After Ian Darke’s fantastic call of the USMNT team victory over Algeria in last summer’s World Cup, I did not think we would see a more exciting, more meaningful game for US Soccer for at least a decade. I’ve never been happier to be so wrong. In this writer’s humble opinion, the US-Brazil game was the greatest women’s soccer match ever played. Period. What makes it even better is that the good guys (gals) won, and that those guys (gals) happen to be my countrymen (women).
Displays like the one our women showed on Sunday are the reason us usually-suffering US Soccer fans stick around and endure. As David Hirshey so eloquently described in his article on Soccernet, and as this blog alluded to at the end of the previous post, it all came down to the American mentality. This mentality is what gives us a fighting chance against the perennial giants on the men’s side, and what makes our women the most dominant, most feared team on the planet.
This fighting spirit/ mentality is also what evokes so much pride in us US Soccer fans, and (not to sound overly patriotic or demeaning to other nations) is what makes us unique in the soccer realm (save maybe Germany). In a world where the name and reputation of the American people is often run through the mud due to the actions and decisions of our government, it is refreshing to receive praise in the international community for something we as Americans pride ourselves on: our never-say-die attitude. Throughout the tournament, Marta, the most technically gifted female player ever, has justifiably been lauded for representing the beautiful Brazilian style of play. Not that I had any problem with her receiving such praise, but it was nice to see the German fans express their disapproval when she began to revert to less respected tactics, specifically her incessant diving and time-wasting. Moreover, it seemed that by the time we got to the penalty shootout, our brave, courageous women had won over the largely German crowd with their incredible spirit and work ethic, and it felt that the stadium wanted the US to win. Maybe even, the Germans, a nation also known for their incredible team spirit, saw a little bit of themselves in our lovely ladies, and got behind them because they played the game with heart and without the intention to deceive. Either way, it felt great that an American export was appreciated with such enthusiasm as an inherently good thing. For that, I am forever grateful to our USWNT, not only as a soccer fan, but as a US citizen.
In addition to displaying our American mentality that has Pia and the rest of the soccer community in awe, our nation has also just found its new sweetheart in the form of Hope Solo. First off she has the face of a supermodel, and enough curves that she should have been in Fergie’s My Humps music video. Every male who watched any of the US’ games this tournament has definitely turned off their Google Safe Search when searching her images immediately after seeing this ten between the posts on TV. What makes her even sexier, is that such a gorgeous woman, with such a soft, sweet voice, has bigger balls than an elephant at the San Diego Zoo! Not only did she stand up for herself in 2007 after the over-the-hill Brianna Scurry pushed Solo back to the bench in the semifinals, she played with that same confidence and chip on her shoulderness to come through in the clutch (twice, had encroachment not been called) to block the third penalty that would eventually prove decisive in securing a victory for the Red, White, and Blue. She had to have felt an extreme since of vindication, finally being able to prove herself on the largest of stages and justify her bold claims four years prior. What American doesn’t feel great for her?
With Hope and our fighting mentality in our hearts, it seems to be this team’s destiny to win the World Cup. On Wednesday, France, who is enjoying somewhat of a fairy tale story themselves in this tournament, will try to put an end to all the hype surrounding our squad, and book their own ticket to the final. But, if history has any bearing, France has never really excelled on German soil (see WWI and WWII), and I expect our American women to ride this wave of confidence and make the French back four look more ill-prepared than the Maginot Line (too soon?). Once again, give ’em hell ladies!