Edit: Subject changed to Day 10 Recap, which is below. Was Day 9 Recap.
The major games are between teams that haven't looked so good (England, Germany) and teams that have looked like machines (Japan, France). Will the former be able to find their forms? How will the latter do against better competition?
England 2, Japan 0
9' - Eng throw in from deep right sideline to head of Jill Scott, who flicks it on deeper into the box. Ellen White shoots from 4 yds, deflected wide right for corner.
15' - F Karen Carney sends a long ball from left midfield on Eng side of center up to White, who gets behind her defender. The ball bounces high about 30 yds out, and "Els Bells" hits it as it comes down, maybe waist-high+ and 24 yds out, before the left D can come over, lobbing it into the upper right, beyond the reach of a backpedaling, leaping Ayumi Kaihori. GOOOOOOOOLLLLLLL! First blood to England, and Japan is trailing for the first time in the tournament.
35' - Jpn free kick from 35 yds out, taken quickly as Eng is trying to organize a wall and a player is wide open on the right wing. She crosses from the side of the box 12 yds from the end line. MF Kozue Ando has position to the right of D Alex Scott, but Scott is able to jump over her and head the ball down parallel to the goal, and D Sophie Bradley is there to clear it out.
36' - Jpn wins ball at midfield, passes up to right wing, where ? dribbles in and shoots (crosses?) from just outside the box, 11 yds from the end line. One Jpn player, well marked, is making a run to the six; but the ball hits the outside of the net at the near post. Goal kick.
38' - F Jess Clarke sends a cross into the box from left midfield, 30 yds out. Els Bells takes a bicycle-type kick from 13 yds, and Kaihori has to step to the side and leap to get a hand on it. It hits the crossbar on the way up before landing on top of the net.
40' - Jpn pressure around the top of the box, partially relieved a couple times, but Jpn MFs find someone to pass it up to each time. Finally Ando, dribbling back out of the box in the center, finds MF Aya Miyama open on the left wing. She crosses it in, and a diving G Karen Bardsley pushes it out of the six yd box. It goes to D Yukari Kinga at the top of the box, but she boots a FG from 16 yds.
Mexico is doing what they can, getting 2 goals in the first half to 0 for NZ. But they need Japan's offense to get going in a major way, and Japan is 0-9-1 when trailing at the half.
US News: Heather O'Reilly still held out of training with a tight groin. Abby Wambach has her Achilles flare up again (bothered her earlier in the year), also sits out. Megan Rapinoe will get the start if O'Reilly can't go. Will Alex Morgan also get a start?
49' - Jpn free kick from right midfield, 38 yds out. Miyama crosses to center, it arcs over a defender in the middle of the box and amazingly drops in at the 6. F Yuki Nagasato gets behind Bradley, who has stepped away from the ball's path to shield a different (and the wrong) Jpn player (or perhaps she thought Nagasato was still behind her), reaches and gets a foot on it, but it's wide right.
58' - Jpn strings togethers 8 passes from their goalie, up the right side to Eng side, Nagasato? dribbles into center, passes left, and one more pass left to Miyama, open at the left of the box. She runs down near the end line at the side of the 6 yd box and crosses it in. D Casey Stoney slides and clears it out as Nagasato was making a near post run. WTF??? Ref calls it a goal kick. (Bet on England, did you?) Jeering whistles.
65' - Eng cross to high center of box, where F Rachel Yankey knocks it down & ahead to the left with a foot, past the defense, and has the speed to catch up to it. Kaihori comes out and dives for it, but Yankey pops it over her from the corner of the six. GOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLL!!!! 2-0 England.
Group B Final Thoughts
England continued the quality of play they had in the second half comeback against NZ and win the group. Japan had initial trouble with Eng defense, but managed to get pressure by getting a player behind the Eng midfield and in front of the back line, then passing around the box. They just couldn't finish, though. And that means DOOM. Jpn led in shots 14 to Eng 10, but shots on goal were 3 to 4. Jpn had 7 corners, Eng 3, Jpn had 55% possession.
Mexico 2, NZ 2
Mex got multiple goals for the first time, but then gave up two in the second half. Perhaps disheartened by hearing of Eng's lead? The Football Ferns were perhaps unlucky to have lost to Eng on a late goal, but they have improved, scoring four goals this tournament compared to one prior.
Germany 4, France 2
BOOM! Gebankt! (Bench'd!) I may have made that up, as mein klein Wörterbuch doesn't show a verb translation under "bench," so I took the noun and fudged the rest. Anyway, F Birgit Prinz sits, for the first time since 95.
25' - Ger free kick from left midfield, 45 yds out. Babett Peter sends it far post for Kerstin Garefrekes, who heads it from 7 yds to upper left. GOOOOOOLLLLLL! Poor marking by 6'2" D Wendie Renard, not even running hard with the 5'10" Garefrekes, who's so dangerous in the air. Renard actually has the height to do something about it, had she only kept up.
32' - Initial Ger attack turned back, ball cleared to midfield. MF Simone Laudehr gets the ball near the left sideline 36 yds out, dribbles in, then pushes the ball past the defender and runs down the left wing, crossing from 10 yds out. Grings is in the center of the box and heads it into the far side of the net from 8 yds. GOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLL!! Announcer Ian Darke thinks G Berangere Sapowicz should have had it (she reacts a little late, and the ball is past her outstretched hand). Poor marking again as the French D surrenders another goal.
46' - Camille Abily and Marie-Laure Delie sub in for France.
55' - Delie shoots right at G Nadine Angerer.
56' - Fr corner kick at right. Delie heads it in from the 6 at the near post. GOOOOOOOOLLLLL!!! Ger was zone defending, only man-marking the 6'2" Renard. D'ach!
59' - Renard makes a great slide tackle, but WTF yellow card?! She absolutely got the ball. Ref you suck!! Free kick from 22 yds, Grings drives a low shot to the left corner, which Sapowicz dives over to save.
65' - Pass comes to Grings, just inside the right corner of the box. Renard slides at it, but misses. Grings turns to face goal as another D comes over and passes to an open Bajramaj making a run. Sapowicz comes out, Bajramaj pokes ball to the right past the keeper as Sapowicz dives with her hands to the right (other side), and she can only trip Bajramaj with her leg. Fr D pokes ball away, as it was rolling towards the goal. Straight red card on Sapowicz (she'll miss the quarters, too).
68' - G Celine de Ville comes in for MF Eugenie le Sommer (as Fr must lose a player) and has to face a penalty shot right away. Grings puts it in the right side. GOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLL!!! 3-1 Germany.
Group A Final Thoughts
I thought it was game over, didn't watch the rest. France did get a goal off a corner in 72', but got no closer, with Germany getting the last goal in 89', which Grings assisted on. Analyst Tony DiCicco thought France's coach let them down by saying this game didn't matter. Yes, in the sense that they're in the quarters, but why would you say that? Your team is running on all cylinders, leads the group, and is about to face the defending world champs. Why not keep the momentum going? I say start Abily and Delie; France was flat in the first half and didn't get going till they subbed in at the half.
Germany had 14 shots, 9 on goal, to France's 9 and 5. Corners even at 5, and Germany had 54% of possession.
Nigeria 1, Canada 0
These teams were already eliminated, but at least Nigeria gets to go home with a win, while Canada lost all three games.
A & B Quaterfinal Match-ups
By winning their group England avoids Germany and gets France, Sat at noon EDT. If England continues to kick well-placed long balls and crosses, and France doesn't mark any better, they could reach the semis. France probably won't be affected by the goalie switch, as they didn't lose a star, and de Ville has 43 caps. It remains to be seen if France can turn their momentum around, but at least they won't be facing Germany for a while. By losing Japan now has to face Germany, Sat at 2:45 EDT, and I expect their tournament to be over.
Prinz didn't play at all, not even as a sub, and Germany won. Have we seen the last of her on the field? Grings got two goals and an assist, taking advantage of the PT.
Wednesday Group D & C Finals
Group D has the early (noon EDT) matches, with Australia vs Norway being key. I think the Matildas have been playing a bit better, so Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi! Group C games are at 2:45 EDT, with USA vs Sweden for the group. Win or tie to avoid Brazil, who should win D. Go Red White & Blue!!!