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The all star team of the womens football world championships

After every such tournament you have to form your all star team
However it is quite clear that there are lots of aspects to consider. Not only have there been different performances of the players where it is the question whether to prefer consistency or the one outstanding performance. Also how much to mix up or vary the positions they played. And mainly a question of personal preferences of style. Athleticism versus technical abilities for example. And let us not forget about the team around you that maybe or maybe not allowed you to shine.
Spaniard Boquete probably should be in one of these teams when you consider the general performance level you have seen of her outside these championships. But we want to focus more on what we saw in Canada. And have we seen enough of Marta and Necib? Maybe just with a little bonus added. And finally lets a little bit spread across nationalities. Who wants to see an US-team only with a few French and Germans in it?

Solo, McLeod, Angerer

Right back:
Maier, Bronze, Foord, Rubensson

Left back:
Boulleau, Majri, Chapman

Center backs:
Sauerbrunn, Renard, Georges, Johnston, Houghton, Buchanan

Holding midfielder:
Brian, Goessling, Seger, Holiday, Cruz, Henry

Wing midfielder:
Rapinoe, Necib, Heath, Kawasumi, Laudehr, Onguene

Off. midfielder:
Lloyd, Marta, Wang

Morgan, Thomis, Hegerberg, Andrade, Martens, Bachmann

So our two teams are:

Team A:
Maier Sauerbrunn Renard Boulleau
Brian Goessling Thomis Rapinoe
Lloyd Morgan

Team B:
Bronze Georges Johnston Majri
Seger Holiday Necib Bachmann
Hegerberg Marta

We would like to know yours. Please comment (in english or german)

The final: USA – Japan 5:2 (4:1)

Official match website:

In-depth tactical analysis in german:

Match preview:

Football at its best

Some fans sometimes tend to use some kind of excuses or feel the need to explain why they like to watch womens football. What about the answer: Maybe because it is simply a beautiful game? And I can not find too much of a neither why the mens final a year ago should have been more entertaining to watch nor why these kinds of comparisons should be rejected. (They will be made by the buyers of the tickets anyway)
There have been loads of facets of a beautiful game been at display here that you might call it an overload. This match had so plenty of world class players, world class actions, world class drama, and world class heroes. And it was entertaining until the final stages because you have to hugely credit Japan for not resigning but putting on a formidable performance despite being almost hopelessly back and beaten after 16 minutes.
It was not as often that

After the 0:4 you felt reminiscent of the Brazil 1:7 last summer and got afraid that the rest of the game would be similarily dripping towards an anti-climax end. But that did not happen. Surely partly because of the 4:0 in the bag already the USA did exactly what they should have urgently avoided to do as mentioned in the above preview. They allowed Japan easy access into their own half and to dictate play from there. And so Japan started to get their joy back that they had lost after the early goals.

Throughout the championships ko-stage only one game was turned around after a 0:1 deficit and goals seemed to come so rarely that people started to analyse this issue to find explanations for this and some struggling previous star player forwards.
Who would have expected that there will be 7 goals at display in the final? But that these things can happen is why this game is so beautiful. Sometimes there are just those 15 minutes where anything starts to go in one direction. Not often however these minutes are so relentlessly used as the USA did in this game.

It was twice Lloyd who was lucky enough to profit from a very untypical and very sloppy defending from the Japanese where especially the marking of Iwashimizu always came with a delay that proofed deadly. And the few minutes everything is falling your way where only half over there. Another few minutes later it was a bad cross that turned deadly when Iwashimizu again was not up to the task to clear the box but produced a looping ball which could have not been more precisely falling into the run of Holiday who slammed the ball volley into the net. And when everything is working you can even score goals from 50 meters looping the ball over the goalie who – of course – stumbled on her way back just enough to give the ball only a slight touch so that it found the way into the goal by just touching the post from the wrong side.

From that moment on of course everything that happened was widely influenced by the big scoreline. You cannot accuse the USA of giving the midfield to the Japanese without much resistance and that the Japanese had more possession.

And they showed their classy game with lots of short passes, quick feet and superb technical abilities on the ball especially in offense where they were able to check the US defense who had been seen as the main reason throughout the tournament as the main backbone for the US success. They were so much tested that yet another goal for Japan was not far away and certainly more than in the previous 6 matches of these world championships combined. No comparison to the lame evening Solo had against Germany.

But of course the USA at this stage of the game simply could afford that and had a quick answer again after the 2:4 where you even started to doubt what would happen after the next Japanese goal. But it still remained the evening of the USA as they again saw the Japanese defense unluckily backpaddling all on one line and thus not being able to prevent Heath from the tap from short distance after Morgans well addressed pass.

That sealed the deal on a game that surely will be well remembered for a long time to come and lived more than up to its expectations. Again you have to credit Japan for not giving up but keep trying. But the small glimmers of hope got more and more out of sight the more time run by.

And so it was all USA after the final whistle of these world championships who converted their given opportunities very clinically and took the eagerly desired revenge for the defeat 4 years ago. And a lot of people would agree that it is a pity that you have to wait 4 years for the next edition of this competition.

Player of the match: Lloyd

The master converter who exceled to the player of the tournament in the last 3 games after being quite quiet during the group stages.
Having not won the golden boat the FIFA might think to consider weighing group games goals slightly lesser. Same issue as with the men

Player Ratings USA (0-10)

Solo 7.5
Reliable as always.Couldnt do much about the goals

Krieger 7
Looked good. On the field, that is. Not much to do than keep her side clean

Sauerbrunn 8
Absolutely reliable, calm and collected. The player of the tournament if you include the group stage

Johnston 6
The newcomer had to have her setback sooner or later. A bad game but nevertheless excellent tournament

Klingenberg 7
Same as Krieger

Brian 7.5
Again with outstanding creative vision to know where the ball should go.

Holiday 7.5
Beautiful goal. So same rating as Morgan

Heath 7.5
Worked her side better than Rapinoe this time

Lloyd 9
Despite she hardly appeared after her goals. But that was appearance enough already

Rapinoe 7
Again not quite the factor for the game we used to see

Morgan 7.5
Running and working the defense constantly. Would have deserved a goal


Player Ratings Japan (0-10)

Kaihori 6.5
Couldnt do much more but a synonym for the drama stumbling back at the 0:3

Aryoshi 7.5
Solid team player as always.

Kumagai 8
Calm and solid – and without a big fault

Iwashimizu 5.5
Big drama here for the often so reliable center back

Samechima 7
Not her day. Often second best to Scott.

Kawasumi 7.5
Has she been injured?

Sawaguchi 7
Solid – and did well in defense

Utsugi 7
Solid also as a left back

Miyama 7.5
More lively than before. Tried to urge her team on.

Ohno 6
High workrate as always. But not much effect. Pity Kawasumi couldnt play on instead

Iwabuchi 7.5
Again very lively and a big add on when she came in

Ogimi 7.5
Had a tough task between the center backs. Worked hard and got a good goal



England – Germany 1:0 (0:0) aet.

Official match website:

Indepth tactical analysis in german:

Match preview:

England continues to fly

As stated in the preview this was a meeting of two sides with a completely different approach to the game. England seing this game as their biggest success ever in the history of their women national team and Germany as the big losers to whom this game felt as disappointment and punishment.
Germany made 5 changes to their last game. In came Schmidt as right full back for Maier. Peter as center back for Krahn. Däbritz for Popp on the left flank. Petermann for Mittag up front. And Behringer for Leupolz as holding midfielder.
England pitched White up front for Taylor. Greenwood for Rafferty. And Carney for Duggan.
But as the game started it was all Germany first. England were pushed back very far and the lonely White up front hardly could do anything else but chase long balls to no avail. On several occasions England just managed to get enough bodies in the way in their own box to deny Germany. It was a clearance just off the line from Houghton and a terrible miss from Sasic who alone in front of goal with only a little pressure rolled the ball into the arms of Bardsley which showed the first glimpse that luck would favor the brave on the day. Maybe England needed these few minutes to put their fear away having been beaten 3:0 comfortably a few months ago. Maybe they needed it to get used to the new tactical formation. They switched to a back line of 3 with Houghton right, Bassett center, and Moore on the left.
But as longer as the game went on you could realise that the different mindsets – the disappointed against the high-flyers – should become the most pivotal point of the game. England positive throughout and eager and crisp to make up for the advantages in individual class Germany still had. Germany exhausted hardly found any rhythm and did not show the usual drive towards goal and were not able to convert their chances.
And as soon as England realised that there was something possible on the day mainly when Houghton seemingly out of nowhere was presented a golden opportunity from a corner kick and Germany realised that it would not be easy to win England grow in the game better and better by the minute.
And so the chances were more evenly matched in the second half where Scott who hestitated too long nearly came as close as Däbritz shot that was very well saved by Bardsley and Kemmes long rate effort that missed just inches wide.
England smelled their chances and ended the 90 mins on a high when Aluko again caused the defense of Germany all sorts of trouble but her effort finally ended safely in the arms of Angerer after a first touch that brought her too close to the German keeper. Who ended her international career with this game and will be certainly missed. Only towards over time it just seemed like England got a little bit nervous by remembering the similar situation in the previous game against Japan where they had their big opponents under control but yet conceded in the 92th minute.
But that wasnt the case this time and so the game went into extra time were it was suddenly Germany again who dictated play. That added to the patchy impression of the game where the upper hand very much switched back and forth between the teams. Certainly also due to the fact that the past weeks had taken a lot out of the players.

The game is played after certain rules however. Surely you can lay your arms around someone without pulling her but for other reasons. But there is also a rule in football that doesnt allow holding and you dont have to wrestle someone down to get that rule in place. Germany have just profited from that very rule in their last game against the USA. But this time it was Kemme after suddenly finding herself on the wrong side of Anderson who did what players usually learn very early is a no go. It was however not the only time where her positioning showed improvement possibilities. Williams safely scored from the spot and despite some late efforts from Germany the game was decided in favor of the high-flyers

Player of the match: Aluko
Should have done better with her chance and couldnt create too much of note. But England was all about spirit. And so she gets the award in place of the team spirit where she gave a fresh injection just as the team got tired and her constant runs to stretch the German defense lifted the self confidence again.

Player Ratings Englands (0-10)

Bardsley 8
Solid throughout and one fantastic save against Däbritz.

Bronze 7
Not too much problems in defense. Very solid

Houghton 7
Reliable as always. Solid defense. Only the missed opportunity.

Bassett 6.5
Mainly there where she was needed.

Greenwood 6.5
Good and solid game but still more possible in offense

Scott,J. 7
Again a goto player. Maybe the only England player who also looked a little bit tiring.

Moore 6.5
Nothing spectacular but a solid team player as the whole tournament.

Williams 7
Solid and steady again.

Carney 7.5
Always the one who knew how something to do with the ball.

Chapman 7
Solid and clever game but without too much highlites.

White 6.5
A lot of fight up front. Usually better around the box than as lonely long ball warrior.

Aluko 7.5
Used her pace to be a constant threat.

Player Ratings Germany (0-10)

Angerer 7.5
Reliable in her last game as she had been for years.

Schmidt 7
Simply isnt her former self. Seemingly nobody can help her to change that.

Peter 6.5
Opening the game is not her strength. Ok defensively. But too slow against Aluko

Bartusiak 6.5
Opening the game is not her strength. Ok defensively. But too slow against Aluko

Kemme 6
Not tired and high work rate as ever. But … easy beaten sometimes by Scott. And the penalty

Goessling 6.5
Tired. Did not get injured. The best aspect of the game from her.

Behringer 6
It is not easy to play in the center of a tired team. But she couldnt proof to be fresher either.

Leupolz 6
As always reliable in winning duels and a lot of running but room to improve when possessing the ball.

Laudehr 6
Not the factor we used to see earlier in the tournament against opponents of this level

Sasic 5.5
Again. 3 goals without any opposition and 2 penalties to get the golden ball. Unbelievable?

Petermann 6
The youngster at least tried as long as possible. Fine assist for Sasic.

Däbritz 6.5
Had the best shot on goal and did well when given the time.

Preview USA – Japan

Finally we are there. The final of the womens world championships Canada 2015. And it will be a duel between the same two sides as the last time 2011 in Germany where Japan against all odds were finally crowned world champions.
This time though it was not quite as unexpected that Japan would appear in the finals. They were the highest ranked team in their bracket of the ko-stages and maybe a little bit lucky that USA, France and Germany had to battle it out in the other half of the bracket.
Where USA advanced maybe as well a little bit lucky regarding the fact that after lower ranked Colombia and China they had only one Top10 team to beat on their way with Germany. Not few however could still see this as having been the most difficult task on their route to the title and the semi final USA – Germany having been the premature final.
Japan will try to proof this wrong and get back on track after winning all of their matches so far. But they completely lost their fluent style sometimes named “possession game” in the semi final match against England and advanced in a game that saw their opponents as the most likely winner until an own goal from England in extra time after one of Japans few visits to the opposite box.

What to expect
Finals of such an event often write their very own stories and already the semi finals were decided quite specially where England as the better side beat themselves by an own goal and USA as the better side would have not been able to convert this but instead needed three lucky moments to see a penalty of their opponents missed, a red card not given and a very doubtful penalty rewarded for them to win the game.
So the question is if this time the better team will be able to convert their advantage into goals. We have seen the USA with some quite heavy mixes in formation and very different performance levels so far in this tournament. Still on the search to find their best formation they certainly found one against Germany that worked at least better than most of their previous attempts and you would expect them not again to start strange mix ups however be aware of the fact that what was right against Germany might not be right against Japan.
Japan on the other side looked like a real solid contender with an absolute flawless way through. But the England game changed that all. Suddenly they looked like an orchestra who lost their sheets all together. Hardly ever did you see the players play so awfully unsorted and individually faulty as well with and without having ball possession. Suddenly is seems difficult to say what to expect from them who have been so reliable during all of their previous games. Expect them to be better however than against England or we will get a very single-sided final.

Keys to success

1. Whoever it gets: Make your advantages count! In both semi finals that was not the case as well as in the game from France against Germany. Will there be a third? Or let us say the other way round: Who ever is better in taking what comes his way might again be the winner not necessarily depending on who is the better side.

2. Make your physical advantages count (USA) or make your physical deficits not count (Japan).
That does mean far more than (but of course too) set pieces.
Japan as mentioned above might have had a very bad day in the office where a lot of the players individually seemed to lack awareness and sharpness. But maybe England should be given a fair amount of credit to having forced this issue especially in the second half when they pressed high up the pitch eg. at throw ins close to the corner. Japan did not throw a long ball to somebody further up the field to head it on again along the line because that would give their bigger opponents good chances to intercept. They usually always try to pass their way out of their own half with lots of short passes. But that led to lots of losses because England was not shy to press forward with a lot of players. Whenever Japan is forced to play long balls towards their forwards it should usually be not too difficult pick ups for the back line.

3. Force Japan to work the ball all the way from back to top. Surely all football friends (nearly all, at least) have enjoyed their team goal against the Netherlands. They can string together wonderful passes like not much other teams can. And this is dangerous when you let them get easily forward and close to the box to start their combinations from there. For this reason you should build up more resistance already further up the pitch. Combining the ball all the way through in such a kind from the back to the top is not possible. You have to be ready to do a lot of running against Japan to prevent them from having the bigger number of players around the ball all the way up the pitch.

4. Lots have been talked about the possession game of Japan. But it might be as least as important how to break down their compact team when Japan do not have possession. And to get this right – or for Japan to get their defending right might be even more key of the game.

Things to watch out for:

Japan 2011 had Sawa who earned the MVP title of the tournament. At the moment they seem to lack a similar outstanding player like she was in 2011 who is able to steady the ship if there is a phase of pressure from the opponents. (Ogimi not quite the player we used to see; Kawasumi, Iwabuchi the most dangerous so far but no Sawas) Or will they also be able to compensate for that by their team work.

Often in the final stages of such events games are decided or mainly influenced by the fact that the players start to be drained out physically and mentally. Nerves have not often played a part but cautiousness that even more creeps in when you feel a little tired. So who is able to still reach a performance level close to the maximum? Or will one side show evident signs of fatigue?

You saw that already from some German players after they had games against Sweden – France – USA in short succession. And it showed extremely in their game for third place. If both sides can manage to stay away from that it might become a close match. Doubts are why Japan showed such a weak and tired performance against England and whether this was only on that one bad day.

If the match gets close because both reach their standard performance level it might well be decided by the tactical ability of the USA to stretch Japan enough to make the physical advantage count. It is one thing to pick up Krahn in the German defense to go at her in 1on1 situations. Japans back line seems kind of the opposite type of players and thus should ne played quite differently.

Have we already seen the “real” final when the USA played Germany? The neutral crowd would certainly be happy to see Japan answer this question with a loud “no”. Can they do them the favor?

Preview England – Germany

The FIFA world ranking teams no6 and (yet) no1 are playing for 3rd place in this tournament and there could be hardly any more contrasts about what they think about this game. Germany bitterly disappointed that they have to play there instead of the final and heavy criticism and pressure already going on in the German media for the manager from the supporters who had expected nothing else than to be crowned champions. England also bitterly disappointed but for quite complementary reasons. They started cautious – to use a friendly transcription – against France in their first game but have grown into the tournament from game to game. And finally they managed to be the far better side who were tremendously unlucky to lose a semi final against Japan 1:2 on an own goal at extra time of the now maybe life long infamous Laura Bassett being the tragic classical figure of the drama as the personification of the brave fighting but unlucky hero. But yet the reactions back home could hardly be more positive in England.
Germany in the contrary started the tournament quite brightly and for many people took over as favorites after some mediocre performances of their main rivals. But after a convincing 4:1 victory over Sweden they already rode their luck in a penalty shoot out against France to finally lose out 0:2 to arch rivals USA in the semi final which might have been some kind of premature final.

What to expect
Expectations for a match for third spot usually arent that high especially considering disappointed losers of the semis or maybe teams who pitch those players who have not yet had much time on the field to shine as a kind of thank-you friendly.
Here however the Germans have already made clear that they are aiming to go for the third place to have at least a bit of a compensation for what already has been not what they had been looking for. England on the other side are on a massive emotional high and surely keen to round up what has been their best world championships ever. And they still have to beat Germany for the very first time after they could not yet manage this in 20 previous games. Given the focus that still lies on this game back home – albeit in Germany much less friendly – could still make it quite interesting.
It will hardly be of any international interest though outside of the two participating countries compared to the international interest of the quarter or semi finals for example. As for example the big TV stations in Germany had already long ago announced that they only would be broadcasting this game when Germany would be participating.

Keys to success
So as this game hardly does follow any standard patterns in regards of the importance of success this point might be somewhat useless to discuss. It certainly kind of depends how seriously the fight for the win is taken. Even if both sides surely will work hard to win it is the very last game after very long weeks and shortly before departure back home. And that might influence the players decision making on the field (hopefully) more towards their natural football playing instincts than tactical discipline.
Still it will be important for England to keep their slightly more physical opponents at bay. Germany will face difficulties if they cant use their opponents errors to score. But they are quite good to force such errors and convert as it has been pointed out in the blog post for the game Sweden – Germany already. The English team have painfully experienced that as well in their last friendly. If England can avoid that sort of errors then Germany might lack the creativity to break their defense down.

On the other side everybody could witness the German back line difficulty against fast forwards who are moving well up front to get behind them. It have mainly been Morgan and Thomis in the last two games to provide all sorts of trouble. It will be interesting to see if England is aiming to exploit that as well what they certainly should. And where they have some players to try this as well. However they never tried this against stronger opponents during these championships so far.

Looking at Englands last games it was a big factor how Jill Scott on the right wing could provide width to their attacks and serve as an always available support player. If however Germany plays with Kemme she might be able to prevent that (Cramer probably would not) in which case it would be necessary to change Scott into another position.

Things to watch out for:

England have lost 3:0 to Germany late last year in a friendly at Wembley at front of a record breaking crowd. That seemed to have been quite a massive shock to them after being on a high coming from a WC qualification group where they hadnt lost a single point. Who knows if they sometimes tend to overreact a little bit in both directions. Because the next two games they faced one of the worlds top sides – the USA in a friendly in early 2015 and France for their first world cup match – they massively (and for some peoples taste disappointingly) played “parking the bus” in front of their own goal.
The first time they trusted themselves again to give it more of a go – against Japan in the semi finals – they did very well in pressing up front and deep in the opposite half to surprise and deny Japan from the fluent possession game we used to see most of the times in their previous games. Will they try this again and if so – will they be able to do it with the same degree of success.
Or will Germany be able to deny them and get some bitterly needed credit back?

England – Japan 1:2 (1:1)

Official match website:

The ugly beauty of the game – or the beautiful ugliness?

So often in this world championships games have been very predictable and even the fixes of FIFA of the starter and ko-stage places went all exactly the way they wanted. Until England kicked hosts Canada out of the competition.
And England seemed to like to mess up all predictions even more in this game. No parking of the bus from the underdog. They showed straight away that they have a fairly strong side when they play football instead of hide-and-seek. Unlike Australia England started on the front foot right from the off. They urged their game right into the face of a Japans team that seemed totally rattled by their opponent. Japans fluent and brilliant possession game which brought them quite comfortably – though due to a late 1:0 against Australia – into the semi finals seemed to have evaporated and it was England who dictated proceedings especially the longer the game lasted. Leaving only one question open: Would Japan be able to rescue themselves into an overtime and penalty shoot out or would England finally be able to break through after all sorts of promising tries. Especially between the 60th and the 65th minute where in short succession England had three fantastic opportunities and Japan so lucky to have somehow escaped. First it was a powerful shot from the 18yard line that rattled the crossbar above the stretching Kahori. Then it was Whites fine curl also from about 16mtr which was very well saved by the keeper. And another minute later it was Jill Scott with a fine header from a well driven corner kick from Williams who missed the target only inches wide from the left post. From that minute on there could only one legitimate winner be seen.

But of course the ugly beauty of the game was revealed in overtime. Football is only a game. Its not war. Its not a battle or whatever. But sometimes it can be extremely brutal. Extraordinary brutal. Especially when the biggest moment of your whole football career is at stake. You already felt some kind of reduced tension because you accepted the fact and had given credit to Japan for holding firm and forcing the game into extra time preparing yourself mentally for another 30 mins. Suddenly Japan managed to find space for a last counter attack on their right wing with a few bodies moving forward into the english box. A ball was curled in flat behind the defense but everything looked under control again for England to clear it. And then it was the brave Bassett who had been part of an impeccably performing English defense so far who stepped up to clear the ball away from 13m out. But her high looping clearance suddenly fell back towards goal. In just the very exactly cm it needed to touch the post and come down just so close behind the line that keeper Bardsley had no chance to get to it and goal line technology was needed to award a goal for Japan which couldnt have had more drama in it. And brutality.

And so it came that England was out after they played their best match of the tournament by far and – who knows – may be ever but since years for sure. Nevertheless this will hopefully give them a boost on their way to establish themselves as one of the European top nations. However they would do themselves a favor not to go too ballistic now. The gap to Germany and France remains too big for the most of this generation of players, but it can hopefully inspire the next to close it down. Nevertheless it has to be said that apart from a refreshing english attacking of the Japanese players it was really Japan who seemed absolutely below their usual standards in every aspect. Mainly they seemed tired and as a follow up not only lost their usually brilliant organization but acted really like 11 isolated parts. But maybe the hype coming of a semi final is much much better to deal with than if they would have got further. Maybe some people will recognize the advantage of this in the months to come. So well done England.

Japan on the other side was like another side than they had been before. They have to analyze this poor performance and change to the better very quickly because this type of performance will get them nothing else then a very formidable beating in the final. If the big difference to their performance against Switzerland, the Netherlands and Australia was due to the short break, (because they have been very much tiring in Alga-Cup with its short breaks too) there will be no way out with the next game to come already in three days time.

Player Ratings Englands (0-10)

Bardsley 7
There was not too much to do. But every ball was properly dealt with.

Bronze 7.5
No problem in defense. Very solid

Houghton 7.5
Easier than expected but nevertheless flawless.

Bassett 6.5
If only the penalty would not have happened.

Rafferty 6.5
Might have looked easier than expected but won her side. More of support for the offense would be nice

Scott,J. 8
Again was constantly available and caused all sorts of problems.

Moore 6.5
Did also well in holding midfield.

Williams 7
Not too much created offensively but rock steady.

Duggan 7
Not too much created but the 2:0. But always a strong front fighter with high work rate.

Chapman 6.5
Not the factor for the game we used to see. But stopped Maier going forward.

Taylor 7.5
Constantly threatening the German defense. Only the conversion rate to improve.

Player Ratings Japan (0-10)

Kaihori 8
One exception but mostly a very reliable backbone

Aryoshi 7
Solid team player.

Kumagai 7.5
Calm and solid but not as crisp as needed.

Iwashimizu 7
As Kumagai simply lacked top notch sharpness.

Samechima 5.5
Not her day. Often second best to Scott.

Kawasumi 8
If Japan was to get a goal – then it had something to do with Kumagai.

Sawaguchi 6.5
Solid – but not as usual.

Utsugi 6.5
Again a little bit more of an obstacle to come by for the opponents as the other midfielders

Miyama 6.5
The same goos and reliable team player as always. Not quite on level with Kawasumi on the other side regarding the offense but rock solid.

Ohno 6
High workrate as always. But no effect.

Iwabuchi 7.5
The only danger woman for England. Best forward by far.

Ogimi 6
Cama always second. Seemed not fresh enough.

Preview Japan – England

The FIFA world ranking teams no 4 and no 6 will meet in what really feels like the second semifinal after the monster clash between Germany and the USA. But there are only 2 games to go for either of these teams what surely will give them additional motivation enough to put together a fine performance.
England with only wins after their initial loss to France managed to overcome Norway and Canada but Japan the only team to have won all their encounters of this world championships so far beating for instance Switzerland, the Netherlands and Australia with a late goal.

What to expect
You might dont like it but expect England to park the bus. What have helped them so far in the tournament should not be changed without good reason. And they could already see in the Japan – Australia game that it is possible to keep the Japanese offense at bay when they meet a solid defense. It will be interesting however to see what efforts England might try to bring in going forward. Maybe they totally rely on set pieces where they could score against Norway and Canada. They changed their line ups regularly and probably they will do so again.
Japan however will play their very special game as they always do and what is their trademark style. A very compact defense and a very fluid game with lots of passing up front that is very entertaining to watch. Will England spoil the party?

Keys to success

1. England defense. Of course that is the main question of the game. How will the very physical style of play of the english defense fare against the very agile but lightweight Japanese players. So far the english defense has done well. Not a bad organization. Solid in their duels. Especially protecting the wing areas. Even if that all came for the price of sacrificing offensive play. It put them through. The main concern is that there have been blips in nearly every game where they gave away a goal by mistakes they should really have avoided. They probably cannot afford this to happen against Japan.

2. Set pieces: In a game where the chances are most likely not to come thick and fast set pieces might play a central roll for the outcome. They helped England in both their ko-stage games so far. But – would you believe it – a corner kick helped the little Japanese what they couldnt achieve in open play for nearly 90 mins – to score the decider against a very physical Australian side. Australia probably still asking themselves how this could happen – though Japan in Iwashimizu and Kumagai have two players with decent header capabilities. But Englands set pieces will always be a threat for the Japanese. However they have not yet conceded a goal after a corner kick yet. But some day one of their opponents will have figured how to move and where to place a ball to get a header with quite free view on goal.

3. 1:0, 1:0, 1:0 England are still the only team to have managed to come back from a deficit in the ko-stages which have seen 13 games so far. Not a good chance so if you are falling 1:0 behind. Will there be a second come back? Surely the come back chances are better if you have a set piece advantage.

Things to watch out for:

If you are based in Europe like I am get yourself some very strong coffee ready. Only in case it might be not for very delightful for the eye of the football enthusiast when England is successfully trying to destroy the game and you will find it hard to prevent from falling asleep.
Apart from that it all depends if Japan will find a way through. As a neutral you should really hope for an early Japan goal because England – when asked to do so – proofed they can play football too.
And England might be on an emotional high where you never know how far that can bring them. The perspective of going into a world championship final have some underdogs seen propelling through a tournament.

USA – Germany 2:0 (0:0)

Official match website:

Indepth tactical analysis in german:

Match preview:

Sometimes football is simple: The better players won

If two sides are meeting who – similar to the France-Germany game – do not build a team that is better than its 11 individual parts – then often the 11 better parts will win. Sometimes it is as easy as that.
There is little doubt with those who know a little bit about their international women football that Sauerbrunn / Johnston are the far better players than Krahn / Bartusiak. There is little doubt with those who know a little bit about their international women football that Morgan is a far better player than Sasic.
And who didnt already know that could have a good look at it here.
Interestingly even some so called “pundits” sometimes let themselves fool by goal scoring statistics. Sasic and Mittag both scored a hattrick against no defense where a decent forward should have scored 5 in the place of Sasic. And she had a rebound from the post tap in from 5 meters and two penalty kicks to even give her the golden boot of a WWC where more in-form players of the Bundesliga might have been the better alternative for Silvia Neids side.
And with the rest of the both sides on average seemed roughly evenly matched, those players made the huge difference. Morgan superior in speed and technical abilities was a constant threat and never to be stopped by the German center backs. The German offense line of Sasic up front, then Laudehr – Mittag – Popp not with enough speed nor technical abilities to beat Sauerbrunn and Johnston and never able to get past the US back line – if it would not have been for a poor error from Johnston that provided Germany the golden opportunity to again punish their opposition for not converting their chances.
But this time fate decided to even out the Germans luck in their penalties against Sweden and France – with not much of a delay. Johnston was left on the field instead of possibly red carded and they saw a penalty given against them only a few minutes later on the other side for Morgans clever move. If fate is reacting so quickly in these world championships there might be another twist on the agenda for the US team in the finals however.
The fact that the players in midfield more or less cancelled each other out was something that always favored the US to win because it was clear before the start of the game that Germany had to be the better side on this part of the pitch if they wanted to have a decent chance to win to make up for the US advantage in center backs and forwards. However Germany looked the better side after half time because they started to gain control over this area and forced the US back just before the two penalties wrote their very own story of the game and Germany with the task to chase for the equaliser.
But with none of their attacking players being able to create hardly any play to threaten the US apart from two half chances there was no way. This was mainly due to an improved holding play in midfield where Brian always was the type of player with terrific positioning and “reading” skills the US team needed and thus a very important player for their midfield (maybe more than Holiday and Lloyd who despite being slightly stronger in duels, are too similar and one is still dispensable) to give their back line the additional protection they needed. Luckily they seem to have realized what younger top players Johnston and Brian add to their side in comparison to players who have more experience but weaken them in regards to movement and team play. And many might think the reason for this undue delay showed some deficit in team management. However it was good enough to regain strength just in time to overcome one big obstacle. But as the Germans can tell in 50:50 games it gets even more tricky if it is necessary to overcome 2 obstacles en route.
Because the US will face better back lines where only one lonely Morgan up front might be not enough but a second well moving forward needed to support her instead of the overcrowded center midfield. Even Germany will quite rapidly realize their problem areas to come back stronger next year. And then maybe a little bit more of wing play will be needed not to ride their luck like they did in this game. Because it would have only Sasic needed to convert the penalty which she usually does to send the US home.
But now there is a big final awaiting where only Japan might be not so easy to break down. But for sure await who ever will be met there to defend Morgan better.

Player of the match: Morgan
Clearly made the difference in this match. Surely on behalf of a never present Bartusiak and a heavy-legged Krahn.

Player Ratings USA (0-10)

Solo –
Not enough to do to be rated.

Krieger 6.5
Might have looked easier than expected but won her side. More of support for the offense would be nice

Sauerbrunn 8
Easier than expected but nevertheless flawless.

Johnston 6.5
If only the penalty would not have happened.

Klingenberg 6.5
Might have looked easier than expected but won her side. More of support for the offense would be nice

Brian 7.5
Was always there where she needed to be and knows where the ball should go.

Holiday 7
Did also well in holding midfield.

Heath 6.5
Not too much created offensively like Rapinoe but a solid support defensively.

Lloyd 7
Not too much created but the 2:0. But always a strong front fighter with high work rate.

Rapinoe 6.5
Not the factor for the game we used to see. But stopped Maier going forward.

Morgan 8.5
Constantly threatening the German defense. Only the conversion rate to improve.

Player Ratings Germany (0-10)

Angerer 7
Again showed her ability to focus and come up big at the big moments.

Maier 7.5
Not much problems on her side in the back. Winner against Rapinoe.

Krahn 5
Look France. She simply lacks mobility when playing the best top players who ask her for that

Bartusiak 6
Didnt look as vulnerable as Krahn or was it only because she was never there?

Kemme 7.5
Wasnt asked too much questions by Heath but mastered her wing and did more offensively than the US full backs.

Goessling 7
Did ok defensively with holding midfield the only area Germany won.

Leupolz 6.5
Lots of room for improvement in individual tactics. But holding midfield tasks well properly executed.

Maroszan –
She was not brought in at half time like usual so expect her having been not 100% fit.

Laudehr 6
Hardly ever could beat Klingenberg and didnt create enough of note though at least a good cross.

Mittag 5.5
Is the clever finisher when launched by her team but no factor when this does hardly happen.

Popp 6
Never could beat Krieger but at least supported the midfield elsewhere.

Sasic 4.5
Of all offensive players the most dreadful who even missed lots of quite simple looking passes.