There are 8 teams left in the FIFA Women's World Cup. Each of these countries all have a chance to win it all. It's time for another Power Ranking!
Some Thorns training info from my reconnaissance mission to Prov Park (aka my PT session this am.)
No Sinc, Soph, or Dunn. Becky and Rocky were both back in full training and I got to watch about 8 mins of a 1/2 field 11 v 11. Becky looked quick and not really hesitant. Rocky, got stuck in a little bit more but maybe still a little hesitant. There was someone tall-ish in warmups sitting on the sidelines but just street shoes. Couldn’t tell who it was, maybe a little bit more tan/darker hair. Could’ve maybe been Sinc? All the usual talls were out training.
Anyways, that’s all I got!
World Cup Wish Rankings:
Who do I *want* to win the World Cup?
1. Australia - have never won despite being good for a long time; home team, so vast numbers of people would be ecstatic
2. Sweden - have never won despite being very good for a long time
3. Netherlands - women and men combined have been to like 5 finals and never won
4. Colombia - have never won; the ultimate dark horse
5. Japan - so much fun to watch, but they're already slated to win it in 2027
6. France - the women haven't won but the men have, and recently (and probably will again in the next decade)
7. Spain - would be ranked higher but for the boost it would give the chauvinists in the RFEF
8. England - their media is already obnoxious about English football and winning would make it 1000x worse; plus the FAWSL doesn't need any more hype than it already gets
Guess who is back and looks happy? Sophia Smith working out with the team!
Random thoughts on the WNT coaching search:
The Vlatko Experience points out how big the gap is between “NWSL/NCAA success 2013-2019” and “Intrnational success 2023-2024”. The utility of recruiting another US-based gaffer without international expertise seems highly suspect.
The player gap seems much smaller, and the barrier to making changes by instituting an academy-type system seems much higher; AYSO and the NCAA will fight to the last ditch to remain the primary player sources AND can’t turn from a “win now” to a “develop players to win later” approach they’d need to if they’re to take an academy role.
So is Vlatko the new coach of KC now that he’s handed in his resignation?
Coupla thoughts on AUS-ENG:
It wasn’t really pretty. Ninety-plus of “someone hits a banger from distance” mixed with “huck a long ball up to our striker and hope for something” Route One. Buildup? Who needs that shit?
And given that…I’m kind of irked that it forces me to get behind a Spain win because a) they play a more entertaining game despite b) Vilda being a horse’s ass.
a.e.t. - rough work from former Thorn Ellie Carpenter on England’s second. Ouch.
Props to the Matildathorns for advancing.
Now, go win the whole damn thing.
Outside of England, Spain, Sweden, and possibly their diasporas, the whole world HAS to be rooting for you!
What a disappointing match. Japan had their first poor showing at the worst time, and their first half was awful. Sweden's opening goal was basically good fortune, but Japan could have cleared it faster. The Nadeshiko were much better in the second, but also desperately unlucky with that bounce that resulted in a handball. Comeback fell short, and additional bad luck included hitting the crossbar on a pk. Still the best team in the tournament (by a lot) in terms of overall play, and they'll be monsters going forward as the young players move into their prime.
There aren't really any teams I care that much about about left. I'll still follow it - it's the World Cup, after all - but won't be staying up for it after this.
Hina with the start! Hina with the start!! LFGGGGG!!
Oh, I so hope that trash-talking becomes a real part of WoSo. Not just on the pitch, but into the microphones and on the X-Twitter!
Here's Sydney Leroux's comeback to Beerensteyn, after the Dutch lost to Spain:
"One thing we've learned is wait to talk shit until after you're on the podium with a gold medal because now ... you're bye too."
Insert golf clap AND mouth pop!!!
World Power Rankings!!!
(5) Netherlands - van de Donk out for Spain
(6) England - James out for Colombia (and Australia/France if they get that far)
(7) Australia - will be higher if Kerr is healthy for France
That said, here are my picks for quarterfinal matchups:
Japan v Sweden => Japan
Netherlands v Spain => Spain
Australia v France => France
England v Colombia => England
Markgraf out. Not surprsing.
Here's a head-scratcher: Is it possible, at the international level, to have a coach whom the players love off the field and perform to peak on the field?
Nobody is faulting Vlatko for his relationship with the players. So, clearly that's not a team chemistry or player mindset problem.
I don't know that players are going to be too eager for a return to Jill Ellis, and Caitlin Murray lists that as an option worth considering.
Personally, I think the chemistry problem is part injuries, party we're-in-transition. There's more too it, sure, but I think it's important not to overcomplicate this.
As to the player mindset problem (which is what Caitlin Murray called it in her ESPN piece), I think that has much more to do with the enormous pressure weighing down the team and individual players going into the WWC. Hard to play with joy (and looseness) when everything is telling you that anything less than a semifinal appearance is a disaster and not winning the Cup is a failure.
Potential for top 3 euro finish. Pulling for Oz even though I like Sweden. Too much for one continent.
Not caring much about the final. Sort of want Spain but the culinary challenged will probably take it. If Spain does win Japan can take solace of being the only team to beat them. Handily at that.
Very curious how our Thons will return and how their WC play will translate back to club play. While some teams did better than others, unfortunately I don't think any of our Thorns individually had good tournaments....hopefully our biggest game changers here at the Thorns aren't totally demoralized and will be able to come back focused and ready to compete for the last half of the season. The table is so tight, and there's not a lot of room for more hiccups. Unfortunately...Norrisball still persists here...
Our next 2 games (Aug 20th-H vs. NCC and Aug 27th-A vs. Spirit) are both against top table opponents, and it's gonna be a very tall task if we don't have Hina, Dunn, or Smith back. O'Sullivan has been back with NCC, and I'm pretty sure there was a picture of Emily Fox back with the team yesterday also.
Now just how else do you propose paying for all those gaudy internationals the club landed this year, plus the new all-grass training center, hmmmm? Price increases, to victory!
Money does not grow on trees. [Weyerhaeuser executive: whisper, whisper] Uh, I've been told that money does, in fact grow on trees, or at least inside them.