U.S. Women Win A Beautiful Game
I want to send a congrats and thanks to the U.S. Women’s soccer team, who played a brilliant, nailbiting game against Brazil in the FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinals in Dresden, Germany, yesterday.
If you haven’t seen any coverage of this match, or some of the play-by-play, you missed one of the classic soccer matches, male or female.
I tuned in at the start of the second half, and after Australian ref Jacqui Melksham offered up a questionable red card, U.S. goalkeeping wonder Hope Solo blocked a Brazil penalty kick, only to be offered a yellow card herself for allegedly coming forward off the goal line before the ball was launched.
This led to Brazil getting another attempt on the penalty kick, and this time they were successful, tying the match.
But that’s about when the drama had only just begun. The U.S. played most of the second half a woman down (10 players, as opposed to 11), and was able to hold the match to 1-1 through regular time.
In the second minute of extra time, Brazil’s star player, Marta, took a pass to convert a left-footed shot that bounced off the post and past Solo to give Brazil the lead, 2-1.
The U.S. spent the next 18+ minutes trying to keep the ball on the Brazil side of the field, and thankfully the Australian ref saw through Brazil’s Erika attempt at time-killing faux injuries to give the U.S. three more minutes on the clock, enough time for Megan Rapinoe to kick a brilliant cross to Abby Wambach, who headed the ball past the Brazilian goalkeeper and into the goal in the 120th minute — you could hear American fans cheering in the stadium and across Facebook and Twitter.
That set up that most dramatic of soccer’s denouement, the penalty kickoff, which, just like as with the U.S. against China in the Women’s World Cup Final match in 1999, the Americans won, this time after a single missed Brazilian penalty kick by Daiane (the same player who had knocked in Brazil’s own goal early in the match) — even as America converted all five of theirs.
The U.S. Women’s team now moves on to meet France in the semi-finals, which provided their own surprise ouster of England on Saturday, a match that also ended in penalty kicks 1-1 (4-3).
It’ll be a tall order for that match to beat the one between the U.S. and Brazil, which some are already calling one of the greatest games every played.