June 30th, 2011
Midweek Results: Excuses & Electrical Faults
Competition for the inaugral ‘Bish, Please’ awards sponsored by Zlatan Ibrahimovic is already underway in the England camp. Image: Reuters/Daylife.
We confess to being quite startled at the huge response our query regarding coverage of the Women’s World Cup received. We must warn you that while we are thrilled to bring you our take on the competition, this is precisely the type of behaviour that tends to upset people who prefer to believe that the Kickette Army’s interest in football extends only as far as the number of naked torsos we can drool over in ninety minutes. Should you encounter any such idiocy, our handy refresher course should prepare you.
Oh. And before we launch into the goings-on in Germany to date, we’d just like to advise those of you expressing concern that we would not be covering the Copa America, that our in-depth analysis will commence on Monday morning. Given our shining track record of covering important events, we’re a bit hurt that you might think we would forget a tournament of the magnitude of the Copa. When do we ever forget anything?
FIFA Women’s World Cup
Does the fact that Canada’s Christine Sinclair (r) had a busted nose when she played in her team’s opener against Germany and scored a fabulous goal make you feel inferior, Kickettes? It probably should. Image: Reuters/Daylife
If this is your first official foray into the world of women’s football, you should probably know that hosts Germany are ridiculously good. Not only are they are the current holders of the World Cup, if they win this tournament, they will be the first team in the history of the universe to win three consecutive trophies, having also lifted it in 2003. They also appear to have the boys teams’ number, which only adds to our admiration.
Their awesomeness has not gone unnoticed by the German population either, with over 70,000 turning out to watch their opener against Canada. It is important at this point to forget everything you know about football superpowers; basically while the Canadians’ male counterparts languish at 75th in the FIFA World Rankings, the WNT are sixth, having won the CONCACAF Gold Cup last November, and acquitted themselves well in what must have been a nightmare opening fixture. The final score was 2-1, the most notable goal a twenty-five yard strike from Canada captain Christine Sinclair, but Germany took the points after Kerstin Garefrekes and Celia Okoyino da Mbabi scored.
They now share top spot in the Group with France, who beat African champs Nigeria 1-0 in the tournament’s opening fixture. Canada face France and Nigeria meet Germany tonight with the pressure now on to pick up some points.
Japan’s Saki Kumagai played despite suffering a head injury in a training game. Fortunately, she was rocking awesome nails and totally got away with the dodgy protective headgear. Image: Reuters/Daylife
Early exits and embarrassing escapades tend to characterise England’s performances in major tournaments. The U21′s group stage departure from the recent Championships indicated that the malaise may be endemic, so what of the women? Is there any room for hope?
Well, yes and no. Having dominated the opening exchanges in their opener against Mexico, Fara Williams heading in on twenty-one minutes for a deserved lead. However, Mexico are no slouches and England were left ruing Karen Carney, Eniola Aluko and Kelly Smith’s missed opportunities when Mexico’s Ocampo equalised after thirty-three minutes. This spurred Mexico on and England may count themselves lucky to come away from the game with a point.
They are currently joint second with Mexico in the group table, below Japan who beat New Zealand 2-1.
Many say that female soccer players do not display the athleticism of their male counterparts. The USA’s Carlo Lloyd (r)begs to differ. Image: Getty Images/Daylife
Germany might be dominating the globe as we speak, but the USWNT are no slouches either. Currently No.1 in the FIFA World Rankings, they are also the Olympic Champions and unlike their main competition in this tournament, brushed off the opposition in their opening fixture, which finished 2-0. After their slightly mad exploits in the men’s equivalent tourney last year, we had high hopes for North Korea and they didn’t disappoint, blaming their loss on the fact that several players were apparently struck by lightning during an earlier training session. Hmm. Not much you can say to that, is there?
No such electrical faults in the US camp, although we are hugely refreshed by goal scorer Lauren Cheney’s explanation of her header. During a post match interview she stated ‘I’m actually not a very good header, I just knew I wanted to redirect it back to the same place it came from.’ Can’t imagine Crispy offering such a self-deprecating review of his own performance, can you?
Anyhoo, the USA are joint top with Sweden, who beat Columbia 1-0. Colombia, and the electrifying North Korea are bottom with nothing.
As Brazil’s Rosana celebrates her goal with team coach Kleiton Lima, we are forced to wonder why he takes his fashion advice from Gabor Kiraly. Image: Reuters/Daylife
Third in the world and boasting a five time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year winner in Marta, Brazil are certainly in the frame to lift the trophy. They beat Australia 1-0 via a goal by Rosana, but the Australian side clearly weren’t in awe of their opposition, coming close on several occasions and forcing the Brazilian defence to work hard for long periods of the game. Brazil find themselves in the familiar position at the top of their group, although they’re probably less used to sharing it with a country like Norway, who beat Equatorial Guinea 1-0.
Equatorial Guinea? Yep, we thought that. Apparently, this was their first official game outside of the African continent, so losing by a one goal margin is pretty darn epic. We might keep an eye on this lot.
Thoughts so far, Kickettes?