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France ponders how to slay US Goliath in World Cup semi-final

The Local · 12 Jul 2011, 08:23

Published: 12 Jul 2011 08:23 GMT+02:00

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With the big dangers Germany and Brazil already eliminated, the United States are the only remaining pre-tournament favourites in the running.

Despite struggling to reach the Germany 2011 competition, the Americans have never failed to qualify for the global tournament and were twice champions - winning the inaugural event in 1991 and again in 1999.

As well as being ranked number one in the world by FIFA, the United States are also the reigning and three-time Olympic champions.

France, by contrast, are a team on the rise after failing to get past the group stages in their only previous appearance on the world stage in 2003.

Comparing the two nations is impossible, Bini said.

"They are the number one nation in the FIFA rankings. They have 2.5 million club players. It's sure that it's easier to find 21 than when you have 55,000 club players to chose from," said Bini.

"But you're not under-19 European champions, European quarter-finalists and World Cup semi-finalists without being competent in some way."

Both sides have had very similar paths to the semi-finals, finishing second in their respective groups after losing one of their games.

France fell 4-2 to Germany in Group A, while the United States were shocked 2-1 to Sweden in Group C.

They are also both coming from bruising quarter-finals needing dramatic penalty shoot outs before advancing after a gruelling 120 minutes of play.

The United States got past Brazil 5-3 on penalties after the match ended 2-2 after extra-time on Sunday, a day after France achieved a 4-3 penalty win over England after their tie had ended 1-1.

The extra day could prove important, Bini believes.

"We have an extra day to prepare for the next match at least," he said.

Defender Laura Georges, one of the French team's contingent of ten players from Champions League winning side Lyon, believes France have a fighting chance in the most important game of their careers.

"They (the US) are solid, tactically very well organised and athletically very strong. We're going to really test ourselves on that level. They have a real athletics culture.

Story continues below…

"But eveything is to play for as it is in every match," said Georges.

USA coach Pia Sundhage believes that her side's strong past record has proved an enormous help when they are in a tight corner.

"One of the advantages of the United States team is that we have been winning gold, silver and bronze medals since 1991," said the Swedish-born coach. "This is something when we're pushed into a corner we can look back at but be humble about as well."

Wednesday's second semi-final sees Sweden take on Japan, with the final taking place in Frankfurt on July 17, a day after the third-place playoff.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:01 July 12, 2011 by T.J. Morton
I think someone needed another cup of coffee before they proof read the title of this one! :-)
10:04 July 12, 2011 by wood artist
Actually the title didn't seem quite as jarring as this line...

...,the United States are the only remaining pre-tournament favourites...

Hmmm. Not exactly how that works. Maybe it's something in the translation.

10:16 July 12, 2011 by Ami-In-DE
Yeah, maybe the writer needed 2 cups of coffee--US lost to Sweden 2-1, not 2-0!
11:09 July 12, 2011 by J-Dub
France slaying the U.S. girls? NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. France needed penalties to beat an England team that has not performed even remotely well. They were doubled up on goals to Germany. Yes, the U.S. girls lost to Sweden, but if that match had went on another 5-7 minutes, it would have ended in a tie. To be quite honest, I think we are looking at a Japan-U.S.A. final. Japan can beat Sweden. The U.S. can certainly defeat France. The U.S. is TRUTHFULLY the only remaining pre-tournament favorite since Germany and Brazil have been ousted. But let's not forget that the highest ranking team left in the tournament other than the USA (who is #1 in the world) is Japan, who is 4th in the world according to the FIFA rankings. I won't count out Japan seeing the USA in the final. Both are playing extremely well.
13:03 July 12, 2011 by IYWMTS
Quite difficult to say which team can win this year's World Cup. I would say the U.S. seems to have the best chances, followed by Japan and Sweden and then France. But you should keep in mind that the French club Olympique Lyon has won this year's Women's Champions League - and several of the French players are part of this team. But as we all know - football can be an elusive science - that's what makes this sport so interesting.

We'll eventually see whether there will be a second nation beside Germany whose team will have won the women's and the men's World Cup.

Anyway good luck to all of the remaining teams.
15:24 July 12, 2011 by Reg33
France will win the final 2-1 against Sweden.

You¦#39;ll see.
17:20 July 12, 2011 by Beachrider
Although soccer doesn't have the 'roots' in the USA that it has in France, the 1991 USA team has driven-up interest from young women in America.

They will play the game, someone will keep score and the Americans will celebrate whatever level-of-success that they achieve.

(I am rooting for the USA, because my granddaughter is 7 and plays).
20:19 July 13, 2011 by Joshontour
Reg... did you mean 3rd place?
02:13 July 14, 2011 by Beachrider
One more game for the USA team. This one is for the championship.
09:54 July 14, 2011 by Reg33
Yes Josh, I meant the SMALL final indeed !
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