FIFA Women’s World Cup Semi-finals Preview

Posted: July 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup has captivated North American soccer fans. Audiences in Canada and the United States have tuned in to the exciting , fast-paced footy in droves. Even though the 6th ranked Canadian Women’s team finished dead last the United States has shone through to the semi-finals where they will take on France. France who also made it to the semi-finals by winning on penalty kicks defeated England. In the other semi-final matchup Sweden will take on Japan. Japan upset the hosts Germany in a 1-0 extra-time thriller. The Untied States and Sweden are the favourites and should have the upper hand to prevail and win on Wednesday. Let’s see why these two teams are the favourites to advance.  Sweden vs Japan from Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt 2:45pm et

Team Sweden is the only team remaining that has yet to lose a match at the World Cup. The Swede’s are led by their strong attacking forwards which include Lotta Schelin, Lisa Dahlkvist, and Jessica Landstrom. Dahlkvist is tied for second in goals with 3. Dahlkvist has filled in great for Landstrom who has been parked on the bench because of her yellow card trouble. However Landstrom could see action on Wednesday because of the FIFA rule which wipes out yellow cards after the semi-finals. If Japan can stop Dahlkvist and Landstrom they will really have their hands full with Sweden’s top performer Lotta Schelin. Schelin scored against the Aussies and is Sweden’s best female footballer since Victoria Svensson. In the midfield Japan will look to use their speed against Sweden’s midfielders Caroline Segar, and Therese Sjogran. Nila Fischer who also plays midfield will miss the match because she picked up her second yellow card against Australia. The back line is where Sweden is vulnerable. Sara Thunebro, Annica Svensson, Sara Larsson, and Charlotte Rohlin will need to be sharp to defend against the quick attacking Japanese strikers. Starting in-goal for Sweden will be 28 year-old Hedvig Lindahl who is an animated, and vocal force in the Swedish net. For Japan everything goes through their star player 32 year-old Homare Sawa. Sawa had a hatrick against Mexico and is tied with Dahlkvist for second in tournament goal scoring. Japan won’t get a lot of opportunities to score because of their disciplined defensive minded game plan but when they do they need to capitalize. During Japan’s last game against Germany, Japan was first to the ball and played exceptionally well in closing down space and opportunities for the Germany players. That style of play is what led Japan to its extra time goal by Karina Maruyama. On June 23rd Sweden and Japan played a friendly that ended in a tie. Sweden scored in the 70th minute to knot the game at 1-1. This game will be anything but friendly. Sweden and Japan have never won the FIFA Women’s World Cup but one of them will have the chance on Sunday. Prediction Sweden 2-1 

USA vs France from Borussia Park in Monchengladbach 11:30am et

The United States are ranked 1st in Women’s soccer and will take on the high-flying French in Wednesday’s first semi-final matchup. With Germany, Brazil, and Canada out-of-the-way the Women from America are the favourites to hoist the Women’s World Cup on Sunday. The US have a strong, balanced, cohesive, and determined team that starts on their goal line with the best Women’s keeper in the game Hope Solo. Solo is the anchor and rock on the back end for the US, plus she is damn good goalie. The defense for the US gave up a lot of chances to Brazil but because of Solo’s outstanding play they advanced. The defenders for the US Christine Rampone, Amy Le Peilbet, Alex Krieger, and Stephanie Cox will have to be superb to defend the French attack which put up 33 attempts on goal vs England. The US will be without defender Rachel Buehler who picked up a questionable red card against the Brazilians. The midfield is where the US will dominate France. Megan Rapinoe who came on as a sub against Brazil to set up Abby Wambach game tying goal will be counted on again to put Wambach, Amy Rodriguez, and Lauren Cheney in a prime positions to score. Rapinoe will be joined in midfield by Shannon Boxx, Heather O’Reilly, and Carli Lloyd. If the US is to advance star striker Abby Wambach will need to score or setup one of her teammates. If Wambach comes to play and leads by example the US will be getting ready for a Women’s World Cup final on Sunday.  France will count on forwards Elodie Thomis, Gaetane Thiney, and Marie-Laure Delie to create offense up front. Elise Bussaglia who scored a cracker of a goal against England in the 88th minute is a threat to score on free kicks. The US especially needs to keep her in check. The defense for France is very suspect and has hung keeper Celine Deville out to dry on numerous occasions.The French squad has had a terrific tournament but when they played the powerhouse Germans they crumbled. France played head and shoulders above England on Sunday but it still came down to dreaded penalty kicks. Of the 4 teams that remain France leads the pack with 5 goals allowed. If France let’s in two they can say au revoir. Prediction USA 2-0

Women’s soccer in the US had made huge strides during this World Cup. The US win over Brazil made front news in USA Today, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and other publications. The Women’s World Cup is a great event to jump aboard on if you have no knowledge of the sport. People love to cheer on their national sport and the Women’s World Cup is a great event that deserves a spotlight. With the NFL and NBA in a lockout, and no MLB games on Wednesday why not watch the beautiful game.

  1. lissa says:

    what US woman soccer player had the most goals in the stanly cup fimals, also how meany goals?

    -Soccer player must now ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Aj Woodson says:

    Heartbreak for US…but JOY and Congratulations to the *Giant Killers* JAPAN (their performance throughout the World Cup was inspiring)!

    • Hey AJ thanks for visiting my blog and sharing your congratulatory comments with me and all the supporters of Japan. That was a terrific match and a grand stage for Women’s soccer. Hopefully this adds a boost to the WPS. I hope fans in the US and Canada continue to follow the American, and Canadian team next January when they play in Vancouver, Canada to see who qualifies for the 2012 Olympics in England. Thanks AJ.

  3. paulk says:

    Har, What do you mean you are cheering against the U.S. Is this in retaliation for the U.S. dominance in the Stanley Cup?

    I was actually wrong about the Americans defence keeping Solo clean. France had 20-something shots and had the better of the play for a good chunk of the game. Again, it came down to Megan
    Rapinoe entering the game and giving the girls a big lift while putting France on their heels a bit.
    I didn/t catch Japan’s game but they must be doing something right to get past Germany and now Sweden. Should be a good game on Sunday.

    Callahan can’t talk about the beautiful game because he has never seen one, and I think he also is a chauvinist when it comes to women’s sports. Anyway, neither he nor Dino will be on-air Friday, as they are going down to Georgia to film a scene in the Farrely brother’s new movie about the 3 stooges. I think Gerry should have got the part of Curly(the knucklehead)

    By ther way, we have 2 sisters that live in the next town over from me who have played for the US U-19 and U-20 world cup teams in New Zealand(1st) and Germany last year. Kristi Mewis will be a junior at Boston College and Sam will be a freshman at UCLA. Look for them to be playing in 2015 World Cup. USA all the way!!!!!

    • Hi Paul I’m hoping Japan wins because it would be great for their country after what happened in March, but I think their luck will run out on Sunday. The US Women are just too good in too many categories to let Japan win. Megan Rapinoe is a pretty awesome player; I have no idea why she isn’t starting. Pia Sundhage needs to get her in the starting 11 so she doesn’t have to come on in the 2nd half and rescue the US. Rapinoe plays with Wambach on the Boca Raton MagicJack in the WPS so they have a lot of chemistry on the pitch. I don’t know why John and Gerry don’t like Women’s or Men’s soccer. They are really missing out. For all thetime and talk they give to politics, and Whitey they are missing out on a huge event that has captured the United States. Good Luck to your friends Kristi, and Sam it sounds like they will be playing for the US Women’s team in no time. The 2015 Women’s World Cup is being held in Canada. I’m pretty excited for that event. Thanks Paul.

  4. greenpoet says:

    Har, the Women’s World Cup is one of my favorite sporting events. This year the overall level of play seems improved except Brasil is bringing the “flopping” of Men’s Soccer into the Women’s game. Is it me or does the level of sportsmanship seem higher among the Women?

    What did you think of the reffing in the USA-Brasil math? My preference is that the match should not be about the referee – the best sign of superior reffing is that the ref is invisible (same in any sport.) The red card call on Rachel Buehler was quite questionable and could have decided the match.

    Thanks for covering the event. D&C isn’t much on Women’s Sports or soccer, so the coverage has been lacking. The games do get support on local sports news shows, network and cable. The Boston Globe does a good job with their coverage.

    It’s 1-1 JPN-SWE, gotta get back to the match. Thought Japan played gutty and disciplined against Germany. I was surprised with the result. On one hand, I would like to see USA-SWE as the final, two from the same group, and the only side that beat the USA. On the other hand, I feel for JPN and being in the finals would be a great boost for their nation.

    I agree with Paul – the new picture rocks. Now, we have to get you on TV!


    • Hi Richard I really I didn’t even know people in New England knew that the Women’s World Cup was really happening. Richard is the FWWC really one of your favourite sporting events? Do you know who the Boston Breakers are? Would you even be watching the FWWC if the US had been eliminated earlier on? Yah the Brazil flopping was quite surprising. I sent Iggy, Chach, and Callahan a link to an interesting story from the LA Times on flopping, diving, and fake injuries in Men’s and Women’s soccer. Check it out, I haven’t heard any coverage on D&C concerning this event. I did hear Gerry ripping soccer in general on Monday so I was dissapointed to hear that. I might have to call in on Friday and try and promote the FWWC even though I’m cheering against the US. I was pretty upset by the loss and performance Sweden put forth today so I will try and write another piece on Japan and the US for the final on Sunday. Thanks Richard.

      • greenpoet says:

        I live in Worcester which is a big soccer town. The Youth Soccer program is large and well run. Coaches go to school for certification. I coached Youth Soccer (boys, have two sons) for five years and we always had a few girls on the boys teams. Our city allowed the girls on traveling teams/premier league (playing in the state wide league and tournaments) – other cities & towns prohibited it. I have a pile of stories about other teams’ boys’ reactions to the girls, more are positive. Have stories about other coaches that mostly are unseemly, especially the way they yelled at boys when they were outplayed by girls. I was proud at the way the teams jelled and the boys stood by their girl teammates but also learned when to let them fight their own battles. I was proud of how my girls understood the situation and acted more maturely than the parents and coaches on the sidelines.

        So, yeah, I like World Cup Soccer in general, but have a special appreciation for the women’s game. I was coaching during the 1995 & 1999 cups and saw what great models Michelle, Mia, Kristine (yes, I’m a Breakers fan), Brandi, et al were for my girls who always practiced hard & were team first. I watched every game in this year’s Cup and would have kept watching if the USA had been eliminated. I love the story the Japan team is this year, so many factors. The interplay between a country/region’s culture and their approach to the game is fascinating – this interplay is more dramatic in soccer than in other sports.

        A lot of people in New England are watching the FWWC. Central MA has a diverse population. One team I coached had kids that spoke six languages (two of the kids were Greek and set up a goal by yelling to each other in Greek – when they ran by the ref, he gave them a kind word in Greek!) In the Adult Leagues, there are teams representing many countries of their ancestry: African, European, South & Central American, Asian.

        Please please please do not take D&C as a reflection of the sports or political culture here, they are on the conservative end of the spectrum. I do enjoy listening to their show (switch to Mike & Mike when the tangent doesn’t fit my tastes), but yes they diss sports they don’t understand or maybe are not traditionally USA games. (Want to talk about D&C opinion on curling? A beautiful strategic game my Ontario cousins introduced me to when I was a kid.) D&C also are condescending to women and women’s sports in general. Their coverage of the UConn Women’s Basketball team (and the Women’s NCAA Basketball tournament) is non existent. I was happy to hear their reaction to you during the Stanley Cup – and more so how your comments drew them to treat you as a peer – which brought me to your blog.

        It always has struck me as ironic that a 1-0 baseball game will be heralded as a pitchers’ duel and a defensive gem (or a 7-3 NFL game) while 1-0 soccer match is boring. Did they watch the game? I think not. Thanks Har and enjoy the Final. I root for Team USA but have a lot of respect and admiration for Team Japan.

      • Hi Richard thanks for the long reply back. Worcester eh how far from Boston are you? If my geography is correct you’re from eastern Mass and a lot closer to Springfield Ma, than Fenway Park. It sounds like you have a pretty good extensive background in youth soccer. It is great to hear that you’re so involved with youth soccer and bettering the lives of children who want to get active. Some coaches, and parents are completely nuts and that type of stuff doesn’t just belong to soccer it happens in all types of sports. You sound like a good coach that any kid would be lucky to have. A Boston Breakers fan wow that is quite a surprise. I didn’t even know anybody in Boston knew who they are. I was hoping to go to the Breakers game on the August 6th but I have other plans so I won’t be able to make it. From my research it sounds like the Breakers are getting anywhere from 7000-9000 fans a game this season. They have 5 US players, 2 English players, and 1 player from Japan playing in the FWWC. They play closer to greater Boston than the New England Revolution so I don’t know why they aren’t popular. It sounds like D&C have a lot of fans like you who don’t agree with most of anything they say on air. I was surprised they have no clue about Women’s sports. If they are hosting a sports show I feel they should have more knowledge of huge events like the FWWC. Thanks so much for listening to my calls on Weei and thank you so much for following my blog and sharing your comments with me. Richard have great weekend in Worcester and enjoy the game on Sunday.

      • greenpoet says:

        Hey Har – thought you might find this interesting: – let me know if the link doesn’t come through. It’s the 2011 Worcester World Cup (M/F of soccer) – check out the album (16 images) for a little history and some neat photos. Next time you come to Boston, you may want to take the train west to Worcester. We also have AHL hockey and minor league baseball. And a lot of soccer, a lot of ethnic/cultural diversity.

        What happened on the D&C show? I tuned in when they said you were going to be in studio. Did I miss you?

        Hope you enjoyed your time in Boston and are having a great summer!


      • Hey Richard I have never been to Worcester before but maybe I should think about taking the commuter train out there next time. I know the Worcester Sharks are the AHL team of the San Jose Sharks. Other than that I’m not too familiar with your western Massachusetts hometown. I was on with Dennis and Callahan on Thursday August 4th. I was supposed to be at 8:40am but Jerry Remy was on then and after they had to take a break and it was after 9 by then so the NESN viewers missed out. I went on at about 9:03 and chatted about Bedard, Luongo, Boston College, Murderpan, and Billy Bulger for 13 minutes. I think the interview is still on Weei’s D&C page if you missed it or want to hear it again. I really enjoyed my time in Boston and I can’t wait to visit again. Thanks for you’re posting your terrific comments. Have a great day Richard.

  5. Paul K says:

    I like the U.S. over les Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge, buy a 3-0 score. Our defence will keep Solo clean, and the midfielders will be able to possess the ball and begin the attack, which will get Abby some good chances.

    Sweden wins the other matchup against Japan to set up a rematch in the finale. The U.S. will win that game 3-1 and bring home the cup.

    Most of the credit for the win against Brazil has been going to Hope Solo and Abby Wambach, but Megan Rapinoe deserves a ton of credit, for without her unbelievable left-footed cross on the run to the far post, the U.S. of A. doesn’t go to the semi’s.


    • Hey Paul you were pretty close with your prediction. Maybe you should start a sports blog. The US defense was pretty good but I thought Solo played really well and did great in the first half. She really kept the US in it when France was dominating the ball and not scoring. I’m hoping Sweden wins. I have a lot of Scandinavia friends here in Vancouver so they’re also rooting for Sweden. I think a Sweden USA matchup would be great. Megan Rapine has been terrific I don’t know why she hasn’t started the last 2 games. She is an amazing playmaker, and or course Abby Wabash has benefited from that. What kind of feedback is the US Women’s team getting in New England and the North East? D&C, and Buckley don’t even touch Men’s soccer so I don’t think they care about the US Women. Regardless I think I will call in on Friday and tell them what’s what. Sweden is about to start so I’m off to go cheer them on. Thanks for visiting my blog, and sharing your thoughts Paul.

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