If that game wasn’t entertainment then nothing is. A nail biter and while I love the US women, the Japanese played yesterday like the US had been playing all tournament. Scrappy and coming from behind and poaching on mistakes and just digging deeper. The shorter women out muscled the taller US team and the US should have know it was coming because they did the same thing to Germany.
And those penalty kicks were such a disaster and that’s Pia’s fault. She did not make many mistakes in her coaching and became one of the great stories of the tournament, but she blew it by sending up the same lineup of kickers (with the exception of Tobin Heath whose body language was so negative.) The Japanese knew what was going to happen and the US blew it.
That’s how you win a tournament like that. They just wanted it more and you saw that on the field. I know that most people discovered the US team in the last week or so but I have to say people — you missed an awesome tournament. You missed some great teams going out early because soccer is changing. You missed the final games of Birgit Prinz one the the best soccer players EVER who was treated like crap by the coach of her team. You missed some of Marta’s flair, but you also missed how people don’t want women’s soccer to become men’s soccer and gave it to the Brazilians who just took the diving to a whole new level. You missed Lisa De Vanna’s knifing runs for the Aussie team. That women has some serious jets. And so many other things.
But you came when it counted. When your country needed you and you cheered the women on over the last week. It seems from my twitter and Facebook feeds that everyone was watching the game. I haven’t seen the ratings yet, but it will be huge. My one question is why ESPN didn’t give the game over to ABC so that people without cable could see it. I’m sure there was some male sporting event on that couldn’t be moved and that is one of the issues related to women’s sports. I’m not complaining about the ESPN coverage (cause it was great) but 12 years ago the final was on ABC and this final should have also been on ABC.
The faces on the folks in my neighborhood were so sad after the loss. I know we wanted them to win but maybe it’s good that they didn’t. Maybe it will help soccer not retreat back into being a non-story for the next four years until the next tournament which will be in Canada. The Olympics are next year and the US has to qualify. That will be a motivating factor. Maybe this loss will help motivate all of us to stay engaged with the team and they try and claw their way back onto the field in 2015.
But girl’s soccer is here to stay. We already know that many, many girls play soccer. I have no idea how many but it’s got to be millions. It’s not like there aren’t opportunities for girls anymore. But what this game showed the GUYS was that the girls are just as good and just as tough and need to be respected as much as the men’s team.
I don’t have much hope for the assholes that I meet in bars and they still sexualize the players, because they really can’t believe — or don’t want to believe — that women could play as well as the men. I love the drunk guys with guts who say they could beat Abby Wambach at anything let alone soccer. Bring it on. I would pay tickets to see that. She came out of this tournament the rightful star and I hope she makes a mint off of it like Mia did. I guess she won’t be doing shampoo ads like Mia since she’s got short hair but maybe she can do ads for spiky hair gel or something cool like that. I’m going to be interested in how they try and sell her on Madison Avenue cause she sure doesn’t fit the mold of the typical sports star with her perfect pony tail and diminutive form.
I am waiting for the bartender who creates a new drink “the wambach.” And lastly, I am hopeful for the boys, the boys who don’t see anything wrong with girls being as good and at times better than the boys. That’s my hope for the future.