US Women’s Soccer team beats Brazil

I still have a hard time following soccer, but this apparently was an all-time classic ending. The US was down 2-1 in “extra time” when, in the very last minute of play, the Americans scored the tying goal. The outcome was decided by penalty kicks. This video, from ESPN, shows all the highlights of the game. Because of my lack of understanding of the rules of the game (extra time, offsides, etc), I found it tough to follow, but one thing was clear – the superb athleticism and abilities of all the players:


7 Responses to US Women’s Soccer team beats Brazil

  1. kad barma says:

    Few soccer games I can recall equal this one for sustained drama, and epic finish. The highlights here do not nearly capture the essential elements, which make it confusing to follow even for someone who knows the game, and saw it live–likely because ESPN and many of their commentators and analysts do not (apparently) know the game well enough to summarize it coherently. (The most glaring example being the chowderhead who criticized Megan Rapinoe’s contributions to the game prior to that final cross–Megan almost seemingly alone on the field throughout the extra time was visibly first to every ball near her, and alone creating almost all the chances that US earned, including most dramatically the last one at the last moment that abby Wambach finished, though the list is far longer than just that).

    Missing from this summary was the German crowd’s loud and boisterous adoption of the US side as the game progressed, ostensibly as a result of the US team’s indomitable spirit in the face of egregiously bad officiating, not to mention the often-unsportsmanlike (unsportswomanlike?) time-wasting and injury-feigning Brazilians. Missing also was the way that the US responded to going down a player, and carrying the attack against all odds throughout long stretches of the final 45 minutes of play. (Megan Rapinoe being the spark and the engine for so much of it).

    All the worst of soccer was here, (bad officiating and poor sportsmanship at the top of that list), and all the incredible dramatic best. The emotional impact of overcoming all the adversity put this game on par for me with any game in any sport I could name. No, the prize for winning, and the rivalry involved, does not quite measure up to Sox/Yanks in ’04, or USA over Russia in Lake Placid, (neither being for championships either, but for far higher stakes to the size and intensity of their respective constituencies), but if you compare just the game and its drama, this one absolutely stands there with them.

  2. Steve says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Barma that this was one of the great sporting triumphs I’ve ever seen. It was the latest goal ever scored in a World Cup, i understand, near the end of injury time in overtime. The announcers had said on at least two previous possessions, “And this is the last chance for the Americans…”

    I was annoyed by some of the commentary from the bozos on local sports TV and radio that continue to view soccer as some kind of communist plot. It’s a game. It doesn’t mean you can’t like the Red Sox. You don’t have to prove your sports patriotism by hating soccer, because what this team accomplished the other day was really astonishing. Wambach had a couple of defenders and the arms of the goalie near her own head on the final header; a half-second’s distraction or lack of focus and they lose.
    And as KB said, to have played with ten for such a long stretch and overcome some disastrous calls. What a team.

  3. DickH says:

    Thanks to KB and Steve for providing the perspective that was so obviously missing from the ESPN clip. Many of us will be following this tournament much more closely.

    A soccer aside – back in 1982, I was living in Nurnberg while serving in the US Army. I knew the World Cup was underway and that Germany was involved. Driving around the city one day, I noticed it was deserted, like some science fiction movie in which all the humans are scooped up and never seen again, and knew everyone was watching that day’s match. At home, I activated the PAL button on my TV so I could watch the game on a German station (it wasn’t live on Armed Forces Network). The game, between the West Germans and the Austrians, was the most boring thing I had ever seen. All the teams did was kick the ball back and forth at midfield. Germany, which took an early 1-0 lead, won by that score. My interest in soccer was suppressed.

    Shortly after that I learned that the game had essentially been fixed. Germany had already lost to Algeria, so if Austria tied or won, Germany would be eliminated. But if Germany won by 3 or more goals, Algeria would have gotten into the next level in place of Austria. For both to advance, Germany had to win by either 1 or 2 goals. Once Germany took the lead, all competitive play stopped and both teams advanced. It figures that of all the soccer games ever played, I chose to watch one most famous for its poor sportsmanship.

  4. DickH says:

    US plays France in the semi-finals tomorrow (Wednesday, July 13) at noon (eastern time). The game will be televised live on ESPN and streamed live on ESPN3

  5. Bob Forrant says:

    From that and a few other ‘rigged outcomes’ they now play all last round games at the group stage to get into the quarter and semifinals in major tournaments at exactly the same time so that the outcome of one can not then be used to fix the other. There were even occasions when a team that knew it was going ahead to the next round would lose on purpose so as not to play a particular opponent in the knock-out stage.

  6. Steve says:

    Good point-also re the game you saw in Germany-back then the players could kick the ball back to the goalie, who could pick it up. The rule change to eliminate that was a good one, because you could really slow the game down with that nonsense.

    Dick you mentioned confusion over the offside rule. The simplest way to express it is that if you’re a forward (or any attacking player) you can’t be behind the defense at the time the ball is passed to you.

  7. Victoria says:

    If you consider that in soccer, players must accurately pass a ball with their feet from half the distance of a football field while they are surrounded by players trying to take the ball from them and passing to somone else with opponents surrounding them waiting to intercept the pass, it is easy to appreciate the great skill level required by soccer, not to mention the stamina required since players are rarely substituted. Even at the Varsity High School level players are infrequently substituted.

    If you have never seen soccer live, consider watching the LHS soccer team. Both boys and girls teams went to the playoffs last year. Lowell had the highest seed in the MVC. It’s only $5.00 per game and the kids could use some support from the community because, as Steve said, the local TV and radio folks don’t do anything to help support the game. Last year when Lexington eliminated the boys team from the playoffs,(we lost 0-1 with a goal scored in the final few minutes) there were hundreds of people there….from Lexington. A few moms (maybe 4?) showed up from Lowell.

    There’s also the ONE Lowell World Cup coming up Aug. 6 and 7 at Cawley. Some of the teams are truly talented.