Saturday, July 9, 2011

WWC - England v France - Quarterfinals


1 - It's on as Kelly Smith slices into the box - even two years ago, that would have been a shot on goal, but she hesitates and her eventual shot gets blocked.
3 - France recover from their bobbling start, look more comfortable in midfield. 
4 - Abily from distance goes over, but not by much.  
5 - Fara Williams earns an early yellow for a late tackle. 
7 - Delie with a decent, but predictable cross that gets blocked and cleared by Jill Scott. 
8 - Corner for France, with another attack down the same side.  It's handled easily by England, who despite not having much of the ball so far, seem determined to get the job done. Their ball play may not be pretty, but I'm not betting against them yet. They look primed to squash the more technical French by following Germany's game plan. 
11 - Sure enough, England now have a corner of their own and it looks dangerous - until the referee whistle saves the day for France after the goalkeeper failed to collect. 
13 - France have a huge share of the possession, but they don't seem confident. Maybe it's because the backup goalkeeper is in goal.  
15 - France send a ball into the England box and really both teams just watch it until is goes out over the endline. 
17 - Yankey bends in a sweet cross and Deville leaps for it, comes down safely. That could give her teammates more belief in her.  
18 - Or not. France on the break, ruin the chance with an overexcited, overhit pass.  
19 - K. Smith is offside. She also looks tired, which is surprising, as the game isn't yet 20 minutes old. 
20 - Now it is. 
22 - Corner for England gets cleared. 
23 - France counter gets ruined by Thiney offside. 
25 - France finally more effective on the counter. With room, Delie crosses to Thiney, who cranks a shot that has Bardsley diving to save.  
27 - Necib goes down, but the  ref isn't impressed - waits for the next knock to whistle. 
29 - England attack wilts on offside call. 
30 - France corner earned by Delie - leads to a Necib shot that zings too high.  
31 -  One again, France ruin their excellent build-up with nerves - Thiney's pass for Delie is too hard. 
33 - And again. 
35 -  England with a chance on the long pass, but DeVille is able to get it. 
37 - France have a freekick, and Necib puts it on goal, forcing Bardsley to punch it over. 
38 - The corner is cleared by England, but France puts the ball back in - wide. 
39 - Wide shot from distance by Abily. They're just raining pain on England, but no kill shot yet. 
40 - Ouch. Bardsley, coming out to catch a corner, pins Lepailleur against the post as she falls. That hurt. 
43 - France's possession is getting ridiculous - which means England is probably about to score. That's soccer. 
44 - England work like crazy to deny France another look at goal - which is not the same as trying to mount an attack. 
45 - England defenders passing the ball in the final moments of the half - to each other. Kelly Smith is on the ball - oh, it's taken from her.  England do manage to eventually earn a corner. It's cleared. 
45 + The whistle blows and it's even only where it matters, on the scoreline, otherwise, England have been taken to the woodshed.  
47 - Yankey in the box, but DeVille catches her cross. Powell must have yelled at her players. 
48 - Delie in for France - but she isn't right on the ball - and no one else from France is there to help.
49 - Delie! Just wide.
51 - Well, it's back  to what was - England deep defending, France pressing, nothing quite coming off. 
53 - Seriously, Markgraf, a smile isn't going to instantly make Kelly Smith play better. I'll say what others seem too polite to mention - she isn't the player she was. She's tired. 
55 - Scott just over the top! England may steal this yet, even with a fading Smith. France has wasted too many chances.  
59 - GOAL! It's Scott! France's backline sags, and the long pass works perfectly (with some help from Smith's handball) and Scott gets a shot that she bends well around the out-of-position DeVille. 1-0 England.
61 - Numerous Les Bluettes in the box, but it's no good, no one gets a shot in on goal.  
63 - It's sad, but England's direct approach  is making France's slick little passes look like a waste of time. 
64 - Smith is pissed at Bompastor's embellishment of a foul. Um, hey, handball princess, worry about your own game.
65 - Bardsley hangs on to the Necib freekick. 
67 - Delie misses from close, but it was a tough angle. 
68 - Elodie Thomis is in for Soubeyrand.
69 - Thomis in the box and her excellent cross is cut out by Smith just before it reaches a teammate.  
71 - Sometimes the better team doesn't win. That's soccer.  
72 - Maybe even the ref thinks that's an injustice. England's practical defending - pushing Thomis away from the box even before she's into the box, gets whistled for a freekick here. Bompastor gets a corner off the deflection from the wall, but Bardsley eventually collects. 
74 - England corner cleared by France, who now look despairing of getting the equalizer. Seriously, this lack of confidence for them is depressing.  
77 - Thomis in the box, Bardsley saves, and the follow by Delie is blocked out. As France collect to attack again, Georges is upended by a late E.White tackle. Yellow.
78 - The handball princesses, plural, now - in that scramble in the England box, A. Scott blocked the ball with her hand as well. Ref missed it. 
80 - Bretigny in for Necib.  
81 - France is getting crabby. It must be depressing to have 80 % possession, nearly 20 more shots on goal, and not a single tally.  
82 - Getting pissy is not helping their passing game, however.  
84 - Yankey, the quiet workhorse, is coming out of the match.  
85 - Thomis breaks free to catch a pass - she's one on one with Bardsley - through the legs, Thomis! - put she puts the shot straight into the body. 
86  - Double corner for France and England repels both, the player on the post heading away one attempt. 
88 - GOAL! Off the crossbar from Bussaglia - the luckiest, most speculative shot of all - from the top of the box as the ball popped out from the pass going into Delie. 1-1 France equalizes! Delie celebrates with Bussaglia by buffing the shoe that saved the French team.
90 - Thiney almost with the winner as France gun to win in regulation.  France then get a corner that Bardsley misses, but France can't capitalize.
90+ J. Scott gets a yellow for holding. 
Powell, who a minute ago was being praised for subbing players to kill time as the game wound down with England holding the lead, is now being criticized for burning the subs when K. Smith is apparently hurt. Hindsight and all that.
92 - France look lively, eager to win in extra-time, not wanting to take their chances with penalty kicks. 
93 - I don't know the France keeper well on penalties, but Bardsley is pretty good. Bretigney with a shot. Bardsley collects. F.White is down for a bit.
96 - Thomis doesn't seem to realize her teammates don't have her speed. The pass in front of goal is too far ahead for Delie.  
98 - Abily wastes a shot from distance. This is where France miss Necib setting up the play.  
101 - The field is essentially cut in half, now, as England isn't even trying to go forward and France is pushing up.  
103 - France is tired, too - England actually get into the box, but the turn and shoot by Carney is poor. 
104 - E. White in on goal - but her shot is just wide. So close for England.  
105 - Bompastor with a poor freekick. France gets the ball to Thomis, but she can't beat Raferty to send in a cross.
107 - France make final sub, Le Sommer in for Bretigny. What the ? A sub for a sub? Aren't there players  France's squad that are dead on their feet? Why not have more fresh legs in? I don't get it.
110 - France corner. Bussaglia misses on the follow-up shot. 
112 - Bardsley down for a bit, but she's fine now as a France corner is cleared.  
114 - Bardsley catches a good Thomis cross. 
116 - France with good buildup, but the final header by LeSommer is too high. So close.
119 - England stumbling around, but their subs are working hard to defend and doing just enough to hold off France.  
122 - Bardsley out, can't reach the ball, but the shot isn't taken, and Scott is down with cramps. France have a corner.  
123 - France have another corner, but Bompastor wastes it into the side netting. Time for penalties.  
I'm still picking England, though I think France deserve it more.  
France kicks first.
Abily versus Bardsley.
Bardsley catches it! Told you she was good. 
Smith versus DeVille.  
Smith nails it. 1-0 England. 
Bussaglia hammers it home. 1-1 
Carney kicks it low and in. 2-1 England. 
Thiney dinks it past a guessing Bardsley. 2-2
Stoney roofs it! 3-2 
Bompastor, my fave French player, gets it done. 3-3 
Rafferty breaks - she pulls it wide. 3-3 
LeSommer does it! 4-3 France 
Faye White - OFF THE BAR! 
France advance, and England heartbreak in penalties resumes. 

So close for England, but honestly, it's a fair result for the better French team.

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