Women’s World Cup: Colombia’s upset of France one for the ages in women’s soccer

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The relatively short history of international women’s soccer has yielded precious few dramatic upsets, mostly because the developmental curves have been so skewed they were often quite literally impossible.  And even as we celebrate the parity among most of the 24 teams scattered across Canada for the 2015 World Cup there have been scorelines of 10-0 and 10-1.  Neither of those seemed to be a fluke.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s WWC coverage ]

Saturday afternoon in Moncton though, the world shook.  Colombia, who for much of their opening match against Mexico looked to be the inferior side, pulled off a 2-0 upset of France.  It is the same France team that ran the United States off the park in a friendly earlier this year, and a side many have picked to lift with the trophy on July 5 in Vancouver.  For their part, Colombia had never had a lead at any point during their four prior World Cup matches.  Before the final whistle sounded on this one, opinions were rampant about whether or not we had just witnessed the biggest upset ever in women’s soccer.

Such hot takes can be dangerous and are often clouded by the emotion of the moment.  It can, in fact, take years to properly assess the impact of a specific match or event.  But who really wants to make even a few hours, let alone years? So let’s look back at the two other landmark upsets in international history and examine some similarities and differences.

The one that immediately comes to mind was Japan over Germany in the 2011 quarterfinals.  That was a similar sort of match in that Japan absorbed nearly all of the pressure but a tight, imprecise German team could not find the back of the net.  As it was a knockout match, extra time ensued and Japan’s Karina Maruyama scored in the 108th minute.  It was the only goal of the night.  Germany’s reign as World Cup winners twice over came to a sudden halt.

[ MORE: STUNNER — Colombia upset France, 2-0 ]

That match, of course, was in Germany.  The Germans were hoping to duplicate USA 1999 with massive crowds around the country and a win in the final to culminate the month.  They got the crowds but not the trophy thanks to the tenacious, disciplined play by the Japanese.  Eight days later though, Japan were world champions.  The next year they won silver at the Olympics (Germany missed out on that tournament thanks to the loss to Japan) and after that their first continental championship in Asia.  Does the fact Japan used the match as a springboard to becoming a world power make it less of an upset in retrospect? It probably does, but that Maruyama goal and final whistle were shook the foundation of the sport.

One year earlier the United States lined up against Mexico in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup which doubled as qualifiers to the World Cup.  The semifinal winners booked their trip to Germany while the losers played for 3rd place, the winner of that thrown a lifeline in an intercontinental playoff against a European side.  When Mexico and Canada were drawn in the same group it was believed their group match would be a de facto qualifier as the loser was likely to the face the United States.  Canada drubbed Mexico in that match, 3-0.

[ RELATED: Kassouf: USWNT’s defense the difference thus far at WWC ]

Three days later in Cancun, Mexico played the match of their lives and stunned the United States, 2-1.  The crowd was small but boisterous, and the final score put CONCACAF on its ear and the United States in dissaray.  Even after Mexico lost to Canada again in the final—this time 1-0—the upset over the United States was hailed as a potential changing of the guard in the region.

For their part, the United States easily beat Costa Rica for 3rd place and then eked out a two-leg series against Italy for the final place at the World Cup.  But look what happened in Germany.  Canada and Mexico combined to go 0-5-1 and by the time Japan was shocking the world, they were both back home.  By the time Japan finished the job in penalties against the United States, the qualifying upset was but a distant memory.

[ MORE: Equalizer Soccer’s coverage of 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup ]

So which one of those was the bigger upset? And what of Saturday’s Colombia-France result? The answer may lie in what happens when Group F play concludes Wednesday, and even what happens after that in the knockout round.  Will the loss be the wakeup call that propels France to the title? Or will they stumble again against Mexico? And will Colombia be able to duplicate the performance against England or even in the knockout rounds? Looking ahead, will the ripples make their way to Colombia and persuade the federation to throw more money and energy into the women’s program? (Many of the Colombia players work full-time jobs outside soccer.)

For me Japan over Germany remains the gold standard because of its sudden and immediate impact on that tournament.  Mexico over the United States was clearly an intersection of many favorable circumstances to the winner, and the programs have spaced out again since then.  Colombia over France? A shocker for sure.  The coming weeks and years will continue to tell its narrative.

Manchester United vs Leeds, live! Score, updates, how to watch, stream, videos

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Manchester United welcomes Leeds to Old Trafford on Wednesday as a stung foe heads to Manchester days after a managerial change (watch live, 3pm ET on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com).

Leeds fired Jesse Marsch on Monday, and fellow American boss Chris Armas will be among the men guiding the club as it seeks a new boss and a way out of the relegation scrap.

Marsch helped Leeds bound out of the bottom three last season but the club has struggled of late and enters this Premier League midweek match in 17th only by virtue of tiebreakers.

STREAM LIVE MANCHESTER UNITED vs LEEDS

Man United, meanwhile, has won four-straight across all competitions ahead of two-straight matches against Leeds (the second, at Elland Road, is Sunday).

The Red Devils can pull level with second-place Man City on points with a win on Tuesday

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Manchester United vs Leeds.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Manchester United vs Leeds live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3pm ET, Wednesday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & star players

Marcus Rashford had scored in six of United’s last seven Premier League matches and he’s zipped up the PL goals list as one of just six players with at least 10 goals this season.

One player Rashford is likely to pass is fellow 10-goal man Rodrigo, who will not play for Leeds. The visitors will be looking to new signings Georginio Rutter and Weston McKennie to help lead the way, while Wilfried Gnonto and Jack Harrison seem likely to keep pestering opponents with pace.


Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Antony (lower leg). OUT: Mason Greenwood (suspension), Anthony Martial (undisclosed), Scott McTominay (other), Casemiro (suspension), Christian Eriksen (ankle), Donny van de Beek (knee)

Leeds team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Sonny Perkins (ankle). OUT: Stuart Dallas (thigh), Adam Forshaw (groin), Archie Gray (ankle), Rodrigo (ankle/foot)

Premier League table, 2022-23 season

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If it’s the 2022-23 Premier League table you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

After the break for the 2022 World Cup, the Premier League is back with a bang and the start to 2023 has delivered plenty of fun.


Who’s looking like title contenders and/or favorites?

Almost at the halfway mark of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal and Manchester City are looking head and shoulders above the rest though Newcastle is not going away and Manchester United has surged into contention.

The Gunners will have their hands full for the duration of their title challenge, as Erling Haaland continues to take the Premier League by storm with an almost impossible goal-scoring record.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Uneven Tottenham are hanging in the top four battle, while Liverpool is struggling to stay in the Champions League scrap. Chelsea has some work to do while surprising Fulham, Brentford and Brighton are hanging around on the periphery with fine campaigns.


Who are the candidates for relegation?

Everton, Bournemouth, and Southampton currently occupy the relegation places.

But Leicester, West Ham, Wolves, and Leeds all find themselves within a few points of the bottom three after a topsy-turvy season so far.

Below you will find the latest Premier League table.


Premier League table – February 5

Premier League schedule
NBC’s Premier League scoreboard page


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Southampton vs Wolves: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Southampton host Wolves in a huge relegation six-pointer in the Premier League and all of the pressure is on the hosts.

STREAM LIVE SOUTHAMPTON vs WOLVES

After a dreadful run of form which has seen new manager Nathan Jones lose six of his first seven Premier League games in charge, including a 3-0 drubbing at Brentford last week, Southampton sit bottom of the table. However, they are just three points from safety and badly need a win to unite their fanbase, players and coaching staff.

Wolves are looking so much better under new manager Julen Lopetegui as they hammered Liverpool 3-0 last time out to move further away from the bottom three. Lopetegui has won three of his six Premier League games in charge but they remain just two points off the relegation zone.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Here’s everything you need for Southampton vs Wolves.


How to watch Southampton vs Wolves live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & in-form players to watch

Saints are in freefall and if they lose this game it feels like Nathan Jones will lose his job. The Welsh coach went on a bizarre rant following their shellacking at Brentford and said he has pandered to others and hasn’t done his job properly ever since he arrived at Southampton in November. The owners are backing him, for now, but in midweek they admitted results have to improve. After spending big on deadline day to bring in forwards Paul Onuachu and Kamaldeen Sulemana, now is the time for Southampton to drag themselves off the bottom. If not, they could have a third manager of the season very soon.

Wolves were brilliant against Liverpool and have found a great system for the players they have with the 4-4-2 working wonders. Lopetegui is famed for having a solid foundation defensively but the big change has been Wolves being much better on the counter and finally finishing off chances. After bringing in Sarabia, Cunha, Lemina and Dawson in January they have added experience and quality in key areas and it seems to have given the entire club a lift.


Southampton team news, injuries, lineup options

Kyle Walker-Peters should be fully fit after a recent hamstring issue, while Alex McCarthy remains a doubt and Valentino Livramento and Juan Larios are definitely out. Onuachu and Sulemana should start, while Nathan Jones has favored a 3-5-2 formation in recent weeks so it will be intriguing to see if he persists with that despite fan unrest towards his tactics.

Wolves team news, injuries, lineup options

Chiquinho, Sasa Kalajdzic and Boubacar Traore remain out, while Pedro Neto will miss this game. Mario Lemina is a doubt, while Hwang Hee-chan is out after suffering a thigh injury. Adama Traore, Daniel Podence and Joao Moutinho could come into the starting lineup given these injuries.



 

West Ham vs Chelsea: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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West Ham host Chelsea on Saturday in a massive London derby as both teams aim to kick-start their respective campaigns.

STREAM LIVE WEST HAM vs CHELSEA

The Hammers have improved in recent weeks as they beat Everton and drew at Newcastle last time out. David Moyes’ men are still hovering just above the relegation zone but it looks like they will now kick on in the second half of the season and they usually fare well against their bitter London rivals Chelsea.

As for the Blues, they have won just once in their last six Premier League games but they are becoming very tough to beat, and score against, under Graham Potter. Three shutouts in a row have them on a three-game unbeaten run and now they have all of their January additions on board, expect Chelsea to climb closer to the top four.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Here’s everything you need for West Ham vs Chelsea.


How to watch West Ham vs Chelsea live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 7:30am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & in-form players to watch

The Hammers are slowly getting back to their best and Nayef Aguerd has been in fine form at center back and is now fully fit after arriving in the summer. Jarrod Bowen, Lucas Paqueta and Michail Antonio have been among the goals in recent games and there is a menacing look to West Ham on the counter.

Chelsea’s new signing Enzo Fernandez made a great impact on his debut against Fulham last time out, while Badiashile has also impressed at center back, while Mudryk and Madueke are both getting up to speed on the wing. Joao Felix will finally be available again after he missed the last three games due to his red card on debut.


West Ham team news, injuries, lineup options

Kurt Zouma (thigh) and Maxwel Cornet (calf) remain out, while Gianluca Scamacca is battling back from a knee injury. Alphonse Areola and Thilo Kehrer are struggling with hamstring issues. It will be intriguing to see if Moyes starts with January signing Danny Ings up top in this game or if he continues with Michail Antonio as the focal point.

Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup options

N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic and Armando Broja remain out, while Wesley Fofana and Mateo Kovacic are close to being available. Denis Zakaria and Edouard Mendy are out too, but Joao Felix is back from suspension which gives Potter a very lively option up top and it would be no surprise if the Portuguese stars starts this game.