USA Women RULE...Christie Rampone (l) and Tobin Heath react at the penalty shootout during the FIFA Women's World Cup at the FIFA Stadium in Dresden, Germany on July 10th, 2011. Photo Credit ISI Photis
Soccer News: U.S. Women's National Team vs. France in Women's World Cup Semifinal: HALF TIME REPORT
USA vs FRANCE LIVE UPDATES from SoccerNation at O'Brien's in San Diego
USA’s stunning first goal was scored within the first 11 minutes of the Women's World Cup Semi Final and the crowd cheered. I am at O'Brien's - San Diego's official US Soccer Pub - surrounded by enthusiastic soccer fans.
U.S. Forward Lauren Cheney (who also plays for the Boston Breakers) scored the goal off of an assist from O'Reilly, giving our country the advantage with one ball already finding the net in the match against France.
Watching the match at the next table is Jen Lalor-Nielsen who played for the U.S. Women’s National team in the 1995 Women’s World Cup and has played professionally in Japan, Denmark and Sweden. Now Lalor-Nielsen is the Head Coach for the San Diego SeaLions and Director of Coaching for Girls at the San Diego Football Academy (SDFA). When Lalor-Nielsen was interviewed at O'Brien's on KFMB earlier this morning, Brad Perry asked her, as a former player in a World Cup, how are the players feeling? The answer was clear and covered a wide range of emotions. "Nervous, confident and excited," said Lalor-Nielsen.
"Getting an early goal in the game has given the U.S. Women's Team confidence. I feel the key for the game is the flank play (the outside mids) because they are dynamic on the ball and make things happen offensively," says Lalor-Nielsen. "France has been dictating play for the last 25 minutes of the first half which is why the early goal was so important."
"In order to counter France's strategy of possession, we need to have more numbers in the mid field so that we can deny space to the attack."
How do we win? "Personally, I would add another player to the mid field. Everything is going forward and we are loosing possession to quickly and we need to get back to playing a bit more possession and controlling the ball."
"Americans are winners. This team's mentality is all about winning. They will find a way to win this match against France and advance to play in the final."
"The U.S. has had several chances to score again. We need to make something out of nothing and score again and put the game away. Abby Wambach is so dangerous on any set piece. All we need is one more chance, one more goal and the game is done. Wambach's header winning the game for us against Brazil shows how dangerous she is and she is the best header in the world. She creates something out of 50 - 50 balls. Wambach puts herself out there and is able to challenge for the ball and score."
This is an important game for the U.S. and we are looking for a win and to advance to the final. The victory over Brazil in a penalty kick shootout during Sunday’s quarterfinal match has pumped up our hopes for the trophy as our team plays in the Women’s World Cup semifinals for the sixth consecutive time.
We are the only country to advance to the semi finals - also known as the final four - in every FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The World Cup teams often have players who are used to being along side of each other facing off to defend their countries. For example, France's Midfielder Camille Abily plays usually with U.S. defender Rachel Buehler and midfielder Shannon Boxx but today this former WPS championship player on the roster with FC Gold Pride in 2010 is taking on her former teammates. Abily is on the field for France playing against Boxx while Buelhler is forced to watch from the sidelines because of her RED CARD in the last match against Brazil. (Rachel Buelher was critical to our win against Brazil and will not be eligible to play against France because of her red card.)
Did you know that the USA’s win was the first time in FIFA Women’s World Cup history that a team came back to win after falling behind in overtime?
Last game, the world had to wait for the US victory with the 120+2 minute goal from Abby Wambach... that goal in the quarterfinals was the latest goal ever in Women’s World Cup history. Everyone wants the win against France to be easier, quicker and less tense.
While the back and forth soccer action continues, the feel at O'Brien's is one of cautious excitement as the USA leads 1-0 to France.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (Philadelphia Independence), Jill Loyden (magicJack), Hope Solo (magicJack)
DEFENDERS (8): Rachel Buehler (Boston Breakers), Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), Ali Krieger (out of contract), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Atlanta Beat), Christie Rampone (magicJack), Becky Sauerbrunn (magicJack)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (magicJack), Tobin Heath (Sky Blue FC), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Carli Lloyd (Atlanta Beat), Kelley O’Hara (Boston Breakers), Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Philadelphia Independence)
FORWARDS (4): Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Western New York Flash), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (magicJack)
YOUTH SOCCER SPOTLIGHT:
In youth-level tournaments, the USA and France have crossed paths three times since 2006. The Americans prevailed 1-0 in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2006 and 3-0 two years later in the same event, when the opening goal was netted by Alex Morgan. Also in 2008, the sides fought to a 1-1 draw in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
Before this match, in the Women's World Cup:
USA and France have scored the same amount of goals in their four matches so far, netting eight apiece, while Japan and Sweden both have seven. The most prolific attack still belongs to Brazil, who exited the tournament with nine goals scored.
France and USA have had more shots than any other sides in this tournament, with 80 and 76 respectively. They have also managed the most shots on target with 32 each.
The U.S. has an 11-0-1 all-time record in 12 previous friendlies against France with each of the last four meetings coming on neutral soil from 2004 to 2006. Wambach, Heather Mitts and Shannon Boxx have featured for the U.S. in each of those last four meetings.
The NEW Women's Soccer editorial section is sponsored by the San Diego SeaLions.
We deeply appreciate the SeaLions helping to offset the costs associated with this editorial coverage and want to acknowledge their tremendous support of women's soccer.
SeaLions one of the oldest female soccer clubs in the USA. The WPSL is a sixty-plus team national women's soccer league with five conferences and is considered one of the top women's soccer leagues in the world. For more information, please email Amie Becker