Thursday, June 18, 2015

2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Team USA Watch- On To The Knockout Round

Group play at the 2015 Women's World Cup has been concluded, and we now know which 16 teams are still alive in the chase for the FIFA women's world championship trophy and which ones are packing to go home.

For the rest of the tournament. you play until somebody wins or loses.  If the score is tied after 90 minutes plus stoppage time. you get 30 more minutes plus stoppage time to break the deadlock.  If it's still tied after that, a penalty kick shootout to determine who moves on.

The FIFA number four ranked USA is one of those sixteen teams.   They survived the 'Group Of Death' and advanced as the Group D winner.   By winning the group, they now reap the rewards of a less difficult road to the July 5 final in Vancouver.

But one of the burning questions in the inquiring minds of Team USA fans is are the struggles they've had generating offense lately over now that Alex Morgan is back in the lineup and getting her match fitness level back?

As long as they play defense the way they have been over the last three matches, all they need is to generate just enough offense to carry the day.   Hope Solo has been brilliant as usual in net, and is working on 243 minutes and counting in not allowing an opposing team's shot to pass her and enter the goal.

But first they will have to go through the Group F third place team in Colombia, who are making noise in this Women's World Cup tournament.   They were ranked 28th in the FIFA world rankings before it started, but after shocking FIFA number 3 ranked France 2-0 in Group F play, they have rocketed up to number 10 in the FIFA rankings.

So Team USA is acutely aware of the fact they can't fall asleep against this team.  Abby Wambach is probably more motivated than anyone else on Team USA to deliver some personal payback after she got sucker punched by Lady Andrade during the waning moments of a 3-0 USA win a 2012 Olympic tournament group match play.

Should they get past Colombia, the winner of the China-Cameroon match awaits in Ottawa on June 26.  Should they be successful in that match, they will play a semifinal match at Montreal's Olympic Stadium on June 30 with one of the teams in the other half of their bracket that include FIFA number one Germany, FIFA number 3 ranked France, a possible rematch with FIFA number 8 Sweden, and South Korea.

The knockout round starts June 20, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

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