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Everything I write here, I cribbed from others. I have nothing new. But this blog serves as my memory, if nothing else, so ...

There are two ways to look at this match (of course I know there are more than two, but bear with me).  When Julie Johnston committed a foul in the box for a German penalty, it was heartbreaking for a player who has been as good as anyone in the tournament. But the U.S. was actually lucky, because the referee awarded a penalty and a yellow card, when it should have been a red card. If the U.S. had to play the final half-an-hour short-handed, the result might well have been different. Then, when Alex Morgan drew a penalty at the other end of the field, the penalty call was missed ... she was outside the box. The two most crucial referee decisions of the match both went against the Germans.

On the other hand, there's this: the Germans missed their penalty, the Americans made theirs.

And, in the words of the immortal Norberto Longo, dos palabras: Torsten Frings.

Meanwhile, it was a match that "lived up to the hype". The U.S. did everything except score in the first half, in the second half the Germans were much more lively, and the last 30 minutes had everything.

here comes usa-germany

I watch a lot of sporting events alone. I mean, I attend a lot of games, and obviously that's a public participation deal. But I don't usually go to bars, or even friends/family homes. There is something too intimate about really caring who wins or loses, something I don't want to expose to others. So, when the Giants won three World Series on the road, I watched at home by myself.

I'll be at home for USA-Germany. I'll connect with others by following Twitter updates, but mostly I'll be suffering alone. Note I said "suffering" ... clearly, I don't anticipate a U.S. victory. I don't have any inside insights. I just think the Germans are a better team. I don't expect a blowout ... maybe 2-1 to the Germans.

Most people are saying this is the true "final" ... whoever wins will be favored in the final. But that opponent will likely be Japan, the defending champions, so it won't be a pushover.

Meanwhile, if you need further incentive to catch the match, there's this from Allison McCann at FiveThirtyEight:

"U.S. vs. Germany Is The Greatest Women’s World Cup Game Of All Time"

spain and the women's national team

"Sexism is Corruption: Spain's Women Stand Up for the Game"

Jennifer Doyle:

Women athletes in these programs are deeply alienated from the federation’s administrative structures. Women athletes in these programs see no future for themselves—not on the pitch, not as coaches, not in any of the structures that govern the game. If they are lucky, they leave their country. Or just make peace with it, stick with a grassroots sports scene, and do something else with their lives.

Many women’s teams have every right to just flat out strike. FIFA’s structures force women’s programs into a deeper part of its sewer—where men are coerced into complicity with FIFA’s corruption through the promise of fame and financial fortune, women are coerced into silence with the threat of being removed from the game altogether.

The more people who stand with these athletes, right now, the better.


If it didn't match the rush of Germany-France, it certainly pleased fans of the USA. I'll agree with those pundits who noted the Americans' strategy worked, despite the loss of Rapinoe and Holiday, because of a third absence, that of Abby Wambach. Their pressing was a joy to behold ... for the first half and much of the second, the U.S. tirelessly hounded the Chinese whenever and wherever they had the ball, never giving China a chance to mount any significant threats. Often, when a team scores a goal, the commentators will say that you could see it coming, and in this case, the cliche was true. The U.S. was deserved winners, playing their best game of the Cup so far.

What to do about Germany? We get to rest a bit, but U.S. coach Jill Ellis is already planning the strategy for the Germans. Based on what France was able to accomplish, it seems clear Ellis will opt for more speed, which works well with Rapinoe's return, and which should mean that Wambach starts on the bench.

Meanwhile, from Associated Press, "Players Cite Blisters, Turf Burns as Artificial Surface Remains WWC Issue".

Finally, while all of the above was going on, Argentina and Colombia played a very good match in Copa América. There's an abundance of soccer right now.


A match for the ages. No talk about FIFA (although it couldn't have been easy playing 120 minutes on that turf), no thoughts to Chile and Copa América, not even much thinking about the USA-China match to follow. Just two teams playing entertaining soccer until they started dropping like flies.

I don't how a fan of either team could stand it. Well, I do understand, I've been there. But this time, I was a neutral, and I could watch on the literal edge of my seat without worrying that life would end if the result went differently than I'd wanted. Perhaps I sided ever so slightly for France ... Germany has worn down so many teams over the years ... but when it ended, the result was fair, or as fair as any match left to penalties can be.

And ... OK, I did think a bit about the USA. If they get past China in 90 minutes, they will be more rested than the Germans next week. Heck, Rapinoe and Holiday will be VERY rested.

But for another half hour, as I await China-USA, I can think back on the best match of this Cup so far.

the usa, and a finger in your ass

Today it gets serious. First, Germany and France. France is one of the top three teams in the tournament. Unfortunately for them, Germany is probably the top team. Still, it has the makings of being the best match of the Cup so far. Then, the USA goes against China, without Rapinoe and Holiday. I think they will win, I don't expect it to be a blowout, and then they'll face the winner of GER-FRA, which will be the big test.

And yet, you could say the WWC has been overshadowed once again by Copa América, this time for something bizarre. In the match between Chile and Uruguay, Chilean Gonzalo Jara figured out a way to get inside Uruguay's Edinson Cavani, who was already carrying a yellow card.


Chile went on to beat the undermanned Uruguayans.

the turf

Artificial turf controversy a constant in backdrop of Women's World Cup

Laurent Dubois at Sports Illustrated:

The debate over turf is important, however, as a symptom of something much larger: the ongoing inequalities in support for women’s and men’s soccer programs globally. The artificial turf is a metaphor, a very visible and inescapable reminder many ways in which institutional forces continue to hold back the development of the women’s game, quite literally impacting its most brilliant and inspiring players

time has come today (or soon)

The USWNT Must Evolve or Die

Billy Haisley for Deadspin:

With more attention brought to the sport after every Olympics and World Cup, there are now teams from all over who have been groomed their whole sporting lives to compete against the world’s best. Japan’s success has probably been the biggest marker of this transition, but even more subtle is the presence and performance of teams like the Netherlands, Spain, and even Colombia in this tournament.

What these nations newer to the big stage benefit from that the U.S. doesn’t is a cultural tradition of soccer at the highest men’s level. Because of America’s early dominance in the sport and our financial muscle, we've been able to make what amounts to the strongest American players possible. The U.S. is very familiar with training athletes to maximize their physical abilities, giving us edges in strength, speed, and endurance that few have been able to match.

We’re now seeing now, though, is that soccer-specific institutional knowledge can erase much of that physical advantage in just a generation or two. Nations like Brazil and Spain may not put as much time, effort, or money in women’s soccer as they could, but because the coaches and players grow up in an environment where soccer tactics are part of the everyday sporting conversation, and sun-up to sun-down street games that hone one-touch passing skills and close control are an everyday occurrence, those girls are being educated on a completely different level—one that prepares them to flick and flit their way past bigger, faster, and stronger girls with the techniques and tactics that win soccer games.

usa still alive

The USA is through to the quarterfinals, where they will play China on Friday. I agree with many pundits who think the U.S. hasn't shown much yet, but results are results. Defending champs Japan should beat the Netherlands in the final round-of-16 match, which means China will arguably be the worst team still remaining. The U.S. should beat them, but they'll be without Rapinoe and Holiday, which matters.