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World Cup Starts Now

As if I didn’t have enough going on in my life already, the World Cup finals just got under way.

The Women’s World Cup.  It’s being played in China, and the United States played its opening match today against North Korea.

I love women’s soccer.  Sixteen years ago, I sent away by mail order for videotapes of the US matches in the inaugural WWC, also played in China.  That tournament introduced me to Michelle Akers, then and now the most powerful and fearless player I believe the US has ever produced — male or female.

All but one of the players from that US team have retired.  Kristine Lilly carries on, tirelessly.  This year’s team, however, is young and relatively inexperienced on the international stage, and the US no longer has the benefit of a domestic professional league.  A win in this tournament would be great — but it’s by no means a sure thing.

In today’s opener, the US was lucky to escape with a 2-2 draw against a faster, fitter, and more poised Korean team.  The match was fast-paced and full of attacking play — a pleasant change from what we’ve come to expect in the men’s game. US goalkeeper Hope Solo saved the Americans’ single point with a brilliant diving save in the 92nd minute.  Sweet redemption for a mental error that gave the North Koreans the equalizer earlier in the match.

1 thought on “World Cup Starts Now”

  1. For some reason I’ve never been able to get into the WWC, though I do follow the results and generally pull for our national team. When I saw this result I was reminded of a minor brouhaha involving Eric Wynalda. The former US forward said during halftime of an MLS game that he thought the USWNT would have their hands full with NoKo. He was panned by everyone for a lack of confidence in the side, then his prediction turns out to be right on the money. Waldo can be an abrasive blowhard, but he’s more often than not right.

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