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Thread: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

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    Mod Squad jeffbear's Avatar
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    Default 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    The Women's World Cup is gearing up as teams arrive in France for their pre-tournament camps following the last round of prep friendlies. The US are still the betting favorites, but of course the gap between them and the field at the top end of the pecking order has pretty much evened out. The US, France, Germany and England are the betting favorites with Spain, Sweden, Japan, Brazil and Australia making up a strong 2nd tier. The depth of the women's game has never been better and there are no more walkovers to be found.

    Here are the groups:

    Group A: France, Norway, So Korea, Nigeria

    Group B: Germany, Spain, China, So Africa

    Group C: Italy, Brazil, Australia, Jamaica

    Group D: England, Scotland, Argentina, Japan

    Group E: Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Cameroon

    Group F: Sweden, United States, Chile, Thailand

    The deepest group is probably C, with three very equally matched sides ... but don't sleep on group D since the two "weaker" sides in Scotland and Argentina have the ability to score, which always makes things interesting. Drawing the Scots AND Argentina against England didn't do the English any favors either. Those are emotionally charged slug-fests ... men, women, whatever. The US had some bobbles in qualifying and probably aren't happy to see old nemesis Sweden in their group. US Coach Jill Ellis went with a VERY conservative, very veteran roster that leans heavily on her winning group from 4 years ago. That's been criticized in some corners as playing it too safe, and honestly ... if Julie Johnston Ertz gets hurt or suspended they don't have a single like for like backup plan at defensive mid in their 4-3-3 shape that throws both fullbacks forward along with both wide midfielders leaving Ertz to patrol HUGE chunks of territory in the middle. She is absolutely critical for the Americans' chances. They also are carrying exactly ONE left back in Crystal Dunn ... who isn't even really a left back. Oh, and generational keeper Hope Solo is long gone as well. With as many as 8 attacking players on the roster, the US seems set up to win games with overwhelming attacking firepower and while that's certainly fun to watch, it's dangerous in these kinds of competitions. Again, the Americans are the favorites ... but not as much as the old days and many betting sites consider the French hosts to be co-favorites.

    Host venues across France include bigger League 1 sites in Lyon, , Paris, Nice and Montpellier along with more mid-sized stadia in Grenoble and Riems. Notably absent as a host site is Marseille, with the French federation deciding that the risk of trouble there wasn't worth it. France has been roiled with worker protests and social unrest for several summers now, and there almost certainly will be some planned demonstrations in the streets. And as always, France is a risk for a transportation strike pretty much every time the tourist season heats up. The tournament kicks off June 7th in Paris with the host nation taking on Nigeria in the traditional wolves vs lambs opening match. The Us won't play their first match until June 11 against Thailand. Festivities run through the Final in Lyon on July 7. Lyon is home to the dominant French club in the women's game, which is why they get the final over the more traditional Parisian setting.

    Bon chance Yanks.
    Last edited by jeffbear; 06-06-2019 at 10:15 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    Mo Brian can do a serviceable job replacing Ertz, she basically played that position in the last WC. Sam Mewis can play there too. But that makes the decision to leave McCall Zerboni off the roster even more baffling. Ali Krieger is Dunnís theoretical backup but donít be surprised if Tobin Heath slides back there before Krieger plays. With the ridiculous depth up front, they can swap in Press or Lloyd for Heath without missing a beat.

    Most experts are picking the winner of the US/France quarterfinal as the winner of the whole magilla. Too bad thatís so early in the tournament. Keep your eyes on Australia, Sam Kerr may be the most dangerous scoring threat in the world right now.


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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    Mo Brian has been in a funk for quite a while now and can't cover territory like Ertz does. In fact, pretty much nobody covers as much territory as Ellis asks Ertz to cover. She manages it because she's a freak athlete, but not having Zerboni as a backup plan is foolish IMO. Zerboni got time with the National team over the last year and played well wehn given a defined role. She also handles a version of that role game in and game out for her club. And instead Ellis goes with Brian, who she hasn't called up in forever, and Mewis ... who is not a defensive mid. Kreiger makes even less sense. I don't think she's even gotten a call up in 2 years.

    Bottom line ... the team is good, but I don't trust Jill Ellis even a little bit. She managed the last Cup win, sure ... but since then the team has been a mess and she can't settle on tactics that suit what she's got for players. And after two years of constant tinkering she calls up a squad that features several players that she hasn't been playing and several others out of position. She's a freaking mystery, that one. You know she actually complained before the She Believes mess about how few caps Naeher has at keeper when she was either in charge of or part of the staffs that refused to ever let her play when she backed up Solo. I hope everything comes together, but I'm not feeling confident about this at all.

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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    Brian has been hurt for most of the 4 years since the last WC. With Brian hurt and Holliday retiring, and a tactical change to a 4–3-3, Ertz was forced into the 6 by default, just like she was forced into center back in 2015. That she’s thrived in both positions, and become a demon scoring off set pieces, is freakish.

    I trust Ellis slightly more than I trusted Klinsmann. Which is to say not much.

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    Mod Squad jeffbear's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    Don't get me wrong about Ertz ... she is an absolute monster out there. I just don't like having two positions where Plan B is ... "we'll figure it out." Especially not with a player pool with the depth of quality that the US has on offer.

    And yeah ... Ellis gets the trust nod ahead of Klinsmann. By a whisker.

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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    2 Days and the Ceremonial opener in the books.

    I enjoyed watching a scrappy but overmatched Scottish side make their WWC debut today. They lost to England 2-1 but maintained their dignity. Italy put a mild shocker in with a 2-1 win over dark horse fave Australia. The Lady Roos really struggle defending set pieces and it cost them bigly. Otherwise, pretty predictable stuff ... host France dominated in the opener, Spain and Norway looked good against outmatched African sides, Germany ground out a boring win over China and Brazil whomped a weak Jamaican side.

    Tomorrow is a two match makeup day, before the US finally gets into the mix on Tuesday.

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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    Italy had 2 goals chalked off for offside or it could have been 4-1 over the Matildas.

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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    Quote Originally Posted by andyt View Post
    Italy had 2 goals chalked off for offside or it could have been 4-1 over the Matildas.
    Their back line was fairly woeful, but they did hold their line well. Italy is going to be a handful in this tournament. They are pretty sharp technically. They remind me a bit of Japan.

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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffbear View Post
    Their back line was fairly woeful, but they did hold their line well. Italy is going to be a handful in this tournament. They are pretty sharp technically. They remind me a bit of Japan.
    Japan, who were held 0-0 by Argentina earlier today.


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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    I said they were technical ... not that they were great.

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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffbear View Post
    I said they were technical ... not that they were great.
    Imagine what Argentina could do if they weren’t essentially self-funded by the ladies. FIFA had them listed as inactive in 2015 after the Argentine soccer federation withdrew funding.

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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    Yup. The Argentine squad is basically a semi-pro team which goes to show why the US and Australian teams going very public with their fights with their own federations for reasonably equal treatment is so important. That stuff trickles down.

    Wrapping up Monday ...

    Japan 0, Argentina 0 ... big disappointment for the Japanese team as that was 3 points there were definitely counting on.
    Canada 1 - Cameroon 0 ... decent result, but Canada can't be happy with their attack. Cameroon wasn't all that well organized, the Canucks just couldn't get it going in the box. They only forced the keeper to save the ball four times on 65% possession and 16 shots.

    Tuesday ... the US finally comes to play while Chile and Sweden tangle on the other game in Group F. The Dutch ladies beat New Zealand 1-0 in the morning match in Group E.

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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    I didn’t realize the Dutch were ranked that high. The Oranje have come from nowhere the last few years, won Euro 2017 and are ranked 8th. They finished 13th at the 2015 World Cup in their first appearance.

    In Group F, it was Chile 0-2 Sweden and US 13-0 Thailand. It was clinical, it was relentless, it was merciless. It’s entirely possible that US centerback Abby Dahlkamper had fewer touches than Alex Morgan had goals. Morgan had 5 goals, Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle each had 2, Lindsey Horan, Megan Rapinoe, Mallory Pugh and Carlie Lloyd had the others. It’s a record for most goals scored in a World Cup match. Alex Morgan tied Michelle Akers and Oleg Salenko of Russia for most goals in a game.

    Back to Group A and 1 Group B match tomorrow.

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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    There soooo much pearl clutching on the internet about the US scoring 13 and celebrating all of them. Holy crap, these are professionals even if the Thai federation doesn't really act like it. You score, you celebrate, you win ... you go hard or you go home. The disparity between the top teams and the bottom is a FIFA issue, NOT a USNWT issue.

    Interesting that Ellis blew up her normal midfield setup to cover for Becky Sauerbrunn's wonky quad. She popped Julie Ertz back at CB (where she hasn't really played in 3 years) with Dahlkemper and went with an all action midfield of Horan, Mewis and Lavelle. No defenders in that lot and it paid off with goals against Thailand ... not so sure that works against anybody with a midfield of their own though. Sooner or later you'll have to defend a bit and the US already have a pair of fullbacks that are really wingers. Whatever. I've said all along that this US side is set up to score a million goals and let the rest sort itself out. Thus far ... yup.
    Last edited by jeffbear; 06-12-2019 at 12:35 PM.

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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    As my daughter reminded me, Ertz plays center back for the Chicago Red Stars so she does get regular time there, just not internationally. Even with 13 goals scored, it could have been worse. At least 1 was chalked off for offside and there were a few wasteful forays into the 6 yard box. I didnít think Heath had a particularly good match and Lavelle was shaky early. Aside from keeper, I think Lindsey Horan played every position yesterday from starting as a defensive midfielder to moving back to a quasi-center back position when Ertz was subbed out to a withdrawn striker. It was a remarkable display of versatility from the reigning NWSL MVP.


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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    Horan is a monster and so is Ertz. Those two are difference makers regardless of what else is going on. And that was perhaps the most skill I've ever seen in one game from Morgan. She was electric, and not just because of the defense. Bottom line ... the ladies came to PLAY this year. They had their serious faces on right out of the gate and never backed off. I hate that people are getting off the track on the narrative, because the real narrative is that this team is ON, after two solid of years of what has looked like aimless meandering.

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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    Wednesday's work:

    Nigeria 2 So Korea 0 ... Nigeria sink the Koreans to an all but guaranteed last place finish in Group A and set up their match against Norway as an advancement showdown

    France 2 Norway 1 ... France win on a VAR awarded PK after some brave Norwegian defending and an own goal from Wendie Renard. Not France's best look. Possession was great, but the finishing was sorely lacking.

    Germany 1 Spain 0 ... Germany continue to look solid enough, move to 2-0 in the tourney.

    Australia and Brazil at Noon Eastern highlight a light schedule tomorrow.

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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    Thursday wrap Up:

    Australia saves their tournament with a come from behind 3-2 win over Brazil. The Matildas were down 2-0 after 38 minutes but pulled one back in 1st half stoppage time, equalized on 58 minutes and got the winner on an own goal on 66. Go find Sam Kerr’s post match interview.

    China beat South Africa 1-0

    On tap Friday is the other Group C match between Jamaica and Italy at noon. In Group D, Japan faces Scotland at 9, England v. Argentina at 3.

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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    Suck on THAT ... love me some Sam Kerr.

    My Scots ladies fell to Japan 2-1 this morning, which puts them in "salvage some dignity against Argentina if at all possible" territory. Still, it's their first WWC and most are still proud of them. Hey coach though ... how about starting your goal scorer, Lana Clelland? She's good enough to lead Serie A in goals, so ... maybe think about that, yeah?

    An England win over the Argentines today guarantees them safe passage out of the group, although Japan would still be in with a shout to take the top spot in the 3rd match.

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    Default Re: 2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

    The Argentine keeper today was on fire. She had 6 saves, a couple of them 10 bell saves and also saved a penalty. It could very easily have been 5-0.

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