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June 10, 2015 at 4:00 am

10 July 2011. seared on the grill Four years ago, but still in your brain, like a steak. The match-up: Brazil against the USA in the Women’s World Cup. The scene: Dresden Dresden stadium, packed with 26,000 nervous, nail-biting football fanatic. The result: 2-1 in the 121st minute of extra time.

Brazil’s absurd experienced midfielder Cristiane the ball into the top corner and motioned with his foot like a wand over the orb. But instead of breaking up the final seconds, it tries to support a bold, to intercept the Americans. Two passes later, the ball is on the foot of Megan Rapinoe. She raises her bleached blond head, spies Abby Wambach in the box, and starts a 40-meter parabolic so perfect even Pelé held his breath.

And then, in a near collision so close it looks choreographed, Wambach comes and hit the ball into the net, as the goalkeeper and 200 million Brazilian hearts crumple them all at once.

They remember the goal. But remember, what comes next?

Remind yourself that it’s not the last? That the United States and had to see the French and then face Japan in the championship? That the US team was winning the game until all of a sudden, was not it? And then it was penalty, as against Brazil, but this time America lost?

If you do not, you’re not the only one. Wambach meets people all the time who believe that the target has, the United States, the World Cup. She herself has a hard time believing.

“It confuses me still – confuses me – that we did not win the game,” she said recently told Sports Illustrated. “It would be the perfect way to go. I’m still not okay with it.”

Back to the present, where the Women’s World Cup begins again on Saturday. For Wambach, now 35, it’s a chance for redemption. An opportunity that final scene that went so wrong four years ago to rewrite. And another tilt at the golden trophy that still eludes them.

And almost everyone else on the American team. Only 39-year-old captain Christie Rampone, remembers how it is to play the World Cup in 1999. Since then win, the United States, a perennial powerhouse has scuffed shot after shot. The 3-0 semi-final defeat against Germany in 2003. The 4-0 destruction at the hands of Brazil in 2007 and the collapse against Japan in 2011th

“We are known for 100 percent that it was 16 years of age” midfielder Shannon Boxx told ESPN. “The pressure has been in every World Cup. And every World Cup that pressure is growing, as we get further away from the last world title.”

Japan celebrates winning the Women’s World Cup as Hope Solo US looks dejected after losing 3-5 on penalties at the FIFA World Cup stadium in Frankfurt on July 17, 2011. (Christof Koepsel / Getty Images)

But if there is pressure on Wambach and her fellow US women’s team-mate, there is relief for football fans around the world.

At the time, the host country Canada will start against China in Edmonton on Saturday night, it will be more than 10 days since the sport was rocked by scandal. On May 27, Swiss police rushed to a luxury hotel in Zurich, arrest of seven top leaders of FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, men and women. Since then beleaguered FIFA president Sepp Blatter has announced he will resign. The US prosecutors leading the investigation have now promised more indictments.

If the 2011 Women’s World Cup was a welcome surprise full gripping games and flowing football, the 2015 version more about salvation. Can the women – so often in the shadow of its far better paid male counterparts – Help Rescue football of his own demise?

There are grounds for believing.

First, there are many juicy subplots only on Team America. The tournament is not only Wambach is (probably) last stand; It is also probably the end for Boxx, the midfield destroyer and Rampone, who holds the second-caps in the US women’s soccer history. It is the second tournament for newly minted star Alex Morgan and Rapinoe. Lauren Holiday went through open heart surgery as a child and is married to NBA superstar Jrue Holiday.

Then there is Hope Solo. The Star-keeper was arrested a year ago on domestic violence charges after allegedly assaulting her sister and 17-year-old nephew. The nephew called 911 and said, “Hope Solo is psychotic She’s f-ing game against people, and we need help.”. Solo she claimed from her 6’9 “, 280 pounds nephew had been attacked, but there were far widespread calls to cut them from the team. In January this year, but a judge dismissed the charges against Solo, and she is now likely to play.

There are also rivalries galore. United States vs. Brazil, with the world’s best player, Marta. US vs. Japan, with the 2011 final in mind. The US vs. Sweden. This is the third consecutive year that the Americans put the Scandinavians in the group stage of the World Cup. 2007 won the Amis. In 2011, Sweden, the United States gave up their only outright loss.

No rivalry is so tense as US vs. Germany, however. The two countries are the only ones to win each twice the tournament, and they have the top two spots traded in the rankings since they implemented in 2003 (on US soil) in 2007 The Germans won in 2003 and again and are no 1 in the world ..

United States forward Alex Morgan is the new black and white home uniform for the US Women’s World Cup soccer team during a news conference in Los Angeles on April 22, 2015 (Nick Ut / AP)

The two rivals have completely different ways of getting to the final. The United States is in the group of death with Sweden (No. 5 in the world), Australia (10) and the best African team, Nigeria (33). Average ranking of the group (12.5) is higher than any other. The United States will start against Australia on Monday at 07.30 clock

Germany has one of the easiest groups with an average world ranking of 27: Côte d’Ivoire (67), Norway (11) and Thailand (29). But the way the console have set up is Germany rather faced better opponents – probably France or England – in the quarterfinals, as the United States.

Canada, meanwhile, has every right to complain. Host countries are often passed attracts lighter, but Canada actually has the most difficult opening move of all. His group’s almost as American elite, with an average ranking of 13.25, but comparatively harder than Canada is in the world ranked 8th China, his opponents on the opening day, has recently poured enormous resources in reclaiming the title as a the best teams in the world.

Japan, which has the simplest opening draw each team also has one of the most interesting players: Homare Sawa retired shortly after winning the 2011 World Cup, was the attacking midfielder record but is lured back on the field in 2014 sixth tournament. No player has ever appeared in men six World Championships, incidentally. Few have appeared in five.

Equally interesting are the teams that are not playing this time. Italy had his heart broken by the Dutch in a playoff qualification. Denmark similarly missed after one point behind Scandinavian rivals Iceland.

And then there is North Korea, which would almost certainly qualify for the World Cup had not banned and fined $ 400,000 for fraud be the last time. During the 2011 tournament, five North Korean players failed drug tests. The team doctor was suspended from football for six years.

But the biggest scandal of this tournament has nothing to do with the players or performance-enhancing drugs. It has to do with the areas and – predictably – FIFA.

Last October, Wambach and other women’s football star FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Federation sued over the plan to use artificial grass pitches for the World Cup in 2015. Their argument was simple. They wanted to play on grass as men. And everything that was unequal and unfair less.

FIFA would not listen. In fact, for weeks publicly denied it had even been sued. Finally, in January, admitted after the game. “Our legal action has been completed,” said Wambach at the time. “But I am confident that the player’s willingness to challenge the unequal playing fields – and the enormous public support that we received during the effort – marked to ensure the start of even greater activism to fair treatment when it comes to women Sport goes. ”

Earlier this month, Wambach showed why she and her fellow footballers was, something that they do not prone to do on the pitch. She said that the company installing the fields ready, which was laid in the grass, but FIFA had flat-out refused. “I got it from the second highest man [FIFA Secretary General] Jerome Valcke, himself,” she said ESPN.

Reports earlier this week identified Valcke as the man for sending an alleged $ 10 million bribe to a now accused Caribbean official reportedly in exchange for voting for South Africa received for the 2010 Men’s World Cup in charge.

Which means that the women come to play on artificial scandal fragrant pitches Saturday, trying even as investigators, informants flip and zip FIFA even further apart.

Not the ideal venue for a World Cup. Then again, with American officials leading the fight against fraud and Canada as close as it comes home for the US team, maybe it’s the perfect setting for Wambach and her teammates, some salvation points.

  • This topic was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by  Catherine.