United States vs. France
The FIFA Women’s World Cup is now down to the final four, the first Semifinal will see France take on USA at Borussia-Park in Monchengladbach, Germany for a place in the final with the loser resigned to the third place game.
France was very impressive in their Quarterfinal match against England, they dominated the majority of the match and even when they went down a goal Les Bleues fought back and leveled the match in stunning fashion through Élise Bussaglia. The game eventually went to penalties where France won 4-3 and are now one step from reaching the Women’s World Cup Final, after not qualifying for four of the six Women’s World Cups this is by far their best run. What makes this team so successful is their work in the midfield; the play of Louisa Necib, Camille Abily and forward/midfielder Gaëtane Thiney has been nothing short of impressive. It’s their passing and combination work that frustrated the teams they have played so far, man marking these players has proven futile and only helps spread defenses too thin and using double teams has also proven to be to the oppositions detriment. However what might give Coach Bruno Bini the edge is talent off the bench, the likes of Élodie Thomis and Eugénie Le Sommer bring pure speed and on ball control when needed and are serious impact players deep into matches. For this team to make it to their first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup Final they will need to stay tighter defensively, at times their defense has mismanaged situations and at this point in the competition that will prove costly.
As for USA, they showed real heart and togetherness in a Quarterfinal match against Brazil. The Stars and Stripes has a red card and retaken penalty go against them and were one minute in extra time away from elimination, but traveled the length of the field where a cross from Megan Rapinoe and header from Abby Wambach sent the match to penalties where they won 5-3. This teams strength lays in their versatility, of the teams 7 goals they have come from 6 different players and Coach Pia Sundhage can pull anyone off the bench and find a perfect place for them in any situation. Although this team has talented players like Abby Wambach and Hope Solo there is more to this team, players like Heather O’Reilly, Lauren Cheney, Carli Lloyd and Lori Lindsey have all made impacts at one point or another in this tournament and will be counted on to continue adding depth.
This is a tough one to call, France can make a case for being the best team left in the tournament from a technical standpoint but USA are battle hardened are the best team left in terms of pedigree. I’m going with theover, this looks like it’s going to be a fun match to sit back and enjoy.