Monday, June 27, 2011

Women's World Cup - England v Mexico

Grant Wahl mentioned in the Gold Cup final that the El Tri male players no longer salute across their chest while the anthem plays. Not so the women - they still do it.

England have their superstar, Kelly Smith, but what makes them good is now it's not just the Kelly show, ala Jordan and the Jordanaires. Now there are other quality players on the team.

Kickoff! It kills me that Santiago is in goal. That's amazing. She's only 16. She could be New Zealand goalkeeper Bondin's (who is 38) daughter, and she's doing the same job.

4 - Marigol is in the box! The England defense swarms to smother the chance, but it was a threat.

6 - Santiago with the ball on her foot after an England cross goes long.

7 - Smith with a shot! Wide.

9 - Remember, Mexico has had teenage female phenoms before. Remember Veronica Charlyn Corral? She's on the bench for this game.

11 - Scary moment for Mexico in the box there, but they eventually clear the ball.

16 - Of course Americans should pull for the Mexico women. Half of their team are also Americans.

19 - Kelly Smith with come good defending to kill a Mexico attack, but it's well done by El Tri that England's best player is confined to showing off her defensive skills.

20 - Santiago is busy collecting balls into the box, but they're not real shots - passes instead that defenders are busy shielding the England players from reaching.

21 - Carney's outside shot is wide.

22 - GOAL! England! Farah Williams! Off a set piece corner, she outjumps Rangel to get the ball into the goal. 1-0 England.

23 - Yankey from distance forces Santiago to punch clear.

27 - Santiago with a diving save on Williams and her driving outside shot. Nicely done, kid.

31 - Santi screams at her wall to get them properly situated, but England miss so badly it doesn't matter.

32 - GOAL! Freaking A! Monica Ocampo nails a shot from way outside, but with bend and pace! Crap, that was scary good. Goal of the tournament so far. Sorry, Sinclair.

34 - Aluko tries from outside, a low shot, but it's wide.

37 - Garza uncorks from outside, but she's off-target.

41 - Wow. What a waste. Marigol chases down a long pass and gets it in England's corner, then sends a lousy cross way too far that kills the play entirely.

42 - Garza is also wasteful, a free kick right to Bardsley.

Halftime! Good game so far. England can't expect Mexico to fold - after the El Tri women beat the USA, they won't be inclined to fold against the Lionesses.

49 - Marigol cracks a freekick that barely goes wide.

53 - Bardsley is out of her box in a race for the ball with Marigol, but it's moot - Mari was offside.

54 - Yankey with a gorgeous cross sets up Aluko, who suddenly gets clumsy in the box and misses entirely. She was on the doorstep, but never connected with the ball.

59 - Aluko with another chance, but the ball is weak and Santi gobbles it up.

65 - Aluko again muffs an opportunity.

67 - Kelly Smith in the box, puts her cross right into a defender, missing the chance to connect with a teammate. She could have taken a second to be creative and fake the defender out, but that didn't happen.

70 - Stop it, Markgraff. The crowd wave didn't start in Mexico. It started in the USA and was done in years before the rest of the world became more aware of it during Mexico's World Cup. It's called the Mexican wave in Europe for that reason, not because it started in Mexico. It didn't.

72 - E. White comes in for Carney.

75 - Yankey's looping cross from distance is easy for Santi to catch.

77 - Juana Lopez comes in for Marigol, who has cramped up.

79 - Santi with a big save on Yankey in traffic.

81 - Mexico with some nice possession play as England look ever more frustrated and desperate.

83 - Yankey whips the ball into the box, but her timing is off - Smith isn't there yet.

85 - Ouch. Garza is off for Teresa Noyola. I'm happy for her, but it's a little sad to see. Noyola came up through the USA youth ranks, from u14 to U20. I covered many of her games. She used to wear the 21 jersey in honor of Landon Donovan, her idol. Last year, she used family heritage to switch to Mexico's team, since she had never been called up for the USA senior squad, which I find a bit sad.

87 - Yet it's another Mexican-American who provides a crucial moment just now - Garciamendez fouls E. White. Kelly Smith cracks it on goal - just too high.

89 - Mexico earns a free kick of its own on the other end in a dangerous position. Ocampo gets even closer than Smith, but still sends the ball too high.

90 + - Noyola on the ball, takes a shot, bangs it into an England defender. She then fights to earn Mexico a corner. That's the fiesty and skilled player I remember. The corner leads to a shot from Mayor, but White's sacrifice (put her face in the way), may have saved a goal.

Fulltime. Excellent result for Mexico. England may be struggling playing as favorites.

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