All the marbles. All the pretzels, so to speak.
USA vs. Japan. For the Cup.
A quick aside here. The US ladies should probably first thank Japan when they line-up and shake hands.
It was Japan that took down heavy hometown favorite Germany in the first knockout.
Then it was Japan that took out the US group stage foil Sweden–who presented probably the most difficult challenger tactically to the States in the Women’s World Cup.
What that does say about Japan is that allusions that the US should win outright are miserly misplaced, even though the States went 2-0 against Japan in a friendly series less than 60 days ago.
Kickoff is set for 2:45 ET on ESPN. (Ratings expectation here in the States? Let’s go with a very strong 9.0 which would trump the USMNT’s knockout against Ghana just a year ago (8.2).)
Starting line-ups coming along shortly.
In the meantime, brush up if you haven’t:
And if you’ve somehow missed them, two must-read USWNT interviews:
Heather O’Reilly: Another Champion Label Awaits: Heather O’Reilly
Enjoy the match.
* Oh one more note, since I haven’t been able to mention it yet.
Carli Lloyd (pictured up on the left) was so dominant in college that she asked to practice with the men’s team at Rutgers because she wasn’t challenged playing against her women’s opponents. Wow.