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.

Proceed unmolested.

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!


Copa America

Group A

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!

Group B

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?

Group C

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.

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23 Responses to “Midweek Results: Final Line-Ups, Lionel Fines Up”

  1. Peanut9188 says:

    I beg to differ with the comment about Kun and Higuain being prettier then Lavezzi, though I am partial to the overly tattooed bad ass look.

  2. Kaitlin says:

    i can't decide who to cheer for in the WWC final. japan has been so cosistently great, but the us is my home, and i want to cheer for my people. ugh. :l

  3. Deb S says:

    WWC – So happy for my ladies and that Abby's finally got her scoring groove back. No disrespect Sweden but I have so much admiration for the grit and determination of Japan, a country who has lost so much that, I can't help but be SO happy for them being our opponent in the final. Of course, I want the US to win but if Japan were to win it I'd be so happy for them too.

    Argentina – Batista FINALLY started the right team. Having El Kun & Higuain on the pitch at the same time lets Messi play more of a #10 role, which is where he really shines. And Di Maria….I love the way the kid plays (except he still needs to work on his #stayonyourfeet membership a bit)….crossing, speed, getting back on defense. This is the Argentina that we've been expecting to see.

    Perhaps it was just the opponent or having Robinho on the pitch but I'm not sure they missed Alves all that much. Maybe, the coach will think about playing Maicon again? I hope so anyway.

    Oh, Kickettes, Madrid plays the Galaxy on Saturday too. With all these games, it will be a fantastic weekend for soccer fans!

  4. Raincitygirl says:

    Japan is on FIRE! This is going to be a final to remember.

  5. Catie2838 says:

    I'm rooting for the US, but I'm really happy Japan made it to the final. Had the US not made it, I would root for Japan. They play such a beautiful game and worked really hard to get where they are. It will be an uphill battle for the US, but as long as they keep their wits about them (which they have so far) then I think they can garner another win! Can't wait for Sunday!

  6. Zahara says:

    i cant wait for argentina vs uruguay!
    but i dont know which team to support!
    i love argentina…but uruguay is also magic..hmm dilemma.

    im also a bit disappointed with the samba boys…they can do a lot better.

  7. kaya says:

    The Carmona/Beausejour photo totally reminds me of kitty cats. LOL. http://youtu.be/g8pm4hynyoQ

  8. kaya says:

    Calling the US team stubborn, fortuitous, whatnot, but Japan dominated Sweden save the mistake they made that led to Sweden's only shot and goal. The US played Japan in 2 friendlies this May which were both won 2-0, but I doubt we're talking the same Japan team anymore.
    Now that the WWC is almost over, maybe I'll pay attention to the Copa that has thus far not interested me.

  9. Zahara says:

    Cant wait for argentina vs uruguay!but i dont know who to support!i love argentina but uruguay are also magic!dilemma! Yess messi is back!higi!love!and im a bit disappointed with the samba boys…love them but whats up with them?jeez! :-)

  10. Agnes Wonka says:

    this Saturday's match Argentina – Uruguay will the best thing ever!
    though I'm sad coz we're so willing to lose this one

  11. hereforthenando says:

    I can't wait for Sunday's WWC final. I will be encouraging everyone I know to go out and watch the game (as well as you, Kickettes, who I may not know but I still admire!) because women's football does matter and a great game is something to be celebrated!

  12. Lily says:

    Japan plays beautifully. I was screaming at the television and when Nahomi Kawasumi scored her second goal I couldn't actually believe the perfection of her shot. The amount of heart and drive that those girls play with is admirable.

    Brazil v. Ecuador was painful to watch, I thought my heart was going to explode at any moment. The result was great but Brazil really needs to tighten their defense.

  13. FootballDaze says:

    I started watching the Sweden v. Japan game rooting for Sweden. By the end I just sat there, open-mouthed staring at the brilliance that is Japan. Wow. I can't even explain how blown away I was. Had never watched them before, and the third goal was pure magic. I will be rooting for them in the Final, because their technique is just divine. And I know the Americans will bring heart and strength. So, it should be an awesome game. Will not miss it.

    As for Copa America. I can't believe Argentina have to play Uruguay so early. Really wish both of them had met in the final. Don't know who to root for there. And Brazil. I can't stop shaking my head at Brazil. Pitiful. I can't even cheer anymore when they score (IF they score). They just look like they don't want to be there. So disappointed with Ganso. Stop playing "stars" and start giving playing time to players who want to play football as opposed to preening around in front of the cameras and falling when the wind blows on their hair (yeah, I'm looking at you Neymar). So disappointed. That 4:2 score last night was nothing to cheer for.

  14. lalalala says:

    copa america is always soo late

    i didn't sleep till 4 in the morning to watch the game

    i wonder how the europeans will watch the world cup whwn it is in brazil

    guess they have to play earlier!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    • Sarah, Madrid says:

      AGREED! I remember in previous year the timing was earlier or maybe I was more comfortable with!. I am starting to get how Asia viewers feel about UCL games and some European league games.

    • Catie2838 says:

      I'm excited for the WC to be in Brazil, and a large part of that is because I can watch it at a normal hour (I'm in California)!

    • GigiSantaCruz says:

      And why should Brazil change the time of the matches just because Europe and Asia will 'suffer' with the time zone? Has anybody ever cared about it when it was the other way around???

      • Sarah, Madrid says:

        Actually, previous world cup with similiar timing they pretty much played their games early to make it better for other time-zones to see it. It is commerical and sponsorships deals, FIFA will definitely not miss on Euro Market for world cup.

    • Deb S says:

      TiVo or other TV recorder is a must. Not only can you watch the games at a decent hour but you can skip through the commercials :p Of course, the downside is that you have to avoid FB, Twitter and the media until after you watch it, unless you don't mind knowing the score ahead of time.

  15. GigiSantaCruz says:

    As a Brazilian, I'm still not happy even though yesterday's score was favorable to us. I think our boys have A LOT to improve yet! And we're facing Paraguay once again, which, to me, is PERFECT for viewing purposes if Santa Cruz recovers from his (eternal) knee injury in time!!! Otherwise, I'll be watching just to support my NT!! hehehe… I'm also very excited for the derby Uru x Arg on Saturday. Btw, Roque, if you need help with massage or anything else, just call!!! ;)

  16. Congrats to the USWNT! Please don't disappoint me in the final!
    Copa is getting interesting now. I swear they were under some kind of spell. Uruguay is special to me ( it's where I first got my groove on. TMI ) so I hope they advance further. I don't know what was going on with Messi. He was starting to scare me a little! I'm thinking Brazil and Argentina in the end.

  17. Sarah, Madrid says:

    I am hoping crossing fingers copa america timing will be earlier for latest stage.

    IT IS THE DERBY ( URUGUAY VS ARGENTINE), Oh man can't wait to watch itt! Higuain, Di maria and Aguero their movement the way they set up the pace for Messi who btw did an amazing job, that's why he shouldn't been criticized in the first place, when he found a really good formation and support from them, he shined. Higuain what I can say, I dont care if he missed chances I STILL ADORE HIM! Gago was something too.

    Anyway, copa finally starting to deliver, football *check*, goals *check* and hotness double *check*.

    Thank you for Pastore, btw I am wondering did Angel dedicat him the goal?!

    • Sarah, Madrid says:

      Oh yeah, Maicon! Great game, A-MAZING GAME!. Neymar Hair, please! With Alves off the pitch ( your competition). you hair needed a whole show on it's on.

      Japan in the final, the nice amazing thing about WCW! It is unpredictable! Amazing!