Sweden into Rio final with shootout win over Brazil

The Equalizer Staff August 16, 2016 130
Sweden celebrates another PK shootout-victory.

Sweden celebrates another PK shootout-victory.

Sweden played Rio 2016 Olympic host Brazil to a 0-0 draw through 120 minutes on Tuesday in the semifinal of the women’s soccer tournament and advanced to the match by winning a penalty-kick shootout for the second time in 96 hours.

On Tuesday, Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl saved two of Brazil’s five penalty kicks as Sweden won the shootout, 4-3. Brazilian substitutes Cristiane and Andressa had their penalties stopped.

Four days earlier, Sweden eliminated the reigning world champion and three-time defending Olympic champion United States in a shootout after a 1-1 draw through 120 minutes.

Sweden, despite all its history, has never won an Olympic medal. That will change on Friday, with the question being whether or not the material will be silver or gold. The winner of Tuesday’s other semifinal, between Germany and Canada, awaits in the final.

[LAULETTA: Five reasons USWNT is headed home early from Olympics]

Tuesday’s semifinal served as a stark contrast to the match between the two sides in the group stage just over a week ago. Brazil thrashed Sweden, 5-1 in that match behind a brace each from Marta and Beatriz, as well as a goal from Cristiane. Lotta Schelin’s 89th-minute consolation goal was all Sweden could muster on that day.

But Sweden played a far less open game against Brazil the second time, packing nine and 10 players at a time behind the ball – a strategy which proved effective against the U.S. in the quarterfinals – and Brazil outshot Sweden 33-6 and maintained 65 percent of the possession, but couldn’t score.

Brazil will now have to play the bronze medal on Friday, missing out on the chance to win the country’s first Olympic soccer gold medal at home in the Maracana. For Marta, the five-time FIFA World Player of the Year, it could mean her career ending without a World Cup title or Olympic gold medal, with the next major tournament three years away. Brazil earned the silver medal in 2004 and 2008, losing to the U.S. both times.

[GORDON: Three questions facing USWNT moving forward]

  • Steglitz49

    The Miracle in the Maracana.

    • Camoes

      I hope Germany gives Pia a taste of her own medicine. Park the bus and let SWE try to score. See how they like it.

      • FlyingSquirrel42

        I’m not sure they’d be too bothered by it. Sweden just won two games with 1 goal in 240 minutes’ run of play, and then you’re putting a team who have just been through the pressure cooker of PKs twice against a team that haven’t.

        • Steglitz49

          With a competent refereeing team Sweden had won against USA without the need of penalties.

          FIFA must improve WoSo refereeing.

      • truf

        Yes, let’s not forget Brazil already played Swe this tournament. Sweden didn’t bunker and lost 5-1. Germany must let Sweden advance, let them possess…They must allow Sweden to open up.

  • guest

    Pia is squeezing water out of a rock while Ellis is choking the air out of USWNT brain.

  • BRA 4 vs SWE 0 OLIMPÍADAS

    i give up

    • Kevin

      /hug

  • Germany better get practicing their PK’s, someone has to beat Sweden. Also, really hoping Brazil wins Bronze over CAN.

    • MurderOnZidanesFloor

      Maybe I’m too influenced by BroSo but I feel Germany are the one team you definitely don’t want a penalty shootout against.

      • Guest

        I think the same applies to their women. Most of the German team has excellent ball striking technique. Even still playing behind the ball and countering is still the best tactic against Germany due their lack of pace on the back line.

        • Except Sasic when it counted most last summer..

          • Guest

            She’s long gone.

          • Guest

            That was like the first penalty she ever missed. Everyone misses at one point or another, even Marta.

          • Don’t we know it. Friday is still fresh. And I agree, I wouldn’t want a Germany PK shootout. Although Sweden seems to be just as good at it.

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            Sasic scored 2 when it counted most last summer, she just couldn’t do it 3 times when it counted most.

        • Guest

          I do not know about “most of the German team” having excellent technique. I remember about 25 shots sailing into row 25 in the WWC semifinal last year. Although I do think Mittag Behringer and Dabritz have been good as of late.

      • Ethan

        Well, Italy’s loss to Germany in the Euro16 shootout didn’t really have to do with German excellence.

      • Guest

        Why? They have a weak keeper

      • x

        I’d take Lindvahl over Shult(sp?) stopping them, but Sweden’s bigger problem is that everybody’s seen their favorite PKs.

        • MurderOnZidanesFloor

          Schult is a disaster waiting to happen but isn’t actually a bad shot stopper, so she might be okay with penalties.

    • Frode

      Germany may have more success breaking down the Swedish bunker than either the US or Brazil, if only because of Popp. She is one person who might actually get on the end of all those wide crosses. Germany also has central midfielders who can strike from distance (Mittag, Behringer, Maroszan, etc.). Not sure they have the technical players to slice up Sweden’s back lines (plural), though. I think Pia opens up her attack a bit more in the final.

      • Peter

        I say in the final both teams have about even chances to win. Germany is not that good. Decent, yes. But not great. Sweden’s defense is very good. I don’t see it gifting a penalty to their opponent like Canada did. And up top they are good for a goal. I reckon that their is a good chance it will be 0-0 after 120 minutes.

        Has Sweden ever one a title in a big tournament? I don’t think so. So these ladies are just one game away from writing themselves into the annals of Swedish soccer history. How’s that for motivation?

        • JL

          They won the first ever European Championship in 1984. But that had only 4 teams in it.

      • Guest

        The flanks are where the space will be and their OBs are not too strong

    • Hopefully the Brazilian women do not lay down like dogs like the men did when they were relegated to the third place match at home two years ago. But hey, at least they are not playing Germany.

  • x

    I cannot WAIT for the brilliant strategic innovation that kills off bunkerball.

    • Chak Khan

      the USWNT will want that coach on their team!!! It would be hilarious if they rehired Pia. Not that she would take their offer. Neid would never betray her country. Besides she said she would retire after OG.

      • x

        With the bunker’s popularity in the men’s game it’ll probably be a Barca or Germany manager that figures it out. And hopefully as soon as they do the whole world will copy.

        • Peter

          To bust the bunker you need the right players ! That’s the bottleneck in most cases (like to play Sweden’s defensive game you need high quality players) ! (Though one can certainly argue about whether the US has them and whether blame has to be put mainly on the coach.) Can you say Iniesta, Xavi, Kross, Özil, … ? Technically highly skilled players – Pugh, Heath, Morgan Brian, … With speed and precision that’s how you bust the bunker.

          • David K Anderson

            Exactly. The US already has the players. But they also have players NOT suited to that game…and those players wield tremendous political power…and are supported by a coach who’s massively resistant to the sort of change needed.

          • miker

            UWSNT coach is trying to play a style of football but she doesn’t have the right personnel to execute. Who care she is stubborn and keeps banging her head against the same wall.

            A great coach chooses a system to play that fits the personnel you have!!

  • NYRick

    Taking all of WoSo on one big ride. All aboard.

    • Cc W

      Heja Sverige!

  • Camoes

    Brasil coach must be fired. He knew the Pia game plan, and insisted his side would do BETTER than the reigning WC champions USA at finding a way through the Swedish mire. He was a fool. Basil should have sat back like SWE and see who blinked first. I can’t believe the arrogance of Pia thinking a PK situation favored SWE. It’s 50/50. Those are good odds for victory?

    • Paul Klee

      Hopefully they can get a good result against Canada in the bronze match. If they can physically survive the Canadian thug machine.

      • Observed

        I think CAN took out Meir in the last minute. She was limping badly. But these German women are tough. Did you see Popp staring down Herdman?

        • ARED

          Geramany has faced a lot of adversity -mostly from physical play and unfair challenges. Don’t forget Laudehr as well. But many of their key players have taken bad challenges and will still be hurting a bit.

          We’ll see who is fit and able to perform for the final…

      • Guest

        Canadian thug machines*

    • Calci0

      50/50 vs knowing the last time you attempted open play vs Brasil the score was 5-1. I think she’d take the odds of a PK shootout…

    • Guest

      50/50 unless you are dumb enough to send out your resident choke artist 5th

    • John

      I would not risk penalties against the Germans if I were Pia. They have a habit of winning their penalty shootouts.

    • newsouth

      PK situation favors the Swedes given Brasil’s history of mental breakdowns during games. what are the odds 5 Brasilian women will produce 5 successful shots? Odds are probably up their with winning the lotto. I’d go 66/33 Sweden on those odds. Germany is a different story.

  • NYRick

    Let’s face, if Pia wins gold coaching two different countries in successive OGs, that kind of puts her in elite coaching air.

    • MurderOnZidanesFloor

      Think Silvia will be on that same level if she adds an Olympic gold to her World Cup and European Championship wins.

      • NYRick

        Yeah but that’s with one country and one program that she knows very well. The big deal always in American sports (Big 4 anyway) is when a great coach goes to another team and actually wins with that team too.

        • Steglitz49

          Even Pellerud moved on from Norway to Canada and then to Trinidad & Tobago. Finally he came out of retirement for Norway for Euro-13 and managed them in Euro-15.

          Herdman cut his teeth on New Zealand and then went to Canada.

          Pia manages her native Sweden after sorting out the US.

          Of those three, Pellerud has been the greatest and left the biggest footprint on WoSo. Pia is next and Herdman not too bad either. (Pia, well understood, had the advantage of managing a really populous country.)

      • Guest

        I have to say that I think both coaches have clear tactical deficiencies regardless of the outcome. There is just too much variance with these knockout tournaments.

      • Calci0

        True, though Neid will owe part of it to longevity. For as good as the USWNT is, even with success, the team seems to cycle through coaches faster than some other top nations.

    • FlyingSquirrel42

      Has anybody done that before? Men’s or women’s coaches?

      • NYRick

        Not sure on soccer. But for some perspective, in American football I think about 5 or so have taken two different teams to the Super Bowl but never won it all with both teams (they include Shula, Parcells, Vermeil). Phil Jackson I know who NBA titles with the Bulls and Lakers. Not sure on baseball, someone must have done it.

        For me, the greatest coaching job in sports was Coach Keenan for the 1994 NY Rangers Stanley Cup champs team. The Rangers had a stacked team with a ton of talent, but they had the 54 year old curse. To understand it fully, you had to be a Rangers fan. That’s why to this day I only refer Mike Keenan as Coach Keenan, nothing else. He slayed the dragon.

        Others of course are Terry Francona (he is trying to do it with the Indians this year) with the Red Sox in 04.

        • FlyingSquirrel42

          Yeah…those of us who grew up in St. Louis and were fans of the mid-’90s Blues have less than fond memories of Mr. Keenan as coach. Plus he’d previously been with the Blackhawks, whom we were pretty much obligated to despise as a matter of principle.

          Though I still remember the “St. Patrick’s Day Massacre” STL/CHI game of 1991 (when Brian Sutter was coaching the Blues and Keenan was coaching the Blackhawks) for pure “it’s like a car wreck and I can’t look away” value – something like 6 game misconducts on each side by the end of the second period. At one point when multiple skirmishes were taking place at once, a Blues defenseman just pinned a Hawks player to the ice and refused to let him get up. He later explained that he’d already been skating double-shifts because of all the penalties and was too tired to fight anybody by then.

  • Maybe Germany will play the bunker game too and they’ll all just stand around for 120 minutes?

    • Guest

      There are ways to draw out a bunker while preserving your own side but sending 9 forwards to the goal isn’t how you do it

      • ARED

        HA! (and true).

    • Tom F

      Germany never bunkers, their problem is quite the opposite; they bring their fb’s way up, leaving their flanks dangerously exposed. That’s why the US always seems to have Germany’s number when they play each oter.
      Swedem got some could counter attackers to., but they’ve decided to put whats arguably the fastest player in the world in Sofia Jacobbson, in a more mid/wide role instead at forward. Not sure if she can use her speed quite as effective in that spot(especially when your bunkering)

  • Silver Frost

    78,000 at the Maracana watched a women’s futbol match in Brazil. Historical. But also a nightmare for the home side.

    • guest

      Brazil v Sweden attendance in Rio listed as 70,454 in match report on Olympic games site ( Rio2016.com )

    • guest

      It really sucks for the sport to be honest. Men’s football is going to be popular no matter what so people will be okay watching Portugal muddy games up to victory. Watching Sweden use the same tactic and be successful will just turn people away. I hope Germany take gold.

      • Miami66

        Well hopefully Brazil win the Bronze.

    • Cc W

      My Swedish roots wanted the Swedes to win, but my woso side really wanted Marta in the final and Brazil to win it all. The storybook ending would have been sweet in this situation. I’m not a big fan of Pia, but I am of Lotta Schelin – so I hope she gets a gold medal on Friday! (final on Friday yes?)

  • mskillens

    Neid vs Sundhage, perhaps the last big tournament they coach? Both played as players against each other in the early 90s right?

    • Steglitz49

      Both have said they will retire after this OG.

      Neid’s successor is already appointed. No info from Sweden.

  • Tom F

    just like the Steg is master of the EQ, Sweden is master of Brazil!!!

  • Cc W

    Tough to beat the same team twice in a tourney. I have to watch the games tonight – work got in the way today. Feel bad for Marta, but Sweden did what they needed to do.

    But if you’re the Swedish FF – Pia gets you either a silver or gold medal – do you keep her around for the next cycle or find someone new? She was coaching for her job, but is this enough? Being Swedish, I’m betting she keeps her job. She’s winning in a very Swedish way – not flashy, not exciting, but effective.

    • Steglitz49

      Pia has already made it clear that she does not want to continue beyond the olympics.

  • Pia Sundhage is on course for a 3rd gold medal

    • Steglitz49

      Indeed. She is already unique having managed teams that got her to the final 3 times in a row.

  • john

    From the highlights those look like two legitimate saves by Lindahl

    • Peter

      Lindahl for best player of the tournament?

      • Guest

        She might be frontrunner for FIFA POTY since it is wide open now. Cannot think of anyone else who deserves it honestly.

        • Peter

          If Sweden wins the final and she makes a couple of great saves, it may happen. I think Sweden has about 50% chance of winning the tournament.

          • Steglitz49

            Generous. 40% for Sweden and 60% to Germany more like it, if not even 33/67.

        • Steglitz49

          Seeing that FIFA is keen to promote defenders and goalies to get away from the strikers and goals image for POTY, a not unlikely player.

  • RIP ME

    I miss the sonia neids jacket

    • Rufan

      My wife would always comment on how well she dressed.

  • Guest

    Noooo Martaaaaaaa 🙁

  • mizsoccer

    Sweden: making soccer ugly and boring since 2016

    • Peter

      Ugly and boring if your team is at the receiving end of it ! Otherwise you might admire the defensive prowess. As has been said here about a dozen times since the US’s loss: Sweden plays a tactic that has been around for a long time. Excellent teams have found ways to bust the bunker in the past and will do so in the future. The US was not good enough this time.

      • Steglitz49

        Hear hear.

        Also the incompetent refs meant that Sweden.USA went to penalties, which it should not have done. Sweden were laso denied 3 corners by the same lineswoman against Brazil.

      • Craigaroo

        And excellent teams have foundered against the bunker. Or perhaps we call them just-short-of-excellent. It’s negative soccer, it’s a bad trend for the game, and almost universally fans prefer tournaments which don’t have successful bunkering teams to ones that do (like Euro 2004 I think it was – Greece?)

  • Gary Diver

    3 for 6

    So far 3 out of the 6 knock-out matches have been determined by glorified coin tosses. I hope the final is also is decided by PKs so people will wake up and seriously look at a fairer way to determine the outcome of championship games. Why should luck play such an important role in a match’s outcome. Hockey has moved away from shootouts and their fans are happy about it.

    • Steglitz49

      With a competent ref crew, Sweden would have won without penalties. They should have won in regulation and forsooth in extra time.

      The real issue is the poor quality of the refereeing. Even in the Brazil-Sweden match, Sweden was denied 3 corners by the same lineswoman. It meant that Sweden could not sustain pressure.

      • David K Anderson

        I disagree. A part of the refs’ incompetence was letting Sweden get away with persistent infringement for basically the entire first half. Promising US attacks got hacked down over and over…with fouls called, but no bookings. Put a couple players in the book for PI, the game changes, and no way they keep the US from scoring more goals.

        Moreover, I think the US goal called back for offside was actually good, too: there was a defender at the top of the screen that sure looked like she held Lloyd onside…but wasn’t the person marking her, and the AR didn’t notice.

        • Guest

          Honestly if, and I know this is a big if, this loss knocks down some of the veteran down a peg and we start to see some of the older players phased out, I think it will end up being a positive. Morgan likely isn’t going anywhere but just replacing Lloyd with quality player will probably be and immediate impactful improvement. I think without Lloyd the rest of the team will pick up the scoring slack and the problem has never really been scoring goals anyway. The US’s problem is creating quality chances against good defenses. Lloyd should stop being selected from the starting XI and dropped from the team all together if she can’t be supportive from the bench.

          • Steglitz49

            They can keep Dunn, Horan and Pugh with Moe Brian and Alex on probation. The rest can be put out to grass.

          • David K Anderson

            Not including Heath in that list might be the dumbest thing you’ve ever done here.

          • Steglitz49

            Tobin will be on the old side in 2019. She has more than enough medals to keep her content.

          • David K Anderson

            I don’t disagree…but I very much doubt that’s going to happen. It’s Carli’s team right now, and even this object lesson in the need to modernize their playstyle won’t change that. Ellis lets this happen (which is precisely what she was hired to do: not make waves with the Old Guard), and Gulati won’t fire her…because World Cup.We’ll waste the next few years _not_ properly developing some prodigious young talent (Lavelle, Colaprico, etc.), until another disastrous tournament finally gets heads rolling.

          • Steglitz49

            It will. This is the US’s worst loss. They have never been dismissed in a QF of a mjor tournament before.

            I expect Carli to use her wedding to bow out elegantly.

          • rkmid71

            The only example of bowing out elegantly that I can think of is Holiday. There may have been others in the distant past. Lloyd is no Holiday. The only way I see it happening is if JE lets her know that she won’t be selecting her going forward, thus providing the impetus for a face saving retirement. Rapinoe certainly didn’t provide much of an example of doing what’s best for team and JE enabled it. And not just Rapinoe, but all the others like Boxx, Wambach, Rampone, etc. Was there any elegance? I think Lloyd has been too public about her personal goals for her to bow out on her own volition and I don’t see her taking any responsibility as captain for this disaster –it would contradict the narrative that Lloyd and her trainer have been spouting. We need a strong coach and I’m not sure JE has that in her. It will be interesting to see what actions are taken in the coming months (CBA, etc). The easy one for me is that Solo is DONE with the NT and at a minimum, Lloyd should no longer be a captain. What an embarrassment.

          • Steglitz49

            If I were JE, I would not select Carli again.

            If Carli has any sense, she asks JE to be excused on account of her wedding. That will be granted and she does not play for Houston on her Wedding Day, though no doubt the Swedes would on theirs.

        • Steglitz49

          There should have been a penalty against JJ early on for the pull on Sembrandt and at least a yellow card. The yellow card on Carli should have been handed out much earlier.

          Mind you, that might have been a bugle call to the US. As it was the score in the 2nd half had a different impact.

          The US has become too used to teams being in awe of them and politely saying “after you, ma’am”. When a team stands firm, does not yield an inch and gives as good as it gets, it is a different ball game.

          No conclusions can be drawn from the stats with such an inept crew that did not even know the rulebook,

          • David K Anderson

            Correct: the refereeing mistakes were basically a wash…so stop obsessively (and embarrassingly) whinging about it with every post. Simply pathetic…

          • Steglitz49

            No. They were not a wash. They overwhelmingly damaged Sweden and you know it. With a competent crew Sweden should have won both in regulation and in extra time.

            Players have a right to expect that refereeing team know the laws of the game and have been to the opticians before a major tournament.

    • Hugo

      Would you also like to discuss it if the USWNT would have won the PKs against Sweden. Remember 99?

      • Steglitz49

        Indeed.

    • Craigaroo

      Maybe it’s time for me to dust off an old idea, whose idea is to have significant impact while changing least the spirit of the laws of the game: on corner kicks, the defending team must keep two players outside an offensive zone line until ball is kicked. Variation – maybe the rule only comes into play when games go to extra time.

      • NYRick

        That’s fantastic. I love that idea. Get ready for S49 to inject about disturbing the beautiful game with any new sane idea. It’s called evolution.

  • Bruce

    Congrats to Sweden for making the final, but I can’t bring myself to say that they bunkered particularly well in either game.

    Both the US and Brazil lacked midfield creativity and gave up on breaking down the defense by the 60th minute. It was like watching the same game twice.

    • Gary Diver

      Unlike the tomato cans that USWNT plays, Sweden has an effective counter-attack and that makes all of the difference.

      • smallbatches

        how many goals did they have and how many shots? Not much of a counterattack if you ask me.

        • newsouth

          a great counter puncher doesn’t have to knock you out for you to stay away from the counter shots, he just has to clip you one time and you tend to shy away.

        • Steglitz49

          Scored twice against the US. Lotta’s goal was good. Incompetent ref crew. No need for penalties in the QF.

  • BigBadBossMan

    This is great news for the 5 people in Sweden who care. It’s horrible for WoSo overall…

    • Steglitz49

      1.2m (13%) Swedes watched the match against Brazil (and 1m continued to watch the after match interviews and discussions).

      That is equivalent to 40m Americans watching their WNT. Does anyone have figures for the US during the OG? About 25m watched the WC-15 final I seems to remember.

      • BigBadBossMan

        Thats great Steg as a % of the Swedish population clearly Scandinavia/North Europe nations are more for gender equality than other places in the world. But it’s still a lot better for WoSo if USA or Brazil wins and you know it

        • Steglitz49

          That is not in dispute and I have made the same point myself many times.

          The record for any TV viewing in Sweden is the 2003 ladies WC final when almost 50% of the country watched, the equivalent of about 150m in the US. That match was on the main TV.

          OG-16 are on a commercial channel and unless you pay for it you can’t watch, which no doubt reduces the audience.

  • Steglitz49

    Just when you thought that it was safe to go out into the woods again, allegedly Pia Sundhage has indicated that she could change her mind about stepping down as manager of the SWNT.

    In contrast to Germany, where Sylvia Neid’s successor was announced last year, there has not been a squeak out of Sweden about any next head coach. It is possible that the SFF were hoping that Pia would stay on at least till after Euro-17. That may now happen.

  • Kolja

    Silvia Neid has quite some damage to womens soccer here in Germany because of the highly unattractive style of play – the success of the german team more or less comes despite her being the head-coach, not because of her. Even in the WC 2007, when Germany won without conceding a goal, they played mostly dull and below their standards while needing a lot of luck too (which you always need to win tournaments like that though). But that gives you an idea how good the players really are – even though she always lefts out a few players who should be in the team in the first place, the squad has outstanding quality. The technical and tactical education in germany`s club teams and the DFB is outstanding, producing a lot of brillant players. Sadly Neid hasnt got a clue about how to play them to their strengths, commits tactical errors all the time and the overall style of play, if she actually has a general idea how to play, is a disgrace to the players she has.
    But that is me thinking women soccer is still very much about the way you play, not as much about the result. So, yes, I don`t like teams like sweden parking the bus, but if you don`t have the quality to play it is more understandable to use those tactics. If you have the best players in the world in your team you should let them play for the love of the game – and to win the hearts of the fans first, then, maybe, the title. Puh, got that off my chest.

  • NYRick

    Right now the top keeper in WoSo is Hedvig “And the Angry Save” Lindahl.

    Sorry Hope, there is a new sheriff in town.

    • Craigaroo

      I was just going to say, Hedvig is, as much as anyone, the player of the tournament. I always liked her but over time I thought she failed to become one of the very top, truly elite goalkeepers. But I was impressed before the shootout with the US how fired up she was, which the TV cameras caught. Good for her. This is her moment. This is her time.
      ¶ Other than that, it’s hard to say what to really look forward to. Perhaps Däbritz. Germany has other fine players but they haven’t done all that much under Neid. And Sweden will have to bunker again so… ick.

      • Steglitz49

        To win one pso is fortunate; to win two in a row makes you a star.

        “Lindahl-Dahlkvsit forever in our hearts” should be on every Swedish flag and in the minds of all Swedes.

    • Steglitz49

      Thank you. Verily.

      Hedvig has improved with leaps and bounds since WC-11 and even since WC-15. Still has the odd walkabout moment in each match of which the Teuronic lasses might well avail themselves.

      • Guest

        You do realize none of these are personal compliments right?

  • guest

    i encourage sweden to keep two defenders on the goalie line the whole game if they want to win olympic gold.

  • guest

    Sweden taking play from 3rd place team Portugal tie and advance new battle cry for lesser team.

  • dw

    Congratulations to the Swedes. The golden generation will be silver at worst. If Press could manage a big game winner, HFCToDi would only have France left in his repetoire of repetitive vitriol.

    • Steglitz49

      You could say that he was proved right.

  • Tikitaka

    Hope Germany wins this to spite Pia’s archaic style of football.

    • Steglitz49

      You play with the players you have. You can’t field players you do not have.

      • ARED

        True, but when Pia had Sauerbrunn, O’Hara, Morgan, Cheney/Holiday, Rapinoe, and Heath she didn’t use them or didn’t use them to their full potential, due to preference, not lack of players/options/talent.

        • Steglitz49

          Pia took over after the 2007 meltdown and internecine strife. She read them the riot act. They won OG-08 without Abby. The only final they lost was the WC to Japan. Granted WC-11 was like unto WC-54 in symbolism, significance and upset.

          Could WC-11 have been won? I doubt it. Those Nadeshiko were something esle.

          • ARED

            I think we’ve been through this before, but as amazing as Japan was, the US should or at least could have won. Miyama’s goal came from a gift of poor defensive plays, while the USA backline was poorly constructed. A brilliant finish, but never would have had the chance without Rampone, LePeilbet, and Buehler all having some significant problems.

            On Sawa’s goal I think it was more a great goal than error, but I still imagine the US would not have been happy conceding anything on corner kicks to Japan.

            And finally, Alex Morgan didn’t start. So…..I hold firm with “didn’t use the USA players to their full potential”.

          • Steglitz49

            The Nadeshiko were on song and intensely motivated while the US squandered chances by not passing instead shooting themselves from poor angles.

            Alex passed to Abby’s header but the Japanese did not give up.

          • ARED

            I agree -which speaks to my point: The USA, better managed or better played, could have won that match. Even with their big flaws (to me) in player selection and even formation and style, they really had avoidable errors for Miyama’s goal.

          • Steglitz49

            But it was Sasaki and his merry band of Nadeshiko who prevailed and lifted WoSo to a new level, winning the hearts and minds of the world.

            Not since the WC-54 final has a soccer match had such pregnant symbolism.

        • AlexH

          2 OG Golds and a WC runner up after PK’s is pretty close to a team’s full potential.

          What isn’t close to a team’s full potential is a QF exit. Jill needs to go.

          • ARED

            Well, a team’s potential is both subjective and relative, so it’s a tricky subject I think….

            I’d argue the expectation for the team as it was would be about what they achieved -as you say, to win two gold medals and a WC runner up is not a small thing. But I’d also say they could have used different players and been better, and used different tactics/style and been better. So, their true potential was higher for me. I love Japan, but I think the USA should be very disappointed to have missed out on a great chance to win in 2011 and 2015. Holiday, Morgan, Rapinoe, Heath, Sauerbrunn, and Solo. This was a great generation of players, who came very close to not winning any WCs….for their sake I am glad they won in 2015 (despite Ellis, in my opinion).

            I think Ellis has a better team and did worse at the OG, but with the WC -lucky as it was -it’s a bit of a toss up. But I still believe the best manager they’ve had since DicCio is Sermanni -but even that is hard to say since he never got a single major tournament, while most get several.

  • ARED

    I knew I wouldn’t like how this turned out once the knockout bracket was set (from a neutral perspective of wanting to see good, open matches).

    Brazil and Australia play great but eliminate each other, France plays well but loses to a tough Canada. Germany oddly becomes the more attractive option in the bottom half of the draw (for the neutral) despite not being overly attractive themselves at the moment (thanks in large part to Neid).

    I admit I thought the USA would most likely manage to eliminate Sweden and then suffer in the SF or Final, so some might say it’s even worse than I predicted….lol.