Tuesday, September 18, 2007

2007 FIFA Women's World Cup Running Diary: US 1, Nigeria 0

Waking up at more reasonable 7:30am for this one. Boy, is my awareness and cognizant skills much greater after 7:30am. Anyway, it looks like its another rainy affair in China, as the national anthems are being played. Which begs the question: does it always rain in China when the Swedish aren’t playing?

8:00am – Kickoff. Birds are already awake, the sun’s already up, and I’m munching on perhaps the greatest cereal created: Honey Comb (Now "better tasting!", according to the label. But it tasted fine before!)

1: Here come the funny musical tones in the background…

1: …and just like that, the USA score! Wow, that didn’t that long. Chalupney crashes the box, nutmegs a defender as she falls slides into the pitch and the ball goes into the goal. Clever, clever.

3: Sheesh, it’s only the 3rd minute and it looks like someone just killed the collective pets of the Nigerian coaches.

6: Shot of Carli Lloyd….I’d like to see her get on the scoresheet this game. She’s too good a player to not score in group play.

7: Nigeria’s already roughing up Abby…what else is new?

8: Highlights show Sweden up top 1-0 over North Korea right now. Wow…that could be an upset. And it’s sunny there…which just serves to fortify my claim that it’s always sunny when Sweden play.

10: It’s safe to say that US is clearly dominating this match

10: Nigeria tries to counter…but no counterattack for you! USA cuts off a quick Nigerian surge just yards after midfield

12: This game is looking a lot like the Brazil-USA game back at Giants Stadium back in June. Early goal, USA domination, imminent that another is on its way..

14: Free kick for Whitehill, initially headed away by Nigeria, and sparks a Nigerian counter before Hope Solo kicks the ball away.

14: Chalupney tackled hard…yellow card for Nigerians.

15: First ‘99 world cup reference by Foudy…that train is never late!

16: Shot of some young USA fans in the stands – hey girls, what the heck are you doing in China at 8:00am? Oh, yeah, you’re watching the WNT. My bad…

17: Update, Sweden still ahead 1-0 on The Deuce (espn2).

18: Lloyd hard tackled before the center circle…you leave her alone, Nigeria!

19: Good looking attack here...Chalupny tackled hard yet again…

20: It’s interesting (to me at least) that despite wearing the gold jerseys for nearly all their pre-WC matches, they have yet to bring ‘em out for the World Cup so far. Maybe waiting ‘til the final?

20: Lilly crosses to Abby, who just glances the ball wide. Thank you, for the verb choice Michael Davies. I also plan on using “pants” sometime soon.

22: Nigerian sub…wow…Nigeria’s really, really lost right now, their in a 4-5-1 to counter the US’s 4-3-3. Don’t they know they need like a gaggle of goals to advance?

23: JP Dellacamera suggests “picture in picture” to watch the USA-Nigeria and Sweden-North Korea simultaneously. Although your offer is a good one JP, my attention is solely focused on the US women.

24: Wow, how does Carli not get a PK for that? She crashed the box with a Nigerian defender tackling her from behind right in the box. Foudy says it’s a good call…free kick from before the box awarded instead. Lilly fires high and over the bar.

26: Highlights…North Korea draws even to Sweden…Argh!!!

26: Throw in for USA…the 4-5-1 is stifling the attack for now. Chalupny hits the deck. She’s getting the brunt of the Nigerian physicality.

27: Carli sets up for the free kick, but plays it short to Lilly. I’d like to see her wind up and fire one of her famous cannonball shots from 25 yards.

29: Just as Nigeria looks like its going to assemble the attack, a heavy pass goes past the touchline.

30: Foudy comments that Abby should not be lurking in the midfield, but rather more up front near the box. I concur.

32: Shot of Hope Solo: just noticed hope wearing the blue keeper jersey now, rather than he traditional green with the Nigerian team wearing their green kits. When I started typing that sentence, I honestly didn’t know why it was blue, but figured it out mid-sentence. I know – brilliant.

33: Nigeria make it interesting with a deep break into the US end..no shot though.

Side note: I was almost stunned to see the WNT gold jerseys at Olympia the other day. They had both white and gold, some blank, some with “Tarpley 5” and “Wambach 20”. Pretty cool to see some retail recognition.

35: Update – North Korea and Sweden still knotted at 1.

35:Though Nigeria is really overmatched on paper compared to the us, they are a fast team. I like how they play.

36: Rain starts to pick up, according to Dellacamera. Shot of Whitehill about to take a throw in backs that claim.

36 whoa…Abby heads the Whitehill throw in , Chalupny heads it goalward, and is just saved by the Nigerian keeper. Good save.

40: USA is back organizing the attack. Chalupney takes it down the left flank, crosses to Lilly – header into the pitch and left of the near post. Good try.

42: Number 2 on Nigeria laces a shot that forces hope to spring from her feet to corral.

43: Beautiful give and go between Lilly and Lloyd. Lilly then crosses to Abby, and heads the ball powerfully on net before Dede makes an acrobatic save just below the bar.

45: Ominous stat of the match – In World Cup play, us is 16-0-1 when leading at the half, while Nigeria is 0-9-1 when trailing.

45: 1 minute of stoppage

46 +: Boxxy manhandled near midfield. She’s ok. Whistle sounds.


46: US kicks off…no changes/subs at halftime

46: Seconds later, Nigeria attacks early…gets into the box. Good defending by Christie Rampone.

48: WhitehIll looooong free kick..and Boxxy wants to bicycle kick it, but half-heartedly tries a scissors.

49: Dangerous free kick from the right flank for us…Lilly taking it and strikes it to the near post before O’Reilly tries to head it in, but no dice.

51: Whoa…number 14 for Nigeria just did a Matrix-like backward bend defending in the midfield. Wow.

52: Abby gets a long ball and shoots wide.

54: Foudy comments on the lack of urgency of the US attack…and I wholeheartedly agree. They’re better than this. Their defense has been great, but their offense is running on regular 87 octane rather than NASCAR-Standard 106 stuff. C’mon ladies!

57: O’Reilly pierces the Nigeria defense…CK coming up on the deflection…and CK parried by Dede.

60: Sweden takes 2-1 lead over North Korea. Wow!!! That could be huge

61: Nigeria really starting to test the US backline. Ladies, you’re better than this.

62: O’Reilly crosses to Abby on the doorstep, but can’t muster enough power to push it past Dede, who’s having an incredible match thus far.

64: Leslie Osborne for Carli…ok move, I guess, though I’d like to see Carli still in the game because of her attacking prowess.

69: Nigeria’s Faith Akidi goes down, she’s in a deal of pain. Hope she’s ok.

72: This game is taking the shape of a back and forth game, with both sides intermittently attacking, but no clear shots.

75: Nigeria attacks…Perpetua Nkwocha takes Whitehill to school on the right wing, before sending a shot just wide of the far post.

76: Lilly takes a free kick just above the D of the box. The ball hovers high above the bar.

77: Tina Ellarton in for Christie Rampone.

80: Nigeria attacking again…holding the ball fairly well, but not really penetrating. Ball goes by the touchline, and now USA takes it back. Heavy passes are killing Nigeria.

82: Chalupny tired to dance into the box, but the ball is stonewalled by Dede.

84: Lindsay Tarpley for Lilly. This is Tarpley’s first World Cup appearance.

85: Dangerous play in front of US goal. A mad scramble takes place on Solo’s doorstep, and luckily, she smothers the ball. US looking sloppy on defense.

87: Hope smothers another low-caliber cross. There’s no way the US should be pinned against the wall this late. Nigeria is attacking almost at will.

88: Chalupney takes a hard shot on Dede, saved as she fell backward. Nigeria quickly clears it away.

90: USA just playing the ball deep in the corner to kill the clock. Foudy commenting on how she doesn’t like this tactic. Nor do I…Wow, did I just agree with Julie Foudy three times this morning? I must really need some coffee!

91+ :USA corner kick. 3 minutes of stoppage time.

91+: Abby down, but thankfully gets back up, but goes back to stalling in the corner. Not a good idea.

94+: Nigeria attacks, Hope pounces on a Nigerian shot. Referee whistles the game over. 1-0 US.

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