Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Border battle

The quarterfinal pairings are set for the women's tournament.

Here's how I think it will all shake out.

Scott French told me before Japan pulled off their upset of Norway that the U.S. women were doomed to not even medal, because one half of the draw was so tough.

Instead, the U.S. is now facing neighboring Canada. Relatively, this a big break and the U.S. stands a really good chance of coming through this draw to the final.


ghostwriter said...

I thought going in we'd see some upsets this Olympics, and we have.

The US/Norway result was not, perhaps, much of one since Norway have had success v. US before and the USWNT had not played yet without the "security blanket" of the world's best pure power forward. But the Japan result had to be counted a major upset, if only for the margin of victory.

I rather expect that will continue.

I think the US/Canada match is pretty much a toss-up. Tancredi (if her ankle is OK) will be a physical problem in the box for a US defense who have been less than dominant physically so far. If US do prevail it will be Hope Solo and shaky finishing by the Maple Leaf as well as, perhaps, their underestimation of just how unbelievably quick, fast, and stable on the ball A-Rod can be. They've not seen her a whole lot, despite playing US often.One thing you simply can't prepare for, in any sport, with film or practice is the A-Rod kind of speed. I think she's now "replaced" Abby as the primary US "target" and creates space and opportunities for teammates like (but different than) Abby does when she's in there. That's not to downplay the multiplicity of US options (Chalupny will present problems for Canada overlaping out of her left back spot, to mention just one), but Rodriguez has become, in my view, the "animator" for US ambitions.

I expect Norway is ambarrassed and a bit angry after the humiliation v. Japan. If they can get thru the first 15-20 minutes of Samba onslaught, I give them a "punchers chance".

Germany's defense has been outstanding, but not so much the offense (where's Prinz been?). All it takes is one mistake, one slip, one bad bounce on a bumpy pitch and Sweden could move on. The Swedes performed when the chips were down, just like the US, and will come in with confidence. If the Germans let them hang around and hang around, look out.

I think it's quite possible that Germany or Brazil will fall in quarterfinals.

China/Japan seemed before Tuesday wholly unlikely and except for the Norway game, you'd give the Nadeshiko no chance, now however...I still think, though, the Japanese are going to be "happy to be here" and will get hammered by the host side.

I'm looking for one big upset this round and if I had to pick one, it'd be Sweden over Germany.

See, AC, that's the advantage of having no "editorial" responsibility, you can make wild, idiot predictions with impunity...

ghostwriter said...

BTW, My IE finally reset itself today and is again showing the whole blogsite.

A.C. said...

Yay! I'm really glad to hear the IE issue worked out. Plus, it's always fun to read your views, well-thought out.

ghostwriter said...


Do you think, AC, that all things considered, losing Abby for this big event has been good for the team's development?

A.C. said...

It's hard to say. If I had been able to construct an ideal scenario, it would be for Abby to suffer a smaller injury (bad knee sprain)earlier in the year, so the team could really learn the possession style without her (this would force them to really focus on it) and perhaps suffer some losses while figuring out how to do it right. Then Abby's return to health in time for the Olympics would be a weapon in the arsenal, perhaps with her coming in off the bench, as opposed to being the main focus.