Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Final Practice

The U.S. team held its final training session in China today, running through a light 75-minute session at Beijing Normal University. There was quite a big media turnout, much larger than any of the USA's practice sessions in China, but of course, we haven't been in Beijing much and this is the gold medal game. There was media at training from the USA, Brazil, Germany and yes, Sweden, as Swede Pia Sundhage coaching the USA into the gold medal game against several Brazilians who play in Sweden is quite a bit story up there. After training, the team ate lunch at BNU and then a few players headed out for a bit of shopping or family time. The team is back in the Olympic Village for dinner and the pre-game meeting, then its time to settle down for a good night's sleep. Tomorrow will be another long day as kickoff is not until 9 p.m. local.


JordanCornblog said...

You go, guys. Brazil ain't seen THIS USWNT yet - and they are going to be surprised when they do. Keep up your fabulous work!

drenaud said...

Kudos to the WNT Blog for your great behind the scenes Olympic reporting.

As for the US v Brazil game, the keys for me are:

- Corralling Mart-iane. If you shut down the Brazilian scoring machine, you'll probably win. Whether it's done with compact defense or marking backs, we must control their big threat. The key thing is to keep physical contact with them to disrupt their game. And don't forget Daniela.

- Possession. If Brazil doesn't touch the ball, they can't score, right?

- Pia. She is the perfect coach for this team at this moment. I am confident she can decode Brazil as well as make the right subs. And she may be getting some inside tips from her Sweedish pals.

- Hope Solo. She has been playing great and will be ready. With Brazil, shots on goal can come from anywhere at anytime, so she has to be in position always.

- Carli Lloyd. Champions play great in big games. We need her to have her best game and rattle
Barbara with some rocket shots on frame.

- Ginger Princess. She is not exactly a secret weapon but an attacking defender is a big threat. Her goal against Japan was the best of the tournament.

- Barbara. The Brazilian goalkeeper is young and relatively untested. We need constant pressure on her for 90 minutes.

- Set plays. Brazil is dangerous. When they serve into the goalbox, we need to get physical. When they go to Marta on the short corner, we need to not let her dribble in for the shot. Our set plays have not been productive this tournament. Can we turn that around?

- Counterattack. Brazil is dangerous, just ask Germany. We can't let Mart-iane run free. Never.

- Red cards. We must finish this game with 11 players. These teams don't like each other and are going to mix it up. We must trust the refs to call a fair game. No retaliations. No vendettas.

This game is now beyond winning and losing. Now it's about playing your best soccer for 90 minutes and leaving it all on the field, because you love the game and your team. And because the WNT is "The Greatest Team You've Never Heard Of".

Paul said...

I have been very impressed by the team's play so far in the Olympics.
You all are very deserving of a spot in the finals and I think you will give Brazil a challenge they have not experienced in these yet.
You all have fantastic stamina and are obviously well coached and prepared for these games so just give it your best and I believe that will be enough to add to the "legend" of the US Womens soccer team's wonderful success as the undisputed queens of world soccer.