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World Cup Matchday: USA-England

[updated]

Greetings from Tianjin, where the air has cleared a bit, a breeze has picked up and the sparkling new 55,000-seat stadium awaits two quarterfinals over the next 24 hours: USA-England today, Brazil-Australia tomorrow.

You remember what happened 57 years ago in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, right? That massively favored England (men's) team lost to the fledgling Americans in one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history. Now I am not about to compare an England upset of the USA today in the Women's World Cup quarterfinals to that shocker, but for the English, the prospect of a victory here could have immense implications for women's football in Britain and trigger some serious soul-searching on the part of the Americans. You can read about the English side by clicking here.

Despite their sluggish play, I still cannot fathom a USA loss this early in the tournament. However, if the English slow down the match and the Americans fail to break them down and seize the lead, we could have the potential for a gritty, tight, unsightful game. And the Kelly Smith factor could become a major concern for the U.S. defense.

USA lineup: Solo; Rampone, Whitehill, Markgraf, Lopez; Chalupny, Boxx, Osborne; O'Reilly, Wambach, Lilly.

In case you missed it, Germany scored three times in 28 minutes bridging halftime to thump North Korea, 3-0, and move into Wednesday's semifinal against China or Norway.

As usual, your pregame, in-game and postgame thoughts are welcome here.

By Steve Goff  |  September 22, 2007; 4:51 AM ET
Categories:  World  
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Comments

Once again, thanks for the updates. I'm still cautiously optimistic for the US against England.

Posted by: sitruc | September 22, 2007 5:11 AM | Report abuse

Glad to hear its not raining! I think we can pull this one off but the silver lining of a loss would be the boost it gives to women's soccer in England and the hopes of seeing Kelly Smith, and others, in the WUSA come 2009. Just think of what fun it will be to be able to see Marta, Svenson, Smith, Prinz, etc. every weekend.

Posted by: mlh | September 22, 2007 5:36 AM | Report abuse

Germany has just gone up 1-0 in the 44th minute.

Posted by: sitruc | September 22, 2007 5:45 AM | Report abuse

However, an England win would decrease the likelihood that there would be a league in this country in '09.

Posted by: Section 410 | September 22, 2007 6:17 AM | Report abuse

What's your reasoning for that Section 410? Even if the US doesn't win, things have been backed up until 2009 so they would be banking on the Olympics if anything.

Posted by: sitruc | September 22, 2007 6:22 AM | Report abuse

BSPN2 just confirmed Goff's suspicion about the Osborne-for-Lloyd switch, along with DiCicco's comment that he is a bit disappointed that this switch appears to be defensive in nature.

Posted by: Section 410 | September 22, 2007 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Just started watching - but it seems like NK will score soon. Have they been having these sort of chances all match?

Posted by: emanon | September 22, 2007 6:27 AM | Report abuse

Nice goal by the Germans. Poor defense from the Koreans, but it was still good passing and build up as well as finishing.

Posted by: sitruc | September 22, 2007 6:27 AM | Report abuse

guess I jinxed them - nice goal Germany

Posted by: emanon | September 22, 2007 6:28 AM | Report abuse

NK has had several good chances. They have no finishing ability though. Most of the time they don't even shoot. The shot that resulted in a great save by the German keeper was probably the best shot of the match for Korea. Most Korean shots haven't been on frame.

Posted by: sitruc | September 22, 2007 6:29 AM | Report abuse

3-0.

Posted by: sitruc | September 22, 2007 6:30 AM | Report abuse

1. An early exit in this tournament would lead any bookie to ratchet down the odds of an Olympic gold medal a year from now.

2. Even if the USA does grab Olympic gold, I'm still not sure about the likely impact, publicity-wise; it will be competing for media attention with all of the other Olympic events going on concurrently.

Posted by: Section 410 | September 22, 2007 6:32 AM | Report abuse

As a followup observation, just how much impact on the public consciousness did the Olympic triumphs in '96 and '04 make?

Posted by: Section 410 | September 22, 2007 6:35 AM | Report abuse

I hate to say it, but in mainstream America, Olympic gold carries much more weight than a Women's World Cup title. So in terms of boosting the league in '09, the U.S. team is better off not winning here this year and winning gold next summer (and not vice versa). Of course, winning both would be the ideal scenario. ;-)

Posted by: Goff | September 22, 2007 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Steve i'm wondering what the crowd size is. The stadiums were not very packed for the first round games. Since we are now in elimination and it is on a weekend, does the crowd look bigger today?

Posted by: Todd | September 22, 2007 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Final
Germany 3:0 North Korea

Posted by: sitruc | September 22, 2007 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Goff: After reading your article, if I were a potential investor, I might be more interested in an upgraded English league than one in the U.S. or anywhere else. (I think I read somewhere that WWC TV ratings are pretty good in Germany, too; however, the matches are taking place in the middle of the day in Europe.)

Posted by: Section 410 | September 22, 2007 6:53 AM | Report abuse

No way to gauge the crowd size tonight until kickoff.

Posted by: Goff | September 22, 2007 6:56 AM | Report abuse

Gotta say, that opener on ESPN just got me psyched for the match.

Posted by: Todd | September 22, 2007 6:59 AM | Report abuse

The stadium holds 55K for WWC; it's fair to say it won't be anywhere near full tonight. It won't be half-full either.

Posted by: Goff | September 22, 2007 7:50 AM | Report abuse

damn. Foudy's mic is working now. I had hoped JP's would go bad too.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 22, 2007 8:00 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't look like a bad crowd, but yeah...the crowd looks relatively sparse.

Posted by: sitruc | September 22, 2007 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Looks like we are still the second fastest team on the pitch....

Posted by: JkR | September 22, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Wow, is this bad.

At halftime, let's go straight to PKs.

Posted by: Goff | September 22, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

What happened to the U.S. women of old? Am I mistaken in saying that previous U.S. teams used to at least attempt to knock the ball around?

I feel like I'm watching Lewis County (WV) High School soccer.. Boot Ball!

Not that pleasing to the eye..

Posted by: K-Shel | September 22, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

US-England scoreless at half

Posted by: sitruc | September 22, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Not much to say about the US' first touch but this: their second touch is a tackle...

Posted by: JkR | September 22, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

That halftime report was a joke, but Heather looks nice.

Posted by: 'Ol Shin Guard | September 22, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I don't think I'm alone in thinking those Nike ads are insulting to fans of the game. This team gets a fair amount of press.

Posted by: JkR | September 22, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm watching the GER-DPRK highlights for the second time. They are still more exciting than the USA-ENG match.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 22, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

USA 1 England 0
USA! USA!! USA!!!

Posted by: sitruc | September 22, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

FinallY!! Abby! Pretty dodgy marking

Posted by: JkR | September 22, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

did abby head it clean, or did it take a deflection?

Posted by: USA USA | September 22, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

USA 2 England 0
Boxx

Posted by: sitruc | September 22, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

US looks to have had a Starbucks at halftime (or at least a ginseng tea), while England apparently had the red wine....


Goal! Azo!

Posted by: JkR | September 22, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

USA 3 England 0
Lilly

Posted by: sitruc | September 22, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

This is similar to North Korea - Germany. North was seemed like the better team for most of the first half and then Germany dominated for 20+ minutes and that was the game.

Posted by: Todd | September 22, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

We're playing so much better AFTER the third goal that we have all tournament.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 22, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

That one's for the Stamp Act, you bastages!

Posted by: Die England Die | September 22, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

USA advances beating England 3:0

Posted by: sitruc | September 22, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Any thoughts on the fact that Ryan continues to be very stingy in his use of subs, even when up by three goals?

Posted by: Section 410 | September 22, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Seemed to me the USA finally started playing better near the end of the first half then cranked it up further in the second half. That first goal was classic Wambach. Thought Chalupny, O'Reilly and Lopez had good games. I usually like JP but had to turn the sound off early....silence is golden.

Posted by: mlh | September 22, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Once up 3-0, there is really no reason to leave all of the first team in.

A confidence boost? A reward for scoring? Who knows. I'd prefer to protect and rest a couple of starters and blood some less experience players as well.

4 days rest is fine, but it does not compare to actual in-game experience.

Use the bench!

Posted by: The Bench Wants In Too | September 22, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

We all know it but it bears repeating:

Abby is such a bad ass.

Posted by: ursula | September 22, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Ryan is/was right to not use his subs till very late, regardless of what Foudy was saying. The thing is this team has struggled all tournament to get a rhythm and the idea of subbing today just when the rhythm was getting established- thereby breaking said rhythm- is plain silly.

If the US wins this tournament it will be because of the starters getting in a groove, not from some luck by a sub.

Posted by: ursula | September 22, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I get the idea of 'hey, they got it together', but at the 70 minute mark, with the game solidly out of reach for the England team, it makes sense to rest some folks when fatigue is a known issue.

The rhythm comes less from a target player, for example, so subbing Abby should be fine.

Likewise, changing one middie should not unduly affect things (if the right person is brought in).

Rhythm can be worked on in training sessions, but real live game experience -- playing on the Big Stage -- is a rare commodity that Ryan needs to spread around a bit.

Posted by: The Bench Wants In Too | September 22, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

This is apparently what Goff has filed for the dead-tree version of the Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/22/AR2007092200513.html

Posted by: Section 410 | September 22, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

That was interesting. Just wore 'em down physically and then mentally. Osborne was tremendous defensively, back line stellar again, Chalupny all over the park again. Three clean sheets in a row (to 4 for Germany).

Many teams have learned the hard way not to let Ms. Wambach slip her mark on a corner.

Root for Australia as the easier match-up, or Brazil for what could be a tremendous show?

Germany looked pretty strong this morning. I love a good 1-2 in the box. It will take 90 minutes of soccer to beat them, not 45.

Posted by: WNT fan | September 22, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

The Germans looked very good against North Korea. Kerstin Garefrekes was outstanding -- she plays very similarly to Kaka.

Posted by: RJK | September 22, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Similiarly to Kaka - except a lot slower.

Posted by: Grrls Drool | September 22, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Germany is lucky to have the draw they have.

Posted by: sitruc | September 23, 2007 5:14 AM | Report abuse

Should we continue to use this thread to discuss Sunday morning action? There is a more recent thread, but it is devoted to the upcoming DCU-Fire match.

Posted by: Section 410 | September 23, 2007 6:33 AM | Report abuse

De Vanna steals a backpass to bring the Matildas back to within one. Is Brasil's defense vulnerable?

Posted by: Section 410 | September 23, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Goff: Are you off to Hangzhou yet?

Posted by: Section 410 | September 23, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

hmm - maybe the US won't be facing Brazil in the next round. Aussies have tied it up

Posted by: emanon | September 23, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Final
Norway 1 China 0

Brazil just went up 3-2 over Australia after deciding they wanted to win.

Posted by: sitruc | September 23, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Brazil moves on to play the US beating the Matildas 3-2. There were a few questionable fouls, calls, and non-calls in this one.

Posted by: sitruc | September 23, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

A rebroadcast of one of the quarerfinals is scheduled for ESPN2 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern (http://soccertv.com/espn.cfm). Does anyone know which match will be shown?

Posted by: Section 410 | September 23, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Is this the first match that hinged on refereeing? I don't recall other WWC ' 07 matches that were as dependent on the ref as this one.

I thought the Brazilian penalty was wrongly awarded, and that they should have had one against late in the match. A critical swing.

Both teams looked faster than the US.

Posted by: JkR | September 23, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

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