The quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup kick-off on Saturday, meaning just eight teams are left in the quest for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. That also means that eight teams have been sent home after just three games of group play.
Unfortunately, the world will not be further exposed to some great players on teams that just did not have enough to collectively get through to the knockout stage. The eight teams eliminated from the tournament are Nigeria, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, North Korea, Colombia, Norway and Equatorial Guinea.
The early departures of Canada and Norway were particularly strong examples of teams falling from grace, while New Zealand and Equatorial Guinea leaving early was expected but unfortunate. Taking into consideration strictly players on the eight teams that are no longer in the tournament, below is a Group Stage Best XI. We’ll call it “The All-Eliminated Team.” It features at least one player from each of the eight teams that have departed Germany.
The All-Eliminated Team:
Goalkeeper: Precious Dede, Nigeria – Dede was stellar in net for the Super Falcons, who gave up just two goals in the entire tournament. Nigeria held Germany and France to a goal apiece before finishing with pride in a 1-0 victory over Canada.
Defender: Ali Riley, New Zealand – Riley assisted Hannah Wilkinson’s stoppage time equalizer against Mexico and was dangerous going forward throughout the tournament. She was also expectedly stellar defensively.
Defender: Osinachi Ohale, Nigeria – Equal to Dede in the net for Nigeria was Ohale at center back, who was particularly impressive in containing the German attack.
Defender: Song Jong-Sun, North Korea – Song looked good going forward and in defense, particularly considering the center of North Korea’s defense was weak. At 30-years-old, she was a rare veteran on the tournament’s youngest team.
Midfielder: Emilie Haavi, Norway – The 19-year-old midfielder was a constant threat for Norway out wide on the flank and a definite bright spot on an otherwise very average team.
Midfielder: Añonma, Equatorial Guinea – She could be the best player not to be playing in the knockout stage. Añonma proved to be the flashy player everyone was hoping for, scoring Equatorial Guinea’s only two goals and proving she isn’t afraid to shoot no matter how far out she is from goal.
Midfielder: Diana Matheson, Canada – Matheson was probably Canada’s best player in what was easily the most disappointing team of the World Cup. She is consistently one of the smallest players on the field but always dangerous.
Midfielder: Carmen Rodallega, Colombia – Consistent she was not, but the flashes of good play that we saw from Rodallega were definite bright spots. She was a player that gave Colombia attacking options on the left flank and kept defenders honest.
Forward: Maribel Dominguez, Mexico – The Mexican captain scored once and added an assist for her country in this Women’s World Cup, where Mexico managed a shocking 1-1 draw with England but also collapsed in the final minutes of group play against New Zealand, giving up two late goals to tie 2-2.
Forward: Hannah Wilkinson, New Zealand – At just 19-years-old, Wilkinson is the future of New Zealand’s attack. She scored the equalizer in the fourth minute of stoppage time on Tuesday to give the Kiwis their first-ever point in the Women’s World Cup.
Forward: Katerin Castro, Colombia – Like Rodallega, the consistency was not there for Castro, but she showed well against the United States in particular. Castro was unlucky not to have finished one against the Americans.
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