July 14th, 2011
Midweek Results: Final Line-Ups, Lionel Fines Up
Yeah, it’s Abby Wambach. Were you expecting someone else? Image: Scott Heavey/Getty Images/Daylife
Usually we write something amusing here. Lately, our purple prose preamble has been little more than a device to divert your attention from the fact that the Women’s World Cup and Copa America haven’t kept us to the level of excitement we demand here. Now they have.
Women’s World Cup
Suddenly Nahomi Kawasumi wishes she had worked harder during shuttle runs. Injuring goalscorer Homare Sawa (l) by dropping her during a goal celebration would be horribly embarrassing, after all. Image: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images/Daylife
Once again, the USWNT had to dig deep to progress in this competition, but it appears there is no shortage of grit there. Their fixture against France was a frustrating affair for the most part; Lauren Cheney’s ninth minute goal was cancelled out by Sonia Bompaster strike just after half-time. But stepping up to the plate isn’t a problem for these ladies (forgive our mixture of sporting metaphors there, it’s early) and Abby Wambach’s 79th minute header, followed by Alex Morgan’s lob on 82 minutes gave them 3-1 and made certain of a place in the final.
You may be surprised to learn that their opponents will be Japan, and not Sweden, who seemed a more logical bet for the final to us at the time. But then, maybe we had forgotten to take Japan’s stubborness into consideration. This, like the USA, is a trait they have used to get them to the semi, so why would they abandon it now? Nahomi Kawasumi led the charge, first cancelling out Josefine Oqvist’s early goal, and then making sure of the 3-1 result after Homare Sawa had made it two.
So, it’s Japan vs. USA in the final on Sunday. Fi-yah!
He’s baaaaaack! (See what we did there?) Image: ANTONIO SCORZA/AFP/Getty Images/Daylife
What news, Kickettes! Argentina are firing again and are safely through to the Copa America quarter-finals, Lionel Messi has shown glimpses of the imperious form we know and love him for, and all is right with the world. Phew. It’s hard enough dealing with the confusion of off-season competition, without our most reliable teams and players letting the side down too.
Argentina made several changes prior to their last group game vs. Costa Rica, disposing of the likes of transfer traumatised Carlos Tevez and Ezequiel Lavezzi in favour of the much prettier Kun Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain. With Leo’s new found perkiness translating into opportunities for the strikers, it wasn’t long before Aguero scored. Twice. Oh, and having set Kun up for his second, Leo then cued up the third for Di Maria too. Result? 3-0 to the Argentina.
What does all this mean? Well, as you may recall from our last round-up, Colombia win the group with seven points, Argentina qualify in second and Costa Rica exit the competition having failed to pick up enough points to qualify as best third place team. Wake up! Things are getting exciting!
It comes to something when we can’t even be bothered to laugh at Neymar’s hair. Sigh. Image: AP Photo/Daylife
Thankfully, (for those people who have to find something interesting to say about this stuff) Group B heavyweights Brazil have also rediscovered their mojo; two goals each from Alex Pato and Neymar securing a 4-2 win over Ecuador. Brazil win the group on goal difference from Venezuela, whose two late goals gave them a 3-3 draw against Paraguay. Fortunately for fans of Roque Santa Cruz, Paraguay qualify as second best of the third placed sides. Unfortunately, their opponents in the quarters are… you guessed it, Brazil. These schedulers give with one hand and take away with the other, no?
Oh for goodness sake, Giancarlo Carmona (r) and Jean Beausejour. If you must fight on the pitch, at least look manly while you’re doing it. Image: Reuters/Daylife
Emerging victorious from the debris that is Group C are Chile, Uruguay and Peru. Mexico, having failed to pick up any points, took their leave early. Chile’s 1-0 win over Peru was arguably the more notable game; the goal coming late via Peru midfielder André Carrillo after both teams had had a man sent off. Uruguay beat Mexico 1-0 in an untroubled display, but are unlikely to have such an easy time of it in the next round, where they face Argentina. Juicy.
Kickettes? Have you anything to say? Yup, we thought you might.