Was it so impossible to lose against Sweden? Not in my opinion. Not that the Swedish ran and played everyone into the ground before, but they are a strong team with lots of abilities, especially when they have nothing to lose. Somehow I am convinced they will look just half as good against the Australian Matildas. Besides that, it was clear from the first game actually, that the favorites might face some stiff resistance in their efforts to go through to the final. The Germans didn’t play like a Champ in their first two games, Brazil didn’t look like they would roll over everyone in the first game as well. And the U.S. already had a good portion of luck in the first game against North Korea. A surprise? Not really.
In my opinion, the competition in women soccer has very much improved and the “smaller” teams are catching up. Norway had to pack up after losing to Australia. Remember, that’s the fist time that Norway didn’t make it beyond the group stages. Some results in the group stages clearly demonstrated that there is a movement in women soccer. The best thing about that, it is great for women soccer.
Sure, as a fan of the U.S. one would prefer to see the others struggling, but wait. The tournament is not over yet. Others might face much worse than losing out on a group game. For example, Brazil. How about that? Brazil going home after the quarterfinal because of the same reasons the U.S. and Germany found themselves in trouble. Some people have created a game fixture not only for the group stages, but also well beyond. It doesn’t work like that in soccer. Every World Cup has its own dynamics and everything is possible. The times that favorites in women soccer go untouched into the semi finals are over. The interesting games, by names, are now happening a round earlier. When the women’s world cup one day starts with the same number of teams like the men, this might even happen two rounds earlier. Get ready for that.
In my opinion, while losing, the U.S. played a great game. They pressured, they created chances, everyone was on top or close to playing on top of their game. Look at poor Amy LePeilbet. I don’t think she played a bad game. What was she supposed to do in that situation that led to the PK? In my opinion she actually did very well and almost got the ball, without creating a clear case for a red card. Yes, it was a red card, just by rule, but in this case she got credit from the referee. What could she do at the second goal? What could anyone do about that second goal? A silly foul that led to the free kick? Keep in mind, we saw a great and fast game by two great teams, fouls happen.
I am not worried about the Brazil game. The Sweden game makes me confident that the U.S. is ready and able to beat Brazil. As a matter of fact, I am sure that the U.S. is going to win. Somehow my common soccer sense tells me the U.S. is the better team. Also, Brazil didn’t have enough trouble yet and I don’t think they can get themselves out of serious trouble such as the U.S. women. We will see.