Author Topic: Soccer: Germany beats Brazil 2-0 to win women's World Cup, U.S. defeats Norway  (Read 1488 times)

Offline David

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German order, opportunism and might retained the Women's World Cup on Sunday evening when goals from the dependable captain, Birgit Prinz, and the relative newcomer Simone Laudehr beat Brazil, 2-0 in the final in Shanghai.

It was a victory celebrated with gusto by the Americans who felt bruised by losing to Brazil in the semi-final. The American squad was in the Hongkou Football Stadium to watch the final a few hours after walloping Norway 4-1 for the bronze medal.

But if ever experience won a tournament, it was exhibited by Germany. The final was defined by Prinz, the undisputed queen of European soccer, as against Marta, the Brazilian whose skills are the most pleasing on the eye that the women's game has ever seen.

Prinz, a month shy of her 34th birthday, slowing yet still uncompromisingly accurate in her one chance to score, swung her right foot at the ball from 12 yards in the 52nd minute. The contact was scuffed, yet still it was on target, and as it bounced the Brazil goalie Andrea dove over the top of it.

Goal to Germany. Goal No. 110 in 167 internationals for Prinz. Effectively, goodbye Brazil.

Ten minutes later, given a clear penalty when Linda Bresoniki barged Cristiane off the ball, came Marta's moment to show why her prowess has taken her from the Brazilian Amazon to play for a Swedish club just south of the Arctic Circle.

There was a hiatus, a delay while Brazil's male coach, Jorge Barcellos, unwisely made a substitution. When Marta strode up to take the penalty kick, her face was taut with tension, her kick tentative. Germany's keeper Nadine Angerer scarcely had to move to deflect the ball with her legs.

In that instant, the Cup was won and lost. Laudehr was to score with a header from a corner kick four minutes from time, but Brazil, though Daniela struck the same post twice - with a sweet volley and a free kick - never breached the German lines.

Indeed, no one did in this World Cup. Germany had played six times and yielded nothing. That has never happened before, and neither had any nation won back-to-back Women's World Cups, as Germany now has in the United States and in China.

For organization alone, the German trainer Neid Silvia, a former stalwart player, takes the plaudits.

She knew that stopping Marta held the keys to fulfillment.

"There is no way we can match the Brazilians player for player," she forewarned. "What we need to do is give them little space."

Like the men's game of the 2002 World Cup final in Yokohama, the women's game has now come down to Brazilian flair versus German might. Back then, Ronaldo had the beating of Ollie Kahn, but on Sunday Germany never doubted.

The players studied the video of Marta's phenomenal goal against the United States - the goal of the tournament. Faced by two defenders, Marta deftly back-heeled the ball around Tina Ellertson, skipped around her, re-gathered the ball and moved inside the lunge of Cat Whitehill. Finally, she stroked it into the net past Briana Scurry.

Two opponents couldn't stop her, so the Germans made sure that three would do. Time after time, the tiny but supremely gifted Marta would evade one tackle only to be ground out by two more.

And when the relatively immobile Prinz had just half a chance, the marking was slack and the result definitive.

Even in physical stature, the stars of the rival teams told the tale. Prinz stands 1.79 meters, or 5 foot 9 inches. Marta is 1.60 meters, or 5 foot 3 inches. The weight differential is 18 kilograms, or 40 pounds.

And though that should not be decisive in a game of skills, it was decisive Sunday when allied to Germany's tactical grasp of the sport. FIFA made the goalkeeper Angerer the player of the final, and since she made five decent saves while Andrea failed to get near the two shots on her goal, that is an easy conclusion to make.

However, the German goal was also charmed, the defense was resolute to the point of ruthlessness, and the entire team apart from Prinz came back to smother Brazil's rhythm.

In that sense, women's soccer has caught up with the male game. He or she who is best organized often wins the spoils. America had a similar pound-for-pound advantage over Brazil, but misused it and paid the price with a four-goal semifinal defeat and a red card.

Germany knew where to draw the physical line. More to the point, it knew where, and from whom, the goal would eventually come.

Birgit Prinz will receive the plaudits of Germany's menfolk because in that organized land women's soccer is appreciated. In Brazil, it has not been so, until now.

There is no organized female league in Brazil. Women were barred from soccer until 1979. Today, with everyone from Pelé down saluting the girls who got further at their world cup than the men did in 2006, the soccer federation plans a national league, pronto.

Marta's tears need not last long. Brazil in defeat was a winner in its own land.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/09/30/sports/women.php

Offline redrobin

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Am I the only one that was surprised that the BBC didn't round off their World Cup coverage with a highlights package on Sunday evening?  With nearly all players and supporters of the women's game involved in matches on a Sunday, I would have thought very few would have been sitting down watching the live coverage. Strange then that finals night was the only night during the championships that the highlights package wasn't scheduled.
   

Offline BillyBoy

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I thought they should have rounded it off with a highlights programme yesterday. I suppose their reasoning was that most people could have caught it during the day and therefore they didn't want to show it again. Although I see what you mean about many players etc missing the live games.

I do think the BBC have covered the tournament fairly well with regards to the number of games shown. Although they won't have the TV rights from next year. Prepare yourself for the women's FA cup final on ITV9  ;) or something...