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

2 Comments

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.

Mourinho comments after leaving Dele Alli out amidst PSG links

Leave a comment

Tottenham Hotspur scored five times in Sunday’s win over Southampton, but Jose Mourinho’s comments after leaving Dele Alli out of the team will have elicited plenty of buzz.

So will rumors that Paris Saint-Germain is among the clubs seeking the English attacker’s signature.

[ RECAP: Southampton 2-5 Spurs ]

Saying “I want a balanced squad” and that he has too many forwards to dress right now — yes, even before Gareth Bale suits up — Mourinho explained his thoughts on the forward.

From Football.London:

“I’m not responsible for the market. I’m not able to answer your question on that. I can only say I left eight players behind training. They are a big group and Dele was among this group. The same way a squad is a puzzle and in the same way so is the bench. I cannot have three wingers and a number 10 and then no defender. Dele stayed out but probably Tuesday he will play.”

Journalist Fabrizio Romano reported that Spurs have been trying to offload Dele over the past few days and that Real Madrid did not want to take him on loan as part of the Gareth Bale deal.

The 24-year-old was hooked at halftime of Tottenham’s season-opening loss to Everton and has cooled off considerably since an early rejuvenation under Mourinho last season.

Dele has 62 goals and 55 assists in 223 appearances for Spurs, but just 16 and 14 in his last 77 dating back to the start of the 2018-19 season.

The knock on Dele has been that he’s a poor trainer, something the player laughed off when Mourinho pointed it out with a smirk during a meeting caught by cameras during the club’s “All Or Nothing” series.

Dele has three goals and six assists in 37 England caps and would still fetch a decent transfer fee, though he hasn’t appeared for the Three Lions since 2019.

Is it time to sell? Spurs run the risk that Dele’s value may never quite rebound anywhere near its heights and could dip quite a bit lower if he stays out of favor in North London. And Bale’s salary isn’t going to pay itself.

USMNT forward Gooch crafts long solo goal for Sunderland (video)

Lynden Gooch goal video
Photo by Leila Coker/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Former Premier League mainstay Sunderland is still toiling away in League One, but American forward Lynden Gooch enjoyed the competition on Saturday.

The Californian, 24, is a Black Cats lifer having joined the club at age 17 in 2012. He’s stuck with the club despite two relegations after his 11-appearance Premier League run in 2016-17.

[ MORE: Reyna gets first Bundesliga goal ]

Gooch came off the bench with Sunderland up 1-0 and delivering the second goal of the game within four minutes of his entrance.

There was some comical defending on the play, though we’d like to say the American bewitched Oxford United with his 20th senior goal for Sunderland to go with 17 assists in 126 outings.

Sunderland drew Bristol Rovers in its league opener and sit fifth on the table.

Gooch has made four substitute appearances for the USMNT but none since 2018.

Son, Kane team up four times in Spurs’ big win over Southampton

Southampton - Tottenham Hotspur
Photo by Andrew Boyers - Pool/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Southampton – Tottenham: Heung-min Son and Harry Kane beat Southampton by four on Sunday at St. Mary’s.

Okay, okay — Kane’s goal and four assists to Son joined some early goalkeeping heroics from Hugo Lloris to do the thing for Tottenham Hotspur and give Jose Mourinho a 5-2 win over Saints.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ] 

Danny Ings opened the scoring and completed it with a 90th-minute penalty to account for both of Southampton’s goals.

Tottenham’s first win of the season had plenty of sluggish moments after a Thursday trip to Bulgaria and Ralph Hasenhuttl had Saints firing early before petering out to lose a second match to start the PL season.

Saints go to Burnley next while Tottenham hosts Newcastle after a Tuesday outing at Leyton Orient in the League Cup and a UEL trip to Macedonia to meet Shkendija on Thursday.


Three things we learned from Southampton – Tottenham

1. Spurs carried by Lloris, clinical forwards: Tottenham had just one shot on target in the first half as offside denied both teams several goals and Hugo Lloris made some fantastic saves to deny Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men a halftime advantage. Kane’s assists to Son were just as good as the South Korean’s technical finishes, Spurs inviting fans to daydream of the star duo being joined in attack by Gareth Bale next month.

2. Kane-DB: Harry Kane channeled Man City star Kevin De Bruyne with his four assists, all of them pretty fantastic. There were two “no-look” huge crosses to go with some terrific hold-up play and flicks in the midfield. Kane had 3, 4, and 2 assists in the three PL seasons since collecting seven assists in his 29-goal 2016-17. He’s on four this season and added goal late.

3. Europa League Thursdays ask a lot: With all due respect to Southampton looking very good after two losses in two competitions, Spurs lagged out of the gates in our first reminder of the season that Europa League travel can suck the life out of legs. Tottenham had to work very hard in Bulgaria on Thursday and it’s difficult not to lay much of that at the feet of the UEL.

Man of the Match

Well it has to be Son, doesn’t it? Even with Kane adding a late goal, the South Korean’s clinical finishing was everything and more to Spurs’ win.


Southampton – Tottenham recap

Spurs had a third-minute goal — a delightful one at that — taken off the board when VAR spotted Heung-min Son offside in the build-up. The goal that would’ve been saw Harry Kane deploy supreme technique to turn and volley into the goal.

Ex-Saints man Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was bladed by teammate Oriol Romeu in the fifth minute, a yellow card welcome back to St. Mary’s.

Hugo Lloris made an outstanding reaction save when a set piece fell for Che Adams near the spot and the Englishman smashed an effort on frame.

Son was offside again when he broke through on goal but saw an odd-angled shot saved by Alex McCarthy.

A third goal came off the board but it was not offside, Lloris sliding to head the ball into the air and onto the arm of Danny Ings before the Englishman finished his chance.

Brilliant dribbling from Moussa Djenepo cued up another Adams chance at the back post and the forward calmly touched to hammer a shot that was blocked by a splayed Ben Davies.

A partially-cleared James Ward-Prowse free kick rolled to Djenepo, who zipped a shot through traffic and off the post. Close.

Kane had another ball in the goal off a Lucas Moura cross but the Brazilian was offside before passing into the box.

Ings got his goal in the 32nd off a long ball from former Spurs man Kyle Walker-Peters, taking advantage of a confused Eric Dier and slashing a shot past Lloris from in-tight.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

A Lloris save on Stuart Armstrong just after halftime led to Tottenham’s second goal, Son running onto a Kane pass for the second time.

The biggest factor in the game was the offside flag, as both Saints and Spurs saw numerous chances rightly called off by the assistant referees.

Son completed his hat trick and Kane’s hat trick of assists in the 64th minute, Spurs carving up Saints to exhibit a flattering score line.

That frayed Saints’ last nerve, and another amazing pass from Kane cued up Son for 4-1. Kane would get another when he followed up substitute Erik Lamela’s 82nd-minute shot off the near post.

Newcastle – Brighton: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

Leave a comment

Newcastle v Brighton: A pair of sides that impressed on the opening weekend of the 2020-21 Premier League season — but only one of them with anything to show for it — will meet at St. James’ Park on Sunday (Watch live at 9 am ET, online via Peacock).

NEWCASTLE – BRIGHTON STREAM LIVE

Newcastle United were far and away the better side in their season-opening victory away to West Ham United last weekend, while Brighton looked the better part of Chelsea’s equals for 54 minutes but ultimately fell to a 3-1 defeat at the Amex Stadium.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Newcastle v Brighton this Sunday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Newcastle v Brighton (INJURY REPORT)

Newcastle will be without five players — Matty Longstaff (thigh), Martin Dubravka (ankle), Fabian Schar (shoulder), Paul Dummett (thigh), Dwight Gayle (knee) — leaving Steve Bruce with an increasingly thin squad, but he’ll be able to trot out the same XI that beat West Ham on Opening Day.

Jose Iquierdo (knee), Florian Andone (knee) and Christian Walton (ankle) have all been ruled out for Sunday, with rising star Ben White passes a late fitness test after picking up a minor injury last week.


What they’re saying

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce, on starting with a win: “I’m like everybody else, we all like to get off to a start and we couldn’t have had a better week in terms of results. The players have hit the ground running, which was always part of the reason why we went after who we went after. We’ve got a chance to get off to an outstanding start.”

Brighton manager Graham Potter, on Newcastle: “Newcastle will be strong. They were worthy winners at West Ham and they will be a tough test for us. Impressive, the business they have done. They have added to the squad and they will be really strong. Everyone knows what Andy Carroll brings to the team and physically he is very strong, and aerially he is strong. Him and [Callum] Wilson will be a strong partnership.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

There’s almost nothing to separate Newcastle (+160) from Brighton (+185) as the oddsmakers see Sunday’s clash a near-tossup. Even the draw (+210) isn’t far out of line with either side winning.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Prediction

At the risk of placing too much importance upon a game in week no. 2, this one has the feel of an important litmus test for Newcastle. West Ham have been chaotic for quite some time now, but Brighton, despite finishing 15th last season, have appeared far more stable and trending upward under Potter. They’re likely a mid-table side this season, and Newcastle could be, too. In the end, it ends Newcastle 1-1 Brighton.


How to watch Newcastle v Brighton stream and start time

Kickoff: 9 am ET Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock