The US Women’s National Team’s next challenge will be a familiar foe, former Asian giants China. Although not as strong as they were in 1999, there is still danger for the US in the second quarterfinal matchup of the day.
China vs US
China and the US will once again find themselves against each other on June 26th. These two teams have met 3 times before, resulting in 2 ties and 1 win for the US, who outscore China 5-3. But it is safe to say that this will not be the same Chinese team that the US has met before, and the US will also be playing differently.
The US is coming from a tough win against Colombia earlier in the week. Tired legs and missing players will definitely be a difficult factor in this game. Megan Rapinoe, the star outside midfielder, will be missing the game due to 2 yellow cards received from earlier in the tournament. Christine Press will likely be taking her place on the field, who saw some time against Colombia. Press had some chances and took the time to dribble towards players for 1v1 plays. Hopefully she will be a good substitute for Rapinoe who made some differences in the previous games.
After a missed penalty kick, Abby Wambach will be coming into this game with a point to prove once again. She has had some negative feedback so far in this tournament after a lack of effort and shots on goal that she had, but after scoring the winning goal against Nigeria, Wambach looked as if she was back to her old self. Unluckily, the missed PK against Colombia set her back once again. Wambach has some obvious advantages over China, like her size, which should be a redeeming factor on corner kicks and crosses that they are great at finding. Several of the set plays against Colombia found players back post and in the middle of the penalty box. If the US players go up strong and big, they should find the back of the net from headers.
As for the US back line, Hope Solo and company were not tested very often against Colombia. China will be a much more tactical team than Columbia as they pride themselves with their ball control. The US defense will have to be on their toes if they do not want China to find their way through holes. The China defense has also kept a low goals-against column in this tournament. China was able to keep close scores against some big names in the World Cup that have made it far in the tournament as well, such as Canada and the Netherlands. This match will be see which type of playing style will be dominate in this World Cup. The US and their big style of play usually gets them through smaller and weaker teams, while China’s tactical and fast ball movement style breaks apart confused back lines. Whoever wins this game will find themselves in the semi-finals against the winner of Germany-France, the other quarterfinal being played on Friday.