Japan 1, Germany 0
Wolfsburg. OMGWTFVW?!?! Heilige Scheisse, Fledermausmann!!! SchadenfreudevollUndenkbarKatastrophe!!! Japan shocks Germany with a goal in the second extra time period, 108', latest goal in women's world cup. Kein Fussballvergnügen für Deutschland. This was the second game, but I'm putting it first.
2' - Jpn has a corner kick from the right, MF Aya Miyama crosses to near post. MF Homare Sawa heads from just inside the corner of the 6 yd box, but it's high and wide right.
4' - Ger left corner kick, far post ball for MF Kim Kulig, who heads it over the goal. She also goes down afterwards, holding her right knee in some pain. Replay doesn't show much, she appeared to land on both feet then go down. So innocuous, it makes me think ACL.
8'- Kulig is done, D Bianca Schmidt subs in, goes to RB. RB Linda Bresonik moves up to defensive RMF. (Ger plays with 2 defensive and 3 attacking MFs.) It's tough to have to sub so early, and in what turns out to be a 120' game, Coach Silvia Neid's substitution decisions will come under scrutiny.
13' - D Saki Kumagai fouls F Celia da Mbabi, going over the back on a header. Jpn showing a more physical style of play. Ger free kick at right of box, MF Melanie Behringer crosses it in, and Kumagai heads it out from a mass of players in front of the goal.
15' - MF Kozue Ando turns away from a couple defenders at midfield, centers to MF Mizuho Sakaguchi, who dribbles forward and shoots from 35 yds right at G Nadine Angerer. It dips as it comes in, so she goes to her knees to make the save off the short hop.
20' - Ger steals ball at midfield. MF Kerstin Garefrekes, wearing the captain's armband with Birgit Prinz on the bench, gets to the ball 10 yds to the left of the circle and passes up to da Mbabi in left center. She takes on the defender, continuing her run to the left and shoots from just outside the box, well wide right.
23' - Ger free kick from left MF, 37 yds from end line. Behringer sends it to the far post, where Garefrekes gets to the ball, but it's at a height that's too low for a header, too high for a kick. She has jumped, but catches the ball off her waist, so it's slow moving ball that's sort of heading to the left side of goal. It takes a bounce in the box, and Kumagai clears out. Subsequent corner goes over everybody, out the other sideline.
30' - Jpn free kick from left midfield, 38 yds from end line. Miyami passes to left wing, where F Shinobu Ohno is unmarked. Her cross gets blocked and cleared. Jpn works it up left side, cross is deflected by Ger head and drops in space in the center of the field. Jpn player chips it forward, D Saskia Bartusiak slides at it, but misses with her extended leg, sort of trapping the ball under it and against her other knee, and it goes to F Yuki Nagasato, deflecting forward off her foot into the box, and she shoots, well wide left. Glorious opportunity and the shot's not on frame.
31' - Ger works it up the right side, Garefrekes dribbling to end line but is forced to turn back. She passes back to the right corner of the box for Laudehr, who sends it back and center to Bresonik, who passes across to Behringer. She dribbles to center and shoots from 24 yds; the boucing shot is just wide left.
32' - Schmidt gets on an errant pass just on the Ger side of center to the right of the circle. She passes up the right to Garefrekes, who sends a through ball to da Mbabi to the box. Da Mbabi has gotten behind a defender and has a lot of space, but her first touch is too hard, making the ball shoot out in front of her. G Ayumi Kaihori is able to beat her to the ball at the 6.
44' - D Annike Krahn sends long ball from Ger side of right midfield to center. Off the bounce da Mbabi taps it with her head, lets it come down and chips a pass to her right, where Grings shoots off the halfvolley from 20 yds, very high.
45' +1 - Bartusiak dribbles ball up from Ger side to midfield, sends lovely through ball for F Inka Grings to run onto, but Kumagai gives her a bump so she's off balance and can't cut to the ball, which rolls into the box for Kaihori. No foul called, many jeering whistles. Hmmm, scoreless at the half. Jpn isn't a pushover.
46' - Jpn sub F Karina Maruyama for Nagasato.
48' - Pass from Ger side to Grings left of circle across center line. She passes up and center to da Mbabi, who passes right to Garefrekes, making a run from midfield. She dribbles upfield to 24 yds out, and, being doubled, splits the double team with a centering pass in the air. Grings is there 13 yds out, but her head ball is high over the bar.
57' - Ger free kick at right sideline 24 yds from end line. Behringer sends a high arcing ball that Simone Laudehr at the far post heads down from 5 yds, and D Yukari Kinga, coming back to the goal line, clears it away from near the right post.
57' - Sawa hand ball outside the box on the right. Free kick headed out by Kinga.
62' - Jpn pass from midfield up to Ando just inside the left corner of the box. She dribbles more left and passes back to Miyama, who shoots from a couple yards outside the corner, just high and wide of the upper left corner. Angerer was there, leaping for the corner, so no threat.
65' - Ger sub, curiously D Lena Goessling for Bresonik. Neid already had a defensive sub, you'd think a more offensive sub, perhaps MF Fatmire Bajramaj, would be warranted. Another injury issue?
66' - Jpn subs F Mana Iwabuchi for Ohno.
70' - Ger free kick at right midfield, 34 yds off end line, not well struck, low and well short of the far post where 3 Ger players are making their run. Sawa heads it out of the box.
72' - Sakaguchi gets a yellow for a bodycheck foul. Laudehr had a hold of Sakaguchi's shirt as they went down. Harsh card. Ger free kick at right, 20 yds from end line. Behringer crosses it in, but with too much loft. Garefrekes gets her head on it just outside the left corner of the six, but it's wide left. Can't really get anything on a header when it's a floater that drops in from high; it needs to be lower and with more pace.
75' - Jpn right corner kick. Headed out from near post, but only to the right of the penalty spot where Sakaguchi chests it and shoots almost waist high as the ball falls. It is blocked.
76' - Laudehr runs onto long ball down right side. As ball nears sideline she cuts it back inside of Sawa, who's marking. Sawa recovers and slides, poking the ball away to the right corner of the box. Jpn player? collides with a stumbling Laudehr, gets knocked back a bit and can't get to the ball, which Garefrekes jumps on. She dribbles deep into the box, then cuts left a couple yards from the end line. She crosses from just outside the six yd box to the near the top of the box, where Behringer shoots a high ball from 16 yds. Too hard of a pass - it had some air under it and some pace - and Behringer one-timed it off the half-volley. But there was an unmarked* player to the right of the penalty spot, which would have been an easier pass. (*She wouldn't have had much time to shoot as a couple Jpn players moved toward her, but there was a window. Garefrekes chose a more difficult option.)
81' - Announcer Julie Foudy remarks that Behringer is hobbling a bit, having trouble getting back as Jpn brings the ball up the right side. She missed the last game due to an ankle injury. Ger gains possession of the ball at the 18, but the attempted clear goes right into a Jpn player who dribbles inward then passes to Maruyama, whos in the arc. She dribbles left, then backheels to Miyama, who shoots from 24 yds out, over the goal. Nicely set up.
83' - Grings gets a pass at the top of the box and pushes the ball into the box past a sliding Jpn player. Kumagai cuts her off, bodying her, and she goes down pretty easily. Ref isn't buying it, no call.
85' - Kinga from Jpn right midfield sends long ball to Iwabuchi who's a few yds above the circle. She lays it off one-touch to Sawa, who dribbles a bit then passes left to Miyama, wide open. She dribbles forward and crosses from just outside the box. It's too far in front of Ando, who was making a far post run, but she was marked.
88' - Sawa gets yellow for late tackle at right sideline. Ger free kick 34 yds from end line. Behringer makes better cross to far post, headed by da Mbabi at the six, but across and away from goal. Jpn clears. Ger heads it back in, Jpn heads out, but not far. Ger player passes back, then it gets passed to da Mbabi on the left wing. She crosses in, and Babett Peter heads it from 12 yds. It goes wide right. Miyama shields it from Behringer, who points to the corner. Ref calls for goal kick. Jeering whistles - replay shows it did deflect off Miyama's waist, should have been a corner.
90' +3 - Long ball from left midfield, Garefrekes leaps to chest it near the penalty spot. She shields it from a Jpn defender as it bounces chest high, then turns and strikes as it comes down, but it's wide right. Not long before Garefrekes went down as a cross came in, no call. Foudy said the ref thought about it and brought the whistle up, but let it go. Wow, Jpn has lasted to extra time; Ger frustrated.
92' - Sawa goes down in serious pain, face down, kicking her feet, appears to be holding her groin. Replay shows Laudehr's heel/cleat caught her on the upswing. She gets carried off.
94' - Behringer passes to da Mbabi in the center of the box, back to goal. She traps the ball and turns clockwise as Sakaguchi runs at her in a way that would prevent her turning the other way. Da Mbabi gets a little space with her move and shoots, but wide left. Sawa comes back soon after.
101' - Ger through ball to left side of box gets cut off by defender, pass to RB Kinga who passes up & center to Sakaguchi who sends lazy back pass toward Jpn player who's deep in box. Grings picks it off a couple yards from the left corner of the box, dribbles inward and shoots wide right. Golden opportunity. Too tired to get it on target? 102' - F Grings out, F Alexandra Popp in. That's their third sub, no Bajramaj, no Prinz.
104' - Iwabuchi is on the right, gets pass from center, dribbles upfield. She passes rigth wing to Kinga, who has made the overlapping run. She crosses 8 yds from end line. Ando is there in the center and volleys? from 14 yds out. It deflects? off Ger player to Bartusiak, who heads it out.
105' - Iwabuchi in right midfield gets a pass from Jpn end, touches it past Peter as she crosses center. Peter bodies her before she gets too far, and Iwabuchi goes down. Foul called, Peter is literally hopping mad and gets a yellow. Seems similar to what Jpn has done, but Peter was behind her and made contact in Iwabuchi's back, and the yell and hop and swinging her arm earns the card. Jpn free kick 42 yds from end line. Miyama's kick drops into the 6 yd box, and for some reason Angerer misses the catch - maybe it drops short of where she thinks it's coming? - and the ball deflects past a Jpn player and out to the right, where Ger gets to it. Foudy thinks Angerer might have kicked it away after missing it with her hands.
Still scoreless after the first extra time period. Pressure getting to Germany? Angerer, one of the top two keepers in the world, just misplayed the ball. Couldn't see if she was the one who knocked the ball out of the six yd box, but Ger was lucky it got past the Jpn player who was right next to Angerer. Ger hasn't lost since 1999 quarters.
106' - Schmidt sends long ball from midfield. Jpn defender heads it at the top of the box in the arc while backpedaling, and it drops in there in space. Da Mbabi gets there and tries a bicycle kick, but her back isn't to the goal, and the ball goes high and well wide right. Guess she lost orientation. Good for Japan, bad for Germany as Garefrekes was just getting there - she might have had a good chance, but da Mbabi blocked her.
107' - Peter at left sideline sends through ball into the box to da Mbabi, marked by Kumagai. They slide and da Mbabi gets her foot on it 12 yds out. Shot rolls to Kaihori who falls on it just inside the six as Popp leaps over her.
108' - Ger throw-in from Schmidt flicked on by Garefrekes, but it eludes Popp. Sameshima? gets to it and passes back to Sakaguchi?, who passes right to Iwashimizu?, who chips it upfield. Iwabuchi, facing away from goal, taps it to her right to space. Sawa, 42 yds out, chips a long ball over the backline to the right, where Maruyama runs after it. She catches up to it just outside the corner of the six yd box and one-times it from 4 yds off the end line. Angerer dives near post, but the shot curves away from her, bounces once and hits the netting just inside the far post. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GoooOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooollllllllll!!!!!! GOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!! Did Angerer panic? She might have made the save if she had held her ground or come out a little more to cut the angle. Or did the shot look like it was going to the near post and then take a wicked bend?
109' - Ger works ball up from right, through center, pass up to da Mbabi, who has to slide but gets pass to Behringer on the left wing. She takes a touch then shoots from 22 yds. It's a hard shot which Kaihori tips up over the bar; ball lands on top of net. Corner is headed wide right by Laudehr.
111' - Laudehr sends long ball into box from right midfield. It bounces high in the center of the box, then Da Mbabi gets a head on it. It's a high arcing shot which Kaihori pushes over the bar.
112' - Behringer cross gets headed wide right by Schmidt. Ref awards Ger a corner kick, but it does them no good.
113' - Goessling sends high ball into box from right midfield, but Kaihori leaps up to grab it in the air. The book on her was that she's weak in the air, but she's stepped up in this game.
114' - Ger free kick on the right wing. Behringer sends high ball which Kaihori jumps up to grab at far post. Iwabuchi runs onto a long punt, getting to it at the left corner of the box. She wants to take it to the corner and shield it, but she fails to keep the ball in front of her as she slows, and a little bump from Schmidt has her stepping over and losing the ball. Schmidt sends a long ball upfield, and Popp draws a foul from Kumagai, who had an arm barring her path.
115' - Ger free kick 27 yds out, chipped in and headed wide left.
116' - Iwabuchi subs out, Rumi Utsugi in.
118' - Ger right corner kick, da Mbabi heads it high and wide left.
A couple more Ger crosses get into the box, and Kaihori grabs them. Jpn keeps Ger away otherwise.
Final Thoughts and Stats
Wow. Stunning upset. I would have expected Germany, who averages 4" taller than Japan, to be able to get some goals headed in. But Behringer, perhaps hampered by her ankle, didn't get good crosses in, and the ones Germany got to, they mostly couldn't head them on frame - those that were on were weak and saved by Kaihori or her defense. Japan was more physical than they were against England and benefited from some no calls and from Germany's inability to make them pay on set pieces. They amassed 20 fouls and 4 yellows to Ger 13 and 1. Also Kulig going down so early disrupted German flow and substitutions. Unless there was another injury, two defensive subs by Neid seem odd. Japan also played really well defensively, and their few letups were eased by sloppy German play.
Ger had 23 shots, but only 4 on goal, to Jpn 9 and 2. Ger 7 corners to Jpn 5. Jpn led with 54% of possession. Though they had some errant passes, their short passing game did keep the ball away at times, and Ger probably should have shown more urgency in pressing them earlier in the game. Perhaps all the media hype, expectations of winning a third World Cup at home, and some overconfidence in facing Japan did Germany in.
France 1, England 1, 4-3 on PKs
59' - Eng struck first with Jill Scott scoring from outside the box. She got a pass on the left from Rachel Yankey, a Fr defender rushed over to challenge, but overran the play, as the ball had some English on it and bounced Scott's way as she headed centrally. She shot from 21 yds out, over Celine de Ville, who was off her line at the six.
81' - Two defensive subs by Eng coach Hope Powell, hoping to hold onto the lead? 84' - MF Anita Asante for F Rachel Yankey. Now this is really a surprise, with MF Kelly Smith actually hobbling badly on the field. Eng playing with 10 effectives.
87' - Elise Bussaglia gets the equalizer. Fr cross from left midfield goes to a mass of players just inside the box, deflects down off Eng? Not sure who makes contact as Eng player and Fr player slide at the ball. It rolls out to the arc where Bussaglia strikes it from 21 yds, and it hits the upper left post and goes in.
Eng later has more players hobbling: Fara Williams in stoppage time, and Faye White as she tries to cut back and get in front of a shot. Neither as bad as Kelly Smith, who can be seen hopping with every other stride. They do manage to make it through extra time without giving up a goal.
PKs: France shoots first, with Abily striking a middling high ball to the left. Bardsley, who guessed correctly, makes the save. France not off to a good start, but no one else misses. Kelly Smith scores, then Bussaglia, then Carney, then Thinney, then Stoney, then Bompastor. Rafferty, with only 5 caps, misses a low shot to the right. Le Sommer makes, then Faye White hits the bar. France goes to the semis! Allons, bleues!
Final Thoughts and Stats
France dominated on shots 33, 11 on goal, to 7 and 3. They had 16 corners to 7 for Eng, and 51% possession. England was lucky to get the lead, but going defensive on subs ended up backfiring, as France equalized. With Kelly Smith really hampered by the sprained ankle she had suffered in the second game, then a couple others getting nicked, it's amazing France couldn't put them away before PKs. They did deserve the win, though.
Japan gets the winner of Sweden vs Australia, which is @ 7AM EDT today. France gets the winner of USA vs Brazil, @ 11:30 EDT today. Semis on Wednesday, France at noon, Japan at 2:45.
We've beaten Brazil in the last two Olympic gold medal games, but they beat us in the semis last World Cup. Hopefully we come out on top today. GO RED, WHITE & BLUE!!!