The third place match brought me back to the aptly name Beautiful View (Bela Vista) Stadium in Parchal. Originally scheduled for 10:15, I realized that it probably wasn’t going to start then when I arrived at 9:50, and the US players were just getting off their bus. The revised start time was 11 am, which gave me plenty of time to configure my wifi connection.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, and the connection remained flakey throughout the match, finally conking out for good about halfway through the second half. It was particularly annoying because whenever I lost the connection, I had to log back in from scratch, a process that generally took about five minutes even when it worked the first time, which was seldom. (Apologies to my Twitter followers who have heard this rant already.)
This also means that my focus was more on keeping the wifi working than on the match, so you’re not going to see a lot of in-depth analysis here. I’ll just make a few pithy comments:
– Alex Morgan is the real deal. Just look at the highlight reel and see how she finds ways of getting the ball past the goalkeeper.
– Nicole Barnhart is a solid goalkeeper.
– The US defense can thank Barney, their lucky stars, and Swedish finishing that they didn’t give up several goals. There were two clear times and several less clear occasions when Swedish forwards got one-on-one with Barnhart, but their finishing wasn’t nearly as deadly as Morgan’s as Barney managed to parry every chance.
I’ll insert two videos here: First, an AllWhiteKit exclusive interview with Christie Rampone. (There should have been an Alex Morgan clip as well, but somehow your intrepid reporter forgot to press the big red button on his Flipcam, so none of it got recorded.)
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Second, US Soccer’s highlight reel.
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After the interview with Christie, I hopped in my car and headed back east. I had the option of swinging by the Estadio Algarve but instead continued on and had a nice afternoon hike in the hills overlooking the river that divides Spain and Portugal. (Before this trip, I didn’t even realize that was what divided the two countries.) That was possibly a mistake as Germany-Japan proved to be a real thriller, with three goals scored in the final few minutes and Germany coming out on top.
In the morning I take the train back to Lisbon and spend a few days there before flying home. Thanks to AWK proprietress Jenna Pel for providing me with a platform, to USWNT’s press officer Aaron Heifetz for his help with interviews and information, and to all my Twitter followers, new and old, for their support. See you in the stadiums!