World Cup Matchday: USA-Sweden
For those checking in from the States, a good very early morning.
After spending my final full day in Chengdu at the extraordinary panda reserve north of town, witnessing a road rage incident in which the guys in the nice car took metal poles to the shabby vehicle (I can assure you that no insurance information was exchanged) and lunching at HighFly Pizza (we went with the Back to Sicily with potato, bacon, roasted pepper, tomato mushroom, although the Fruit Family with apple, banana and pineapple was awfully tempting), it's back to the stadium for the U.S.-Sweden first-round showdown.
For the first time since arriving, we've been blessed with a mostly cloudless and haze-less day in Sichuan's party capital. After playing in the rain Tuesday, the players will have to endure an intense sun and a touch of humidity for this late-afternoon kickoff. If you are watching on TV, don't expect to see many fans in the crowd at the start. It's Friday rush hour, after all, and the city's subway system is still under construction.
USA starting lineup changes: Tarpley and Osborne are in, Boxx and O'Reilly are out.
The XI is Solo; Rampone, Whitehill, Markgraf, Lopez; Chalupny, Osborne, Lloyd; Tarpley, Wambach, Lilly.
Twenty minutes before kickoff, a military band in an upper section broke into a jazzy rendition of "Jingle Bells." Are you kidding me?
As usual, your pregame, in-game and postgame rants are welcome here.
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