Lauren Cheney’s ninth minute goal has given the United States a 1-0 lead over France at halftime in the semifinal of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but France has dominated most of the play. Here are three halftime observations:
- France winning midfield battle – France will score today. That or Hope Solo will yet again have the game of her life. The French are unlucky not to be level at the half in particular due to Sonia Bompastor hitting the crossbar on a clever free kick in the 33rd minute. France is dominating the U.S. in the midfield thanks to a numbers advantage and that is what is putting so much pressure on the U.S. defenders.
- USA defending well – The United States has held its own defensively despite a flurry of attacks from France, which is playing the beautiful soccer that everyone expected out of Bruno Bini’s squad. France has been the most entertaining team of this tournament and continues to be that. But Christie Rampone, Ali Krieger and Amy LePeilbet have been good as usual and Becky Sauerbrunn has done well stepping into Rachel Buehler’s place.
- French defense is its weakness – That was expected. Laura Georges has been shockingly poor in this match and Heather O’Reilly will need to continue to attack her. Georges has been beat a couple of times in this first half. She’s been diving in and lacked proper positioning to contain USA attackers.
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