Lineups for the first Quarterfinal.
England: Bardsley, Alex Scott, Stoney, Faye White, Unitt, Carney, Jill Scott, Williams, Yankey, Smith, Ellen White.
Subs: Brown, Chamberlain, Clarke, Aluko, Bradley, Houghton, Bassett, Asante, Susi, Rafferty.
Franc3: Deville, Viguier, Georges, Lepailleur, Soubeyrand, Bompastor, Abily, Necib, Bussaglia, Thiney, Delie.
Subs: Philippe, Renard, Boulleau, Meilleroux, Franco, Le Sommer, Thomis, Pizzala, Bretigny.
Well we’ve come to the knock out stages of the Women’s World Cup. 8 Teams left and 8 teams are either on their way home or drowning their sorrows in a Bavarian Beer Hall, getting ready to watch this weekend’s exciting matches. Use this post as the forum for your comments. We will be updating it with line ups as the weekend progresses.
The usual suspects are all present though not necessarily in the position one might have guessed pre-tournament. Brazil had a relatively easy stroll through their group matches and their attack certainly looks formidable. Their back line is susceptible but with a “we’ll score more goals then you” attitude what does it matter that they are weak in defense, but more in that in a bit.
Host nation Germany and number one ranked USA both stumbled out of the group stages, though Germany true to their usual soccer form started to find their rhythm in their last game, but are weak at guarding the headed ball. The USWNT are a model of in-consistency and will have to find form right now if they are going to beat the Brazilians.
Sweden who topped their group by defeating a disorganized US side, showed why they can be considered to be one of the teams holding the trophy in Frankfurt on July 17th. Their quarter final match up is against the upstarts from down under. The Matildas did well to finish second in their group by dispatching perennial women’s soccer power Norway in their last game and they will be chomping at the bit to take another Scandinavian scalp.
Japan, the Barcelona of women’s soccer or so they’ve been dubbed, started the tournament brightly by beating New Zealand and thrashing Mexico in a demonstration of beautiful football. Their ability to prance and dance around their opponents with deft passes and slick runs came to a crashing halt, when they came up against a more physical side in England, who played their best game of the year to take the top spot in the group. Japan will meet the host nation and will need to be able to deal with physical aspect of the game if they are to have a chance of advancing.
Lastly, though the first quarter to be played, the old enemies will meet up on the fields of Leverkusen. England versus France, two teams that might not have imagined being in the knock out stages pre-tournament, but are both finding a rich vein of form at the right time.
England V. France – Noon, east coast. 9am best coast.
Look for England to win this game with a last gasp goal from Kelly Smith, England’s equivalent of Abby Wambach, in that it’s the nations star forward who needs to find the back of the net. If the English defense can shut down Delie, then they have a very good chance of advancing, if not, Les Blues will be going to the semi’s.
Germany V. Japan – 2:45pm, east coast. 11:45am best coast
The Germans are susceptible to dead ball situations and France scored two goals on well taken headers. Unfortunately for Japan, they’re not the tallest squad, so they will have to rely on their Tiki-Taka style of play to penetrate the Bavarian back line. Germany buoyed by their home fans will be looking to advance to the semis where they figure to have a good chance of progressing to Frankfurt against the winners of Quarterfinal 3. The Germans more physical style of play will be too much for Japan, though the tale of the sad Prinz might cause a rupture in the German dressing room.
Australia V. Sweden – 7:00am, east coast. Hella early best coast
Can the Matildas play with the ferocity and passion that got them into the knock out stages? Well, they will certainly be leaving soon, if they keep making the same defensive errors that they did in the group stages. Sweden, efficient and tactically superior, should make easy way of this match and will already be thinking of their semi against Germany. Australia have the heart, but will it be enough?
USA v Brazil – 11:30am, east coast. 8:30am best coast
The big one. This should have been the final, but Pia’s substitutions (Morgan aside, who actually created a spark that the US midfielders failed to ignite) and a couple of defensive brain farts, have given us one hell of a quarterfinal. The US have held the recent advantage winning the last 4, and will want revenge for the 4 – 0 thrashing they received from Brazil in the last World Cup. Brazil will send wave upon wave of beautifully attacking football lead by 5 time footballer of the year, Marta. If the US defense line can withstand the onslaught and their midfield starts threading passes versus shooting from 45 yards out, they have a very good chance to advance against a weak Brazilian back line. Look for heroics from Hope Solo to ensure US’s path into the semis.