.

  12. Marshall

    Thanks, guys.

    Glad to see somebody else was patient enough to read everything! 🙂

    Good luck against France.

  13. Toni from Germany

    Great match! Really fun to watch. This game had everything a great game needs: A lot of goals, outragous refereeing, a red card, a sudden turn of events (more than once), great plays and equally great mistakes, suspense, tragedy, joy and tremendously skillfull players.
    I started out rooting for Brasil because I just love to see Marta play. I think it’s a shame that the crowd yelled ant booed at her every time she touched the ball. Sadly that’s quite common in German stadiums. But after the repetition of the penalty my sympathies shifted towards USA. I have to say though, I think penalty was the right call because Marta went for the ball whereas Buehler just tried to stop her by holding and a badly timed tackle. The red card was unjustified and I don’t see why it couldn’t have been yellow. Marta wasn’t in clear control of the ball. The repetition of the penalty was just ridicoulos. After that I couldn’t help but to hope that the US would be able to survive somehow. Marta’s brilliant goal then warmed my heart for Brasil a little but Wombach’s fantastic header in the last second of the game settled it for me.
    Over here, most people see Angerer as the world’s best keeper, but I agree with you that Hope Solo is way better. She had a great game and looks far more confident than Angerer in general.
    After the sad and dissapointing dissmissal of Germany the other day, this game really lifted my spirits. But now I’m left in a pickle because I can’t decide who to root for. USA, France and Japan all showed great soccer and have me excited. Japan are tactically and technically flawless, France play refreshing and skillfull attacking football and USA always show great determination and dynamic.
    Although it pains me to say it: Germany’s elimination is probably right. All 4 teams left had their ups and downs in the group stages but then showed their best in the querterfinals. Germany didn’t.


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