Will it be revenge for 2011 or back-to-back champs?
- Kickoff: July 5th, 7:00 PM EST • FOX, NBC Universo
- Location: BC Place Stadium; Vancouver, Canada
In the last World Cup, Japan defeated the USWNT in penalty kicks. There are still players on the US team that know first hand the sting of that defeat. The players are too professional to admit it, but revenge is on their minds. They also met in the 2012 Olympics gold-medal match, with the Americans taking home the hardware.
To get here, US defeated Germany, 2-0, with a goal by Lloyd 69’ (penalty kick) and O’Hara 84’.
It’s inarguable that the USWNT were the benefactors of two calls during their match versus Germany. Julie Johnston, who has been as close to perfect as a player can be, should have received a red card for a foul in the box. The penalty kick that the US was given was for a foul outside the box, so should have been normal (although still dangerous) free kick. That being said Germany failed to convert their penalty kick and had no answer for the defense—or offense for that matter—of the Yanks. The Germans only had one shot on target despite outshooting the Americans.
The US has kept opponents from scoring for 513 straight minutes. That’s simply amazing. This stalwart defense should allow the midfield and forwards to press the attack and continue the offense’s upward trend.
Lloyd’s penalty kick was her third goal of the tournament and for the third time in a row selected as player of the match. She has been a factor in nearly every goal in the knockout round. Abby Wambach was one of the players that lost to Japan four years ago so expect to see her buzzing around looking for vengeance.
To get here, Japan defeated England, 2-1, with a goal by Miyama 33’ and an English own goal by Basset 90’ +2
The end of the Japan-England game was one of the harshest in recent soccer memory. English defender Basset, who up to this point has had a great tournament, mishit a clearance, and it went into the back of her own net. On one level, Japan is lucky to be in this final but throughout the tournament they’ve proven they are a quality side and won all of their games—including those in Group Play. On the road to the final they’ve scored nine goals and won each game by a one-goal margin. In the semi-final they only managed four shots on target, and against a defense like the US that’s not likely to be enough.
As for who to focus on that creates a dilemma because seven different women have scored goals.
The X FACTORS
Both teams benefitted from questionable referee calls in their semi-final rounds. Both were granted penalty kicks that should have instead been outside the box. The USWNT should have been playing with one less player but she escaped with a yellow card. We won’t know until late Sunday whether another referee mistake will have a dramatic impact on the final result. I’m hoping for the sake of the game that this X Factor is completely unfounded.
Gus’ Bar and Grill home of the Richmond Chapter of American Outlaws continues to be the go-to spot in Richmond. If you don’t already have a reservation or aren’t a member of American Outlaws I recommend heading over there very, very early.
Richmond Kickers have a sweet deal going: If the USA win, everyone in attendance wins a ticket to the Craft Beer Fest and Kickers game at City Stadium on Saturday, August 1st.
The official game watching parties start at 6:00 pm with a “Murica”-themed Happy Hour featuring food and drink specials and the USA battles Japan in the Women’s World Cup Final at 7:00 pm.
Get amped with the American Outlaws at Gus’ Bar & Grill (2701 W Broad Street), cheer on Team USA from the Fan’s largest patio at Baja Bean Co. (1520 W Main Street), get the party started at F.W. Sullivan’s (2401 W Main Street) or get loud with Wes McElroy from Fox Sports 910 at Buffalo Wild Wings – Westchester Commons (15700 WC Main Street, Midlothian).
Triple Crossing will be showing the game on the big screen and will have food by Cultured Swine and music leading up to the game.
If you know of other specials around town, leave them in the comments below!