Yesterday, we beat Australia 3-1 in each nation’s opening match at the Women’s World Cup. (Yes, “we.” Don’t look so modest! We couldn’t have done it without you.) But from reading today’s Football Federation Australia recap of the match, you wouldn’t know we gave them a Coriolis-clockwise swirlie.
The US certainly like to talk a good game. The reality is they play a fairly rudimentary, bog-standard 4-4-2, were short of ideas going forward and outmanoeuvred tactically. ‘Play it long and look for the head of Wambach’ seems the default game-plan for a team stuck in the past.
World football has moved, in case Jill Ellis hasn’t noticed. US were outplayed by a better, smarter footballing side – who were also without two certain starters in Polkinghorne and keeper Williams – before the Aussies ran out of gas.
US relied on the individual brilliance of Megan Rapinoe to win them this game. And Hope Solo in the US goal saved the Americans on numerous occasions in front of a vocal ‘home’ crowd in Canada. If it wasn’t for this world-class keeper, this could’ve been a different result.
Some of this is accurate: for at least a half the USWNT looked uncreative and uninspired, until it relied on its superior athleticism and conditioning to pull away (to say nothing of its superior roster).
It is also the sourest of Shiraz. The US women won, and eventually won handily. This is exactly the sort of avoidance of personal responsibility I would expect from a nation of convicts.