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USA Women Win Group

The USA women were on course to face world champion Germany or nemesis Brazil in the Olympic quarterfinals. But after their 4-0 rout of New Zealand and Norway's stunning 5-1 loss to Japan today, the Americans found themselves atop their first-round group on goal difference and paired with regional rival Canada in the knockout stage.

Heather O'Reilly scored in the first minute and Amy Rodriguez, Lindsay Tarpley and Angela Hucles added goals for the United States, which rebounded from its opening loss to Norway with a pair of shutout victories and avoided the Germans and Brazilians in the quarterfinals.

On Friday in Shanghai, the Americans (2-1-0) will play Canada (1-1-1), a team they've beaten three times this year by a combined 11-0 (including a 6-0 result at RFK Stadium in May) and tied 1-1 in the Olympic qualifying tournament.

The other quarterfinals:
-- Brazil (2-0-1) vs. Norway (2-1-0)
-- Germany (2-0-1) vs. Sweden (2-1-0)
-- China (2-0-1) vs. Japan (1-1-1)

If the USA wins, it would face China or Japan in the semifinals.

By Steve Goff  |  August 12, 2008; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Olympics , Women  
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Comments

So, assuming Brazil has replaced Norway on the world stage for women's soccer, does every major enternational tournament come down to Brazil, Germany, China, and the United States?

Posted by: TCompton | August 12, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Wow, is Japan overachieving, or have they improved their program that much?

Posted by: 22206 | August 12, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Three strong regional rivalries for the quarters. China v. Japan might be a bit of a grudge match, eh?

Posted by: JB | August 12, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope the U-23 + 3 men can do the same . . . win and avoid a quarter final date with Argentina.

The Group B winner would likely play either Ivory Coast or Australia.

And the Group B runner up wins an epic match with Argentina . . . bring it!!!!

Posted by: delantero | August 12, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

In addition to the tie in Oly qualifying, US beat Canada 1-0 on a goal deep into stoppage time in Korea. This is not a pushover game by any means.

Notwithstanding the 4-0 result today it seems like there are several things that need improvement to win gold. I am not sure what Hucles is bringing to the forward position. They have talked about being less predictable, and it is true that 4 different players scored, but there is still very little true possession through the middle. Wagner did get some time at the end, and showed that skill, but the ease with which she was muscled off the ball may gave a clue as to why Sundhage is not using her more. On balance I'd still have her in there instead of Hucles.

We're not getting the killer ball in the last third, she can give that.

I thought Beuhler was very good in the middle; Chalupny and Mitts were brilliant, except the one ball that got in behind Mitts over her head is real trouble against Brazil or Germany.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 12, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that no one went 3-0...

Posted by: RK | August 12, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Can someone who watched Norway vs. Japan tell me how Norway managed to lose by so much and get pushed out of first place in the group?

Posted by: Tim F. | August 12, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Norway v. Japan is on the Oly soccer channel right now.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 12, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

does every major enternational tournament come down to Brazil, Germany, China, and the United States?
Posted by: TCompton | August 12, 2008 9:45 AM
=================

Pretty much. The US is a perpetual contender. Norway and China were our main competition from 1991-1999. Then they ebbed (Norway before China) and Brazil and Germany began their surge.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 12, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

wow, quite a beat down. LWW (Life Without Wambach) isn't so bad after all.

Posted by: voyager | August 12, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Easy there... this was New Zealand.

Posted by: DCU_Rick | August 12, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

More evidence that if you're going to lose a game in a three-game preliminary round, make it the first one.

Posted by: Joe Doc | August 12, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

/begin rant/

I caught a bit of the women's game before heading to work today and does anyone else out there find Brandi Chastain's color incredibly annoying? If you listen to her you would think she never lost a game in her life and she played every position perfectly. I'm all for former players and people that know the game providing insight but patronizing and self absorbed commentary of Chastain stinks.

/end rant/

Posted by: AlexandriaDan | August 12, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The Chastain commentary I've heard has been pretty good, although she seems to target young players as her comments are often instructional. Having said that, I only saw non-US games. I do think she has a chip on each shoulder: 1 for not being selected even though she never formally retired and 2 for her husband not getting the WNT head coach job.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 12, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Yep; between her and balboa it's enough to make you sick. If I here Balboa say "I like it" on more time I may vomit. But, on the other hand, they aren't quite as annoying as Joe "IlovemyselfbecauseI'msmarterthaneveryone" Theisman.

Posted by: Hacksaw | August 12, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Easy there... this was New Zealand.

Posted by: DCU_Rick | August 12, 2008 10:44 AM
=======================================

NZ drew with Japan and lost to Norway by one goal in its other matches. That is quite respectable.

Posted by: tri-village | August 12, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The showdown with Canada will be at 6:00 a.m. EDT on Friday. Have the suits at NBC yet decided whether to put it on MSNBC or USA?

Also, is anyone surprised that Kai has been used sparingly so far? With Wambach out, she was the squad's leading scorer heading into this tournament. Given the way she burned Canada at RFK three months ago, it might be fun to see more of her.

Posted by: tri-village | August 12, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Truly a miraculous morning, given the unexpected Norway result. Can DCU keep it going tonight against the Revs without Reis (or as some posters believe, the "god of goalkeeping")?

Posted by: BillyBob | August 12, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Maybe New Zealand was not that bad, but as Chastain was pointing out (over and over) they were never compact on D, since they choose to play with intense high pressure. As a result the US had a lot more time and space in the middle than they will see against Brazil or Germany, or Canada for that matter, and notwithstanding the score I don't think they really exploited it. IMO if Pia is intent on using both Boxx and Lloyd, should she think about 4-5-1 with Wagner sitting in behind Kai or A-Rod, with Tarpley and O'Reilly on the wings?

US certainly is missing Wambach, but IMO they really miss Osborne too. She gave them a lot of line-up flexibility in MF that they are missing.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 12, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Re: Ally in the midfield - sorry, but when Pia put her in the game I immediately understood why they kept her: calm possession and on-target passes into the final third. Up to that point the midfield was out of control. And yes, this was New Zealand.

Boxx is a better player when Ally is on the field.

Re: Brandi's commentary. Unless there are former WNT players lurking here, or maybe Anson or Tony D - Brandi knows more about the game than us. put together. I got tired of other commentators pouring sugar on iffy performances or players - and really tired hearing how the ball was "taken away" when one or another of our players just mis-hit the silly thing.

Brandi generally calls a spade a spade - and I appreciate the tips she throws. She should be coaching somewhere.

Re: Hucles up top. Sorry again but no - she just doesn't seem to be on the same page as the others. Sub Wagner in for Hucles and (maybe) rotate Kai and Tarpley.

YMMV.

Posted by: EastMont | August 12, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Wagner is great technically and delivers wonderful balls. She is not aggressive, is easy to knock off the dribble.

Thought it was interesting that Rachel Buehler played for Markgraf. Given the importance of the match, I doubt that it was for rest. Markgraf has not impressed me - seems like a pointed move.

Posted by: Old Colt | August 12, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The women should make it to the finals but there they will get killed by either Brazil or Germany. The absence of Wambach will not make a difference, either of those teams are every bit as athletic as the Americans, and both teams are far better technically and tactically than the Americans.

Brandi is not too bad a commentator; maybe just a bit raw. She just needs to let JP Dellacamera get a word in edgewise once in a while.

Posted by: Ron | August 12, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I'll probably get flamed for this, so be it, but I wonder if perhaps the women's game shouldn't be played with 40 minute halves instead of 45. In many of the games I have seen, the women are so gassed during the last 10-15 minutes the pace is just glacially slow.

Posted by: Ron | August 12, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

And the road just got a little easier (although China would be tough at home).

Chastain... "you know, New Zealand is a small island nation". Thanks Brandi! And what the hell is up with your hair?

Posted by: jake | August 12, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Some sad, slightly off-topic news.

Prince Octopus was eliminated by a Cuban:

http://dcunited.mlsnet.com/schedule/scoreboard/season.jsp?team=t103

If we can't get Hope Solo to challenge Zach Wells surely we can get Prince Octopus to frighten opposing forwards away from our penalty area.

Posted by: garbaggio | August 12, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: garbaggio | August 12, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I rarely harp on the commentators ... but Brandi got on my nerves today ... at one point likening the players to peacocks.

Balboa > Brandi

Posted by: United fan in TN | August 12, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I'll probably get flamed for this, so be it, but I wonder if perhaps the women's game shouldn't be played with 40 minute halves instead of 45. In many of the games I have seen, the women are so gassed during the last 10-15 minutes the pace is just glacially slow.

Posted by: Ron | August 12, 2008 11:43 AM
==========================================

The 80-minute game was the international norm through the early 90s. I know of no support for going back to it now. NCAA rules specified 90-minute games right from the start, which may have given the early versions of the USWNT an advantage over their rivals.

Posted by: tri-village | August 12, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Chastain's point was they're a small country and they're a long way from a good game. It's what, 1500 miles?, just to get to Australia. Norway and Sweden are also small countries but their women have a lot more opportunity to play internationally.

And yeah my kids could play for her any day. I like the way she thinks.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 12, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Chastain's commment makes me think I am in a class room and she teaching. Not football comentating. Although most us commentators do anyway.

Posted by: td | August 12, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Brandi got on my nerves at the start, but I've grown to really like her. She speaks well and is well beyond most commentators tactically. She is a coach.

U.S. thumping NZ means only so much. NZ is NZ. Japan, although it tied NZ, is a good step, step and a half higher. No idea what happened with Norway, but my cable provider has decided to run the Oly Soccer Channel only on HD, and I don't have HD.

China hasn't yet returned to the elite. Sweden has some fine attacking players but has dropped off since 03. The big 3, in order, are Germany, Brazil and the U.S. Then it's Norway and North Korea. Then it's Sweden and China.

Big, big result for the U.S. today. They just went from no medal to silver.

Posted by: Troy | August 12, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"Truly a miraculous morning, given the unexpected Norway result. Can DCU keep it going tonight against the Revs without Reis (or as some posters believe, the "god of goalkeeping")?"

Keep what going - the beatdown that the Red Bulls put on DCU Sunday? Ohhh, you mean the run of play in the Open Cup, don't you? It wasn't great GK work by NY that beat DCU, moreso terrible defense on the back line.

Posted by: Ken | August 12, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

after seeing what happened to Norway today and what the men accomplished yesterday almost beating Netherlands perhaps there's hope against Nigeria tomorrow. they're the favorites, but not by that much.

go USA!!!!

Posted by: soccerfan#1 | August 12, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

My main problem with Chastain is she doesn't shut up. She doesn't realize it's okay if there is nobody talking sometimes.

Posted by: sitruc | August 12, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Norway first couple of goals were own goal and a deflections, then with them opening up to get a result Japan, Sawa hit a shot into the ground that if she had hit it right would have been covered. However, after it bounced it looped, slowly just under the bar.

Norway had some bad luck, and Japan finally had some good luck after many of their shots weren't falling in the first 2 games.

Brandi pontificates too much - it grates on my nerves. I'm not saying that she is wrong, only that after she makes her point, she continues saying the same thing. STFU.

Eastmond: I don't buy the argument that you had to play on USWNT (or have coached the USWNT) to comment on the team/game. Some of the most learned people that I've learned from the most, have not been on the national teams.

Posted by: JSF | August 12, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

To answer my own question from about seven hours ago: The US Soccer site is saying that the USA-Canada match will be shown live on the USA network Friday at 6:00 a.m. EDT.

Posted by: tri-village | August 12, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Chastain's commentary is terrible. Just stop talking!

Posted by: JM | August 18, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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