11 July 2011

definitely in the top five

Excellent view of the latest ever goal (120'+2') in Women's World Cup History
During the past few weeks, my work schedule and associated productivity has varied with the schedule of the FIFA 2011 Women's World Cup. Now moving into the final week of the WWC, the matches are less frequent (allowing more time for work), but more important (requiring more attentive focus). Coupled with the combative and crash-filled early stages of le Tour de France (go here for free live streaming video of every stage) and a thus far uneventful Copa America (free live matches on YouTube), it's been an ongoing effort to

So here's a quick recap of one of the most captivating matches I've had the pleasure to watch.

National anthems play, coin flips, whistle blows, 74 seconds elapse, USA GOOOOOOAAAAAAL (courtesy of a Daiane own goal)!

Brazil 0 - USA 1
The first half was largely a game of possession, but not without chances for both teams. Twenty minutes into the second half Marta plays the ball to herself with a nifty move over Buehler's head. With one player attempting to score and the other desperate to prevent such a feat and both in pursuit of the ball their legs tangle and bodies collide.

65' clash of swift offense and stalwart defense

Buehler is sent off for a professional foul (i.e. fouling an opponent with intent, usually to prevent scoring) and Brazil is awarded a penalty kick. After an incredible (not to mention completely legal) save by American goalkeeper Hope Solo (fantastic name by the way), the referee granted Brazil the ultimate mulligan. Either a result of encroachment or (allegedly, but definitely not) illegal goalkeeper movement, referee Jacqui Melksham awarded another penalty kick. This time Marta had no trouble converting from the penalty spot

Brazil 1 - USA 1

Now with ten players, the USA seemed to coalesce and played an impressive remaining 20 minutes to force extra time. Barely into the first half of the extra session Marta scored with a deft touch (albeit via a feed from an arguably offside Maurine) inside the USA 6 yard box.

Brazil 2 - USA 1
Never surrendering hope, the USWNT played with pose and vigor throughout the remainder of extra time. Just when time and opportunity were about to expire (see comments and video below regarding Erika and added time in extra time), Abby Wambach rose to met a Megan Rapinoe cross with power and precision (see opening photo).

Brazil 2 - USA 2

Sixty seconds later, the extra session resulted in a deadlock and the match would therefore be decided by penalties. Taking the first two penalties (due to illegal movement from the Brazilian keeper -- she continued to move substantially off her line way too early throughout the entire penalty session), Shannon Boxx scored for the US. Cristiane followed with a flawless and cool-under-pressure penalty kick. Level after the first round, here's how things progressed.

Lloyd -- shot, score.
Marta -- shot, score.
Wambach -- shot, score.
Daiane -- shot, save. SAVE!
Rapinoe -- shot, score.
Francielle -- shot, score.
Kreiger -- shot, score. SCORE!

Brazil 2 (3) - USA 2 (5)

After a gifted first goal, unbelievable penalty retake, suspicious second goal, and miraculous equalizer, the USA wins! Now gather your breath, we're onto the semifinals. Video highlights below.
For a higher quality video go here (for whatever reason ESPN has disabled embedding for the
highlight reel, requiring a bit of a workaround to include the video here)

Scoring Summary
USA – Daiane (own goal) 2'
BRA – Marta (penalty kick) 68'
BRA – Marta 92'
USA – Abby Wambach 120'+2'

Penalty Shootout Summary
U.S. advances 5-3 on PKs
USA – Shannon Boxx--Goal
BRA – Cristiane--Goal
USA – Carli Lloyd--Goal
BRA – Marta--Goal
USA – Abby Wambach--Goal
BRA – Daiane--Saved
USA – Megan Rapinoe--Goal
BRA – Francielle--Goal
USA – Ali Kreiger--Goal

Misconduct Summary
USA – Carli Lloyd (caution) 29'
BRA – Aline (caution) 44'
BRA – Marta (caution) 45'
USA – Rachel Buehler (sent off) 65'
USA – Hope Solo (caution) 67'
USA – Megan Rapinoe (caution) 90'+1'
BRA – Maurine (caution) 112'
USA – Shannon Boxx (caution) 113'
BRA – Erika (caution) 117' (watch the video below for an explanation [even if you don't speak German, the gist of the fake injury and subsequent delay (which it should be noted allowed for the added time in the second half of extra time in which Wambach scored her brilliant header goal -- some may argue that Erika's actions cost Brazil the victory) should be rather apparent when Erika hops off the stretcher promptly after being carted off the pitch] of her yellow card for blatant and egregious delaying tactics)

Oh, and of course there was marathon training -- later in the evening I ran 12.8 miles. Hot, humid, and with extremely low energy, this was a grueling and extremely humbling run. Mind was able to conquer matter for only so long. Here's to hoping for more pep next time.

For more WWC info, checkout the official FIFA website, ESPN Soccernet, and ESPN3.com to watch the remaining matches live (provided that you don't already have access to ESPN/ESPN2 via your cable provider. FYI..."ESPN3 is available nationwide, but you must subscribe to a participating high speed internet service provider." Check out the ESPN3 FAQs for more info). If you have the time/inclination, I encourage you to take a gander at From a Left Wing, a rather insightful blog of soccer, politics, and academics. Blog author Jennifer Doyle offers a great recap of the Brazil v USA match complete with commentary about gender politics, media bias, and the sexualization of soccer.

Upcoming Matches:
France v. USA
Wednesday, 13 July @ 11:30am EDT

Japan v. Sweden
Wednesday, 13 July @ 2:15pm EDT