July 18th, 2011

Weekend Results: Loud, Quiet, Loud

Uh-may-zing. The Japanese WNT win the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Image: Getty Images/Daylife

Thank heavens for the WWC. For the players’ obvious joy at simply being there. For the quality of the football, which has surpassed expectation over and over again. For the competitiveness and work ethic of each side, that made each fixture thrilling and unpredictable. For episodes of gamesmanship, diving, arguing and bitching from the players being so few and far between that when they did occur, we could simply dismiss them as the exception that proves the rule.

It’s reminded us why we love this darn game so much in the first place. You?

Hope haz the sadz.  Images: Getty Images/Daylife

Women’s World Cup

Anyone who has followed the progress of Japan through the Women’s World Cup finals will not be surprised to learn they lifted the trophy last night, beating the USA 3-1 on penalties (2-2 aet) and becoming the first Asian nation to win the tournament. The Japanese WNT are not a force in global football, but they are organised, capable and play to a tightly constructed gameplan without deviation or distraction. This was a tournament won on discipline.

It seemed fitting therefore, that they should meet the USA in the final; another side who got through with gritted teeth and reserves of guile rarely seen on a footie pitch. Indeed, after beating Brazil in the quarters and efficiently dispatching France in the semis, the USA were the favourites by a mile.

For this reason alone, it should have been a boring game. We’re used to boring games in major finals, after all. But with remarkably cheery referee Bibiana Steinhaus kicking off proceedings with a mad grin that rarely left her face, the first half was played out with caution interspersed with solid chances. The USA demonstrated a good eye for goal, the Japanese tempered play with long periods of possession. Indeed, it took 69 minutes for Megan Rapinoe’s persistent crossing to pay off; Alex Morgan scoring off a long ball, but Japan hit back within 15 minutes, levelling the game. Extra time ensued, Abby Wambach scored her fourth of the tourney but Japan’s own version of the US heroine, Homare Sawa, forced penalties with a 117th minute equaliser.

Having failed to score from the first two spot kicks, it was Abby Wambach’s commitment and drive kept the USA dream alive for a little longer – her penalty shot would have probably killed ‘keeper Ayumi Kaihori if she had attempted to save it – but the result was inevitable by that point. Saki Kumagai scored the winner, the entire Japanese nation spilled their beverages and the rest is history.

Congrats, Japan. There aren’t many people who are going to wake up this morning and not feel you deserved this.

-

Copa America

Woah. Those are some upsetting tights, Fernando Muslera. Cheers for giving us a good old look at ‘em, Higgy. Image: Reuters/Daylife

Okay, that was the loud bit. Now we shall quietly mention that Argentina were knocked out of the Copa America tournament on penalties by Uruguay. The game finished 1-1, with goals from Diego Perez and Gonzalo Higuain, assists by Diego Forlan and Leo Messi respectively. Perez was sent off for his second yellow card a half hour later, but Argentina were unable to exploit their advantage before Javier Mascherano was sent off just before the final whistle.

If it wasn’t going to be Messi who missed a penalty (considering the speculation around his future with the NT, the press would have loved that) it had to be Corinthians-bound Carlos Tevez. Now he can add his home nation to Manchester as part of a list of places he will not be welcome in the future. For their part, Uruguay scored all their pens and progress to the semis.

Their opponents will be Peru, who struggled against Colombia in normal time but put away the fixture in extra-time via goals from Carlos Lobaton and Juan Vargas. Remember, it might look like a one-sided semi-final, but as with the WWC, this tourney has really opened up over the last few days. And Peru only qualified as a best-of-the-rest team. Anything could happen.

At last! Thank you, Paraguay’s Nelson Valdez. At least someone remembers what the hell they’re on a football pitch for. Image: Reuters/Daylife

Oh. And even more quietly. Brazil are out after failing to convert any of their penalty shootout opportunities after a snooze-worthy 0-0 draw against Paraguay. To be honest, aside from congratulating Paraguay on their amazingingness at getting through to the semis, we feel that football itself would benefit from glossing over Brazil’s performance in this whole tournament. We’re doing you a favour.

Meanwhile, Paraguay will play Venezuela; the only team able to progress without the need of extra time or spot kicks. Oswaldo Vizcarrondo and Gabriel Cichero ended Chile’s dreams, and the minnows’ presence in the semis seems to sum-up this tournament beautifully. Just… strange.

-

Pre-season Friendly : LA Galaxy 1-4 Real Madrid

New daughter? Yep, me too. Brilliant, isn’t it?  Images: Reuters/Daylife, Getty Images/Zimbio

Goals from Jose Callejon, Joselu, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo succinctly articulated the gulf in class between LA Galaxy and Real Madrid, as the two sides played out a 4-1 friendly at the LA Coliseum on Saturday night.

Indeed, although it was pretty cool to see some masculine finery on the pitch during the off-season, we must confess to being slightly distracted by Davey B’s pink boots, worn in honour of new daughter Harper Seven. The man knows how to manipulate our emotions, if nothing else.

Sigh.

We want your highlights of the WWC, thoughts on the madness that is the Copa America, and anything else you deem noteworthy on this Monday morning. Hit it, Kickettes. 

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59 Responses to “Weekend Results: Loud, Quiet, Loud”

  1. linvinnaar says:

    Re Copa America: What is that? Spooning 2.0???

  2. Erika P says:

    i went to the Real Madrid game on saturday and wow. it was beautiful. the men look just as good in person as they do in pictures. xabi, iker, albiol, arbeloa, granero, kaka, ramos. love them all! i did what any kickette would do and yelled at the hot new spanish keeper until he smiled at me and i almost fainted. why can't real madrid stay here forever!?!?

  3. Deb S says:

    Gutted for my USA girls but no one deserved it more than Japan. They overcame such adversity just to get to the WC, homes lost, friends lost, practice field damaged, etc. But their resolve and determination was commendable! I'm not exactly sure why but the US just imploded….so many missed shots, uncharacteristic defensive errors in the box and most of all missed PK's. But to see the joy from the Japan team after the win brought tears to my eyes. Finally there is something to cheer about in Japan after such a dreadful tragedy. I truly hope the girls can be examples to the Japanese that it is possible to overcome their adversity, no mater how bleak it many seem.

    Madrid v Galaxy It was good to see Mou use some of his new signings and Canteras in the match. I though Becks had a good game but the quality and experience of the Madrid boys was just too much for the Galaxy. I also thought Kaka played better than he did last year. Hopefully, now that he's had a chance to recoop more, he will get back to his old self. Also, I think Donovan forgot that this was a friendly. He's used to dominating teams with his speed but not against RM he can't. They have a lot of players with speed. I'm really anxious for the season to start! Kickette, love the caption under the Becks/Kaka pic!

    Tevez, Tevez, Tevez…wth? It was such an even match and a good game. Happy for Uruguay…the became one of my fav to watch teams during the WC.

    Brazil…another wth? Yes, I understand that the turf around the spot was a mess but still you can't use that as an excuse when Paraguay was able to make theirs. Although, I must admit I was wondering why the refs wouldn't allow them to use the other end of the pitch to take the PKs, if the ground was so bad around the spot?

    For me, the Copa has been pretty evenly matched, even though Argentina and Brazil were early favorites. I'm anxiously awaiting the semifinal games.

  4. Lotte says:

    A belated congrats to the worthy ladies of Japan! In fact all the women participating in the final are heroes! I have seldom seen such drama on a football field. It was magnificent, and as Kickette put it, a remainder of why we love this game so much. Thanks Kickette for the reports, and thanks all the beautiful women of the beautiful game!

  5. Liz says:

    Vamos el Vinotinto (aka Venezuela), well in terms of South American football, I go for Uruguay, so I hope they win, but I am getting on the Venezuelan bandwagon for the sole reason being that my favourite singers are Venezuelan (Mariah Carey and the amazing Chino y Nacho – google Chino girls aka Jesus Miranda Perez and you will NOT be disappointed).

  6. TFBlovesArsenal says:

    I will be shocked if there isn't a drama/movie/anime released or planned in Japan about the WWC in the next 6 months.

    Also, while I really, really wanted the USA to win, I'm glad that they lost to Japan. After the earthquake, the tsunami, and the defunct nuclear reactor, it's so wonderful to see the Japanese people having something to celebrate for a change. The fact that they were the underdogs in the tournament and ended up defeating one of the best women's teams in the world in penalty shootouts is nothing short of phenomenal, and it was thrilling to watch them fight for their victory. They earned that trophy, and while I may be sad that my team lost, I'm truly happy for Japan.

    日本おめでとう!!

  7. Agnes Wonka says:

    The whole country went mad last Saturday night! It was so crazy, people celebrating on the streets, hugging each other…amazing! I saw that with my own eyes :) YEAH URUGUAY!!

  8. kushrenada says:

    I'd just like to pay tribute to all the players at the women's world cup.
    All the knock out games were insanely good.
    The final was an awesome match WAY better than the mens final last year.
    Fantastic buccaneering performance from the US, tactics spot on and did almost everything right but they just didn't factor in that Japan had steel ovaries and the unshakable will of champions.
    and all the players who brought the hotness saki kumagai, megan rapinoe (awesome hair), the entire Norwegian and most of the Swedish teams and homore sawa (she is ludicrously awesome), I could go on.
    and finally I was really enjoying how many alice bands there are in women's football right now

  9. gillianrosh says:

    The WWC final was just…bliss for this fan. USA & Japan were my fave teams this tournament, and I so wanted them to be in the final. I also wanted the final to be awesome and riveting and special. And wouldn't you know it: I got both my wishes! Amazing match. Amazing tournament. Thank you, ladies!

  10. amy says:

    Since I'm Uruguayan, well I was over the moon with last saturday result, but I couldn't stop feeling bad for messi and his poor baby puppy face. He's such a great player, and he's getting hotter every day (it's like, finally you're becoming a man!), and Argentina doesn't deserve him, they even questioned his loyalty to the NT. Wait, where was I?? Oh yeah messi is really hot these days, there's a really nice pic of him lying on the pitch, I would gladly sent it to you if I knew how or had the time to figure it out. Such a shame it's freezing and no one took their shirts off (I was counting on your forlan).

    • FootballDaze says:

      I agree! Messi has been looking really rugged lately. I'm liking it! The silent, understated, intense type. I love it when he lets his facial hair grow a bit, and he also leaves his hair a little long. I'm going to watch Barca when they play in Miami on Aug. 3, and I read today he'll be playing. I can't wait to see him!

    • Agnes Wonka says:

      omg i'm Uruguayan too! XDDDD

    • Lotte says:

      Agree, agree! I like it when he cuts his hair really short. I like his long hair too, but this is hot. I'm sad for him too, he played great. I agree totally, Argentina doesn't deserve him. All that rubbish about not singing the national anthem. There are lots of people not doing that. I guess they concentrate or takes in the atmosphere instead. Either way, if I where him I would have a hard time to commit after being questioned for no reason.

      Now it's all Uruguay! I have a soft spot for Caceres ;) .

    • Sarah, Madrid says:

      The problem is: Messi is living in Diego's Shadow in Argentine, if people accept that he is different kind of player than Diego, than maybe Argentine people will take it easy on him.
      and the fact he didn't play for any big club in Argentine is hurting him too, fans don't relate to him much.

  11. cescsababe says:

    I don't know how many Kickette readers would appreciate it, but if you guys could find it in your hearts to cover the hot women on the WNT (megan rapinoe! amy lepeilbet! so hot! so cute!) like you do the men, I would sure appreciate it. :) I was disappointed to learn that the WPS teams are mostly northeast (I live in the southwest) and I'd love to see more of these fabulous girls!

    • Rossanera says:

      … and not just the USWNT either, right?

      • cescsababe says:

        haha no not just the US. :) I must admit that I was thinking of the US, but how could I neglect the ladies on the other teams? I was sooo pleasantly surprised to see excellent soccer, and the fact that most of them were so good looking made the experience that much better!

    • FootballDaze says:

      Yes! Support for the ladies! I'm in! At least a top 5 Hall of Fame. I just love this site and the ideas it encourages, lol.

      Edit: That just reminded me of this Swedish player I saw for the first time in the Sweden/Japan game. It took me an hour to find out who she was: Jessica Landstrom. I saw her playing and all I could utter was… "Whoa". That is one attractive football player.
      http://smugglingtwins.files.wordpress.com/2011/06…

  12. Sandra says:

    I love Alex Morgan.. she is amazing soccer player! and she is a wag!! she is dating Servando Carrasco of the Seattle Sounders

  13. Marie says:

    wow… I'm shocked that … Argentina, Brazil & Chile … were knocked out!!! … & USA vs Japan … now thats a game … the boys from Copa America need to take notes …. & even though I wanted the USA to win … I'm happy for Japan … their country needed something to cheer about this year…

    & one more question … WHAT WAS UP WITH PENALTIES THIS WEEKEND!!!! .. 3/4 games went into penalties…

    • Deb S says:

      re: PKs, I know right? I thought the same thing. My poor heart can only take so much stress! lol

  14. Maria V says:

    I don't know if anyone else here has any idea what is like to lose for more than 5 goals game after game for many years, and now we're beating those same teams that "danced" around us.
    Well, be surprised rest of the world…
    Here in Venezuela the party is only starting!!!

    ARRIBA VINOTINTO!!!!!

    • Sarah, Madrid says:

      Ven Ven Ven-Venezula, when I saw them playing against Spain in a friendly game, I saw something special about this team.

      I am so excited to see them reach the final, copa needs a new winner.

    • annafcb says:

      Congrats! Venezuela has been amazing, such passion and talent! A joy to watch, cheers!

  15. viva_chivas says:

    Amazing final! Can you NOT compare that to Netherlands-Spain last sumer!?!?? And could any country have needed this win more than Japan? I actually shed a few tears at that result – in a crowded, 100% US-supporting bar which was disappointed but respectful at the result. CONGRATULATIONS, Japan! And a giant air kiss to you, Kickette, for covering the women — yes I love my man-candy but these ladies deserve so much love and respect! I'd rather eyeball Marta, Louise Necib, Megan Rapinoe et al over the latest underdressed WAGabee by a factor of a thousand …!

  16. Wow says:

    congrats to JWNT! Also what a phenomenon player Sawa is a true leader! Well done to USA for taking second place, and also to Sweden & France for taking third & forth place respectively! See all you lovely ladies next time in Canada!

  17. Sergz says:

    And Sweden won the bronze! I didn't see you guys mentioning it in your post and since i'm Swedish (and really proud) I just had to mention it.

  18. Sarah, Madrid says:

    I always respect Brazil, how can you not respect them when they had Ronaldo, kaka, dinho, Carlos, but a player like elano or Fred do such penalties, how could they play like that for BRAZIL, since when brazil loses in penalties.
    How could they miss these chances!
    At top of that they fought with Paraguay, since when Brazil fight like that jeez.
    Argentine vs uruguay was amazing, I feel so bad for argentine, but Uruguay deserved it. I ant say they played bad either teams, to be honest, vamos argentine!and hard luck
    WWC final, one word football at it's finest we saw everything,congrats Japan CONGRATS

    • Sarah, madrid says:

      Oh oh my team is back, yes I am in love with them, I love the new kits, ESP on Cris iker nd beck, kickette disappointed where is their pic!

  19. chay says:

    What a action-packed weekend! My eyes were solely on uruguay vs. argentina–what a heartstopper. I was torn between whom i wanted to win (seriously–very torn), but was happy that uruguay won. Would have been happy if argentina won too. I cried for argentina–would have cried for uruguay as well.

    Feeling bad for tevez, he "messed it up" for argentina. Poor guy …

    Just got finished watching the highlights of women's usa vs. japan. Wow, talk about another heartstopper! Both teams played well, japan deserved the win.

    Re the friendlies between RM and the galaxies, all i have to say is this: Did anyone notice how SMOKING HOT karim benzema looked with his tan??? :-D

  20. Liselotte says:

    I’m so happy Venezuela made it to the semis for the first time ever!! It means that FINALLY we are doing well in football, I’m just incredibly happy it’s unbelievable :D

  21. Lisette says:

    Whooo! Go Japan!

    I was delighted at this tournament. Not only was it really entertaining, but the other countries are catching up on the US, so it's not as one sided as people were fearing in the 90s and early 2000s.

    Now, everybody else is probably rolling their eyes and saying "well, duh. What did you expect to happen?" There were worries that women's football would end up like women's cricket, where the English are basically the only ones with the money and culture needed to dominate the sport. No one else comes close and it can get boring. But nope, other countries upped their game in women's football, which is great.

    • Deb S says:

      I feel like the recent addition of women's soccer leagues, particularly in the US has really helped Women's soccer. It gives them a chance to play with other good players from around the world, which can only help them improve.

      I'm also glad that it's not as one-sided and that more countries, even those who historically think a woman's place is in the kitchen, are supporting their women's team/players.

  22. xoWinnie says:

    i feel really bad for the US.
    i didn't get to watch the final because i was at work,
    but from what i've heard some amazing football was made.
    penalties are an awful way to lose for any team,
    they take away from the game's story.
    i'm glad to hear they were gracious and had good sportsmanship though.

  23. Lisette says:

    And don't forget the North Korean ladies, five of whom have tested positive for steroids:

    http://www.metro.co.uk/sport/oddballs/869547-nort…

    I have to admit that my first thought was "really, steroids? Y'all do realise that that's pretty much the first thing that drug tests look for in professional sports?"

  24. Lily says:

    I didn't know it was possible to be so bad to the point of not getting one penalty in. I never thought I would said this, but I lost faith in Brazil. The team is terrible and so is the coach.

  25. AC_USA says:

    Even though I live in States and was cheering for the U.S. with all my heart, way to go Japan. Congrtats :) As far as Copa America goes, if Uruguay messes up like Argentina and Brasil did, I am never watching Copa America ever again. I mean Brasil just got killed in penalties! Anyway hope that Uruguay wins the Copa and I cant wait for EPL to start. :)

  26. Cay says:

    The WWC Final just hurt, plain and simple. With the USMNT, who I adore, it was always kind of a question of "well, when are they going to be eliminated?" For the USWNT, though, the fact that they had such a clear shot at winning makes seeing them lose 100x harder. Seeing them trying not to cry during the ceremony made me want to cry. And it's sad that a player who is as phenomenal as Abby Wambach probably won't get another chance at the WC.

    I will say, though, that if any nation had to beat my team, I'm glad that it was Japan. They played (with the exception of the red at the end, but arg, let's not talk about that opportunity) a clean game, they're a great team, and I'm glad that that nation has something to celebrate after the last few months. So congrats, Japan. I'm just going to go back to my corner and cry now.

  27. JA7 says:

    What a crazy weekend it was for football! First I'd like to congratulate Japan for becoming the champions of the women's fifa world cup 2011!! :) My throat was sore from all the screaming I did yesterday, and I'm sooooo happy they won!!! The underdogs claim the prize :D They totally deserved the win! Second, I am over the moon that Uruguay have advanced in Copa America!! I really want them to win. Ahhh Muslera is a beast!<3 It just goes to show, that ANYTHING can happen in football :)
    ps. I cannot believe Brazil are out though </3 4 penalties man!! :O

  28. FootballDaze says:

    That world cup final was amazing. I was watching it in my room and I jumped up and down on my bed so much I almost broke it. I was rooting for Japan, but was sad the US lost too. What can you do. They can't both win. The US gave it a great shot, and played with heart, and Japan was pure class and patience, and took advantage of any hole the US left. That was a great game. And I agree, not many people will say they didn't deserve it. I don't know what happened to the US women, they just broke down right before penalties. The Japanese women were in a huddle, smiling and looked just grateful to be there. And then the camera pans to the US team, they're all on the ground, they look super nervous. But like I said, the US played well, and I'm glad Japan won. Abby Wambach and Hope Solo were so sweet in the interviews afterward, also saying Japan deserved it, and they played a great game. Don't see the guys doing that too often.

    • Rossanera says:

      Abby Wambach was so gracious and honourable and all-around classy in her post-game interview. What a fantastic role model she is, setting an example like that. You're right, you DON'T see sportsmanship like that very often.

    • Sarah, Madrid says:

      Yeah, Xavi should take notes, this is all I have to say.

      • Rossanera says:

        Too soon for El Clasico drama! Wait a few weeks ;)

        • Sarah, Madrid says:

          haha! no no, I am really not a person to look for classico drama . It is have nothing to do with classico1 Xavi is just the classic example of how some footballers don't know how to be a diplomtic :) .

          • Rossanera says:

            That is true though. You'd think he'd have learned by now to sit down and shut up and not get in trouble. He's like … the child who is bit by the angry dog but insists on petting it regardless. Am I making sense?

      • Kristine says:

        i would give you a million thumbs up if I could…

    • FootballDaze says:

      Regarding the sportsmanship of the US women's team, just look at this picture of Hope Solo after the game, talking with Aya Miyama. I don't think I've ever seen anything like this in the men's game. Just brings a tear to my eyes:
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/jul/18/ho…

  29. Rossanera says:

    Oh yes, I forgot to mention it – not related – but did anyone see Benny Feilhaber's meltdown last night? It really took me by surprise.

    • April says:

      I did! I was a bit disappointed, seeing as he wont be able to play DC United now. I kinda like when he gets a little feisty, but he was really pissed… and not at himself, even though he technically committed the foul. I do think the other player oversold it, but Benny was not in a good place last night. The humidity here? Maybe it is getting to him? It is early in the summer for it to be so bad here. That, or maybe the TOTAL LACK OF WINS for the Revs. It is frustrating- he's a great player, but they cant seem to figure out where to put him. Amongst some other issues they have as a team, I could see him regretting his decision to leave Denmark for this :-/

      • Guest says:

        Could also be a response to the complete douchebaggery that is Carlos Ruiz.

        Welcome to the club of people that can't stand the cheater that is El Pescadito, Benny. There are many card-carrying members.

        Benny's playing every day, day in day out. He needs to help his team get better. He shouldn't be regretting his leaving Denmark. As one of the "stars" of the Revs, expectations are high on him…

      • Rossanera says:

        The situation the Revs are in right now reminds me of Liverpool's struggles last season. I can see why he'd be frustrated.

  30. Rossanera says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the WWC final. WHAT a game. What a nail-biter! My commiserations to all the US Kickettes, but you should be so proud of your team. And congratulations to Japan – finally, that beleaguered nation has something to celebrate!