The match between the United States and Germany is arguably more worthy of a final than a semifinal, since Germany is ranked No. 1 and the U.S. is ranked No. 2 in the world. This is the way the bracket broke down though so the U.S. will need to beat the best in order to be the best.
[quote_box_center]“This is why we’re here,” said defender Ali Krieger, who played professionally for four years in Germany. “We want to beat the best team in the world and to win the trophy, that’s what you have to do. Coming off the game against China we have that extra confidence to hopefully start off the game as well as we did last one.” About Germany: “They’re good one v. one attacking, they can shoot from anywhere and they’re strong in the air as well,” Krieger said.[/quote_box_center]
This match will showcase the highest scoring team against the team with the best defensive record in the tournament so far. The U.S. game against China was proof that the Americans can also play well offensively IF they have the right players in the right place. By setting Morgan Brian as a center defensive midfielder and allowing Carli Lloyd to be more of an attacker, the U.S. had a more natural a balance to their play. The chances seemed to just flow out of the U.S. midfield as opposed to being bludgeoned out from the wings as in previous matches.
[quote_box_center]“[The U.S.] played a lot better in the midfield with Morgan Brian sitting [back] and allowing Carli Lloyd to be more offensive-minded. It’s really tough when you have two offensive-minded midfielders in there and they’re picking and choosing their times to either attack or sit back. It’s better when you have someone that’s truly able to sit there and be that defensive presence and allow them to just worry about the offense. Against Germany, the midfield is going to be huge.” – Heather Mitts, former USWNT player.[/quote_box_center]
Former USWNT coach Tony DiCicco said:[quote_box_center]“My feeling is Megan Rapinoe will be back in the lineup. It’s a more difficult decision between Lauren Holiday and Morgan Brian. I thought Morgan Brian played very well against China. She got herself in great position to receive passes and keep possession.”[/quote_box_center]
DiCicco’s strategy against Germany would be to continue to press high up the field, since so few teams have actually tested Germany. When France did it, they had some success. The opposing team needs to make Germany uncomfortable and take them out of their game. The U.S. has played great defensively, but have not scored as many goals as many would like to see.
Heather Mitts agreed with Tony in many aspects, saying that the U.S. needs to press high, but Coach Jill Ellis is going to have to make some adjustments.[quote_box_center] “We do need a high press and we need to pick and choose our moments to do it. I don’t think we can high press them for 90 minutes, just because they’re too good. Scoring has been our issue recently, and we’re going to be able to depend on the back four and Hope Solo, so it’s really up to our offense to create chances. It’s the semifinals. You have to take your chances.”[/quote_box_center]
When asked about California native Christen Press, Heather Mitts said they all had high expectations for her, but she is not in her best position as an outside mid. In this position she seems more concerned about her defensive role, but she belongs up top. Both DiCicco and Mitts agreed that the 4-3-3 is how they wanted to see the team playing, and that’s how they could use Christen Press more.
Tony believes in Christen Press up forward: [quote_box_center]“Without a question she is a forward, she is not confortable in the flank centrally. It’s her first World Cup, it’s a huge step for her. She will still get used in the tournament, as she can be a game changer.”[/quote_box_center]
Tomorrow’s game Will be the most exciting in this World Cup edition. The match will kick off in Montreal, Canada at 7p.m. local time.