That is how good the USWNT is. France is no pushover, and, still, I never felt confident in their chances, even with a two-nil lead after fifteen minutes.
I am a little puzzled why Necib was taken out at halftime. It is true she had not really done anything in the first half -- except hug her teammates after they had scored goals -- and, perhaps Coach Bruno Bini saw her fitness wanting, or her attitude, body language, whathaveyou. And, it is true that the French side were clearly outclassed fitness wise as a whole, by a very strong, athletic resilient US team.
The Player of the Match for me was Megan Rapinoe, who nearly single-handedly took over the game at the beginning of the second half. Her attacks from the right of the penalty box, in a striking and also defensive manner ran the French team absolutely ragged, and help setup the atmosphere and/or the environment for the US team's two decisive goals, if not, actually providing direct service on either of them.
France should still win their next two group games, as should the US. But, the US team still is having a very tough time protecting leads late, as evidenced by their loss to Japan in the World Cup Final last year, and the fact that a thoroughly exhausted French team had numerous opportunities to equalize yesterday.
It is still the USWNT's tournament to lose, though. Of course, Japan, Brazil, and Sweden are still lurking, but the US look determined, fit, and insanely powerful.
(I have a new favorite footie crush, too -- and, yup, she is French, mais oui! : Wendie Renard, the tall, lanky, yet muscular, centre-back for France, who had the absolutely thankless task of dealing with Abby Wambach, one of the greatest players of her generation, and maybe the finest Women's footballer in the air, ever. Renard hung tough with Ms Wambach, took some knocks, delivered some blows, and I am sure earned the respect of her teammates, and the US side, as well. Plus, I love her crazy long hair, and her sassy bright red fingernails.)
|Wendie Renard. You'll get 'em next time, Sister. See ya Saturday against North Korea.|
Honestly, I think I prefer the elite level Women's International game to the Men's. It is much more exciting football. There were three really good football matches yesterday, and tons of goals scored. The US/France game was a real corker, in particular, and was officiated brilliantly and fairly.
(And, the North Korea/South Korea flag mistake yesterday was extremely embarrassing. Eek. No more hiccups like that, please, London 2012, ... )
All my love,
London 2012 Women's Football Tourney continues on Saturday.