Julie Ertz

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USWNT dominate FIFA’s best player, coach award nominees

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The two-time reigning World Cup champions understandably lead the way in terms of nominees for FIFA’s top awards.

Four USWNT players have been nominated to be crowned the best women’s player on the planet over the past 12 months, while Jill Ellis (who announced yesterday she will depart in October) has been nominated for the best coach in the female game.

Julie Ertz, Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle and Alex Morgan are the four nominees from the USWNT, as the list of 12 nominees takes into account performances from 25 May 2018 to 7 July 2019. Rapinoe was named the best player at the 2019 World Cup, while Lavelle was named the third best overall as the U.S. secured back-to-back titles under Ellis.

Ellis is the favorite to win the Coach of the Year award in the women’s game, while Phil Neville of England is also a leading contender along with Reynald Pedros of Lyon among the 10 nominees. NC Courage head coach Paul Riley is also nominated, and he is one of the leading contenders to replace Ellis as the new USWNT head coach.

Ada Hegerberg, who won the award last year, is once again nominated despite her ongoing dispute with the Norwegian FA which saw the Lyon star miss out on the World Cup, while Norway’s Caroline Graham Hansen is included, with England’s Lucy Bronze (who was named the second best player at the 2019 World Cup) and Ellen White, Australia’s Sam Kerr, plus Dutch star Vivianne Miedema and French duo Wendi Renard and Amandine Henry.

Rapinoe is the favorite given her superb displays at the 2019 World Cup, but the likes of Hegerberg, Renard and Bronze will be right up there as they’ve been stars for the all conquering Lyon in the club game.

Below is the list of the nominees for the player and coach of the year award, which will be announced at FIFA’s ceremony in Milan on Sept. 23.

FIFA Best Player of the Year nominees

Lucy Bronze – Lyon and England
Julie Ertz – Chicago Red Stars and USWNT
Caroline Graham Hansen – Wolfsburg (now Barcelona) and Norway
Ada Hegerberg – Lyon and Norway
Amandine Henry – Lyon and France
Sam Kerr – Chicago Red Stars and Australia
Rose Lavelle – Washington Spirit and USWNT
Vivianne Miedema – Arsenal and Netherlands
Alex Morgan – Orlando Pride and USWNT
Megan Rapinoe – Seattle Reigns and USWNT
Wendie Renard – Lyon and France
Ellen White – Manchester City and England

FIFA Best Coach of the Year nominees

Melina Bertolini – Italy
Jill Ellis – USA
Peter Gerhardsson – Sweden
Futoshi Ikeda – Japan U20
Antonia Is – Spain U17
Joe Montemurro – Arsenal
Phil Neville – England
Reynald Pedros – Lyon
Paul Riley – NC Courage
Sarina Wiegman – Netherlands

PST’s Women’s World Cup Best XI

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The Women’s World Cup concluded its best run yet with the United States women’s national team’s 2-0 defeat of the Netherlands on Sunday, the fourth title and second-successive World Cup for the ladies of the red, white, and blue.

There will be temptations from some to give the USWNT approximately 11 out of 11 spots on a Best XI, but let’s face it: The best team didn’t often have its best game during its unbeaten run through France.

[ MORE: What we learned about the USMNT this summer ]

Some are no-doubters: Having this team without Julie Ertz or Kelley O’Hara would be criminal. But there are a lot of tough decisions here.

Should a quarterfinalist get a player on the XI, given that France lost to the champions in a brutal draw? How many USWNT players should make it? Alex Morgan did all her statistical damage in one match, but did so much that doesn’t show up on the score sheet. And how do we pick three center backs when the best defenders were out wide?

Ultimately, we’re playing a right back out of position because we can, because Julie Ertz is going to clean up a lot of messes, and because this team will never take the field: It’s a post on the Information Superhighway.

Sari van Veenendaal (Netherlands)

O’Hara (USWNT) — Wendie Renard (France) — Lucy Bronze (England)

Kosovare Asllani (Sweden) — Ertz (USWNT) — Rose Lavelle (USWNT) — Sherida Spitse (Netherlands)

Megan Rapinoe (USWNT) — Alex Morgan (USWNT) — Ellen White (England)

This was tough. Who was our most egregious omission?

USWNT holds on to knock off hosts France (video)

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Megan Rapinoe scored twice as the United States reached its eighth-straight Women’s World Cup semifinal with a 2-1 defeat of hosts France in Paris on Friday.

Wendie Renard scored with an 81st minute header for France, her fourth in five matches.

The reigning champions are two wins away from defending their title, and will have to get past England on July 2 in Lyon.

[ MORE: Player ratings | 3 things ]

Sarah Bouhaddi was called into early duty when Megan Rapinoe tracked down a wayward touch and laid off to Julie Ertz for a hard drive.

It was Rapinoe’s free kick that put the U.S. in front, the left winger set up by an Alex Morgan-drawn foul. Her effort bounded through a sea of players but was untouched on its route to goal.

France was in possession for most of the rest of the half, and their passing only met its mark outside the final third. Targeting the Yanks’ left side, Crystal Dunn was busy.

Aside from the lively Rapinoe, Julie Ertz and Becky Sauerbrunn impressed along with the edgy right back performance of Kelley O’Hara.

The Yanks came out of the gates hard, with Bouhaddi making a pair of saves on Sam Mewis and Tobin Heath in the 46th minute.

France had its best chance of the match a dozen minutes later with Alyssa Naeher unable to reach a back post cross but the hosts missing two decent chances to connect for an equalizer.

Naeher leapt to snare a looping header in the 64th minute, just after Jill Ellis brought on Horan to try and break up the French possession.

Rapinoe finished emphatically moments later, Heath’s cross into the box missing Mewis but finding the goal scorer for her brace.

Heath scored to make it 3-0, but the marker never reached the scoreboard thanks to Crystal Dunn being ruled offside. If she was, it was millimeters:

An O’Hara giveaway allowed Amandine Henry to test Naeher in the 78th, but the keeper got low to collect a shot from distance. And Naeher tipped a dangerous Eugenie Le Sommer side volley over the bar within a minute.

Renard got away from Horan to pound a header home in the 82nd to set up a grandstand finish.

O’Hara could’ve conceded a penalty if the handball rules were consistently enforced this tournament, but the call would’ve been harsh.

USWNT player ratings from 2-1 victory vs. France

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The United States women’s national team scored early and rode out France’s second half storm to eliminate the hosts from the 2019 Women’s World Cup and advance to an eighth-straight semifinal.

[ MORE: Match recap | 3 things ]

The back line and keeper Alyssa Naeher were invaluable late, but it was headline-making Megan Rapinoe who made the most of her chances in a 2-1 win.


Starting XI

Alyssa Naeher — 7 — Grew into the game and was very good as the Yanks were under pressure over the final half-hour. Timed her jumps well after missing a big back post cross earlier in the contest.

Crystal Dunn — 7 — Was targeted from the opening stanza, and held her own considering the massive amount of pressure.

Abby Dahlhkemper — 6 — Nothing spectacular, but good enough to get the job done.

Becky Sauerbrunn — 8 — Calm and steady, as always.

Kelley O’Hara — 7 — Brought the edge needed to keep France uneasy. Late giveaway denies her an 8.

Sam Mewis (Off 82′) — 6 — Some sloppy moments, but overall kept pumping for 90 minutes.

Julie Ertz — 8 — If she’s not the most important player on the team, she’s 1B. Another day of cleaning up messes and stopping the spills before they get to mess status.

Rose Lavelle (Off 63′) — 5 — Not much room to operate for a very creative player.

Megan Rapinoe (off 88′) — 8 — Two goals is two goals, but remarkably the headline maker has four goals over her last two matches despite not being at her best. That’s saying something.

Alex Morgan — 6 — Must be dealing with an injury, because she’s essentially been a bystander for two matches. Created space well during her best moments.

Tobin Heath — 7 — Terrific playmaking, and very close to scoring what would’ve been a death knell for France if not for an offside flag.

Substitutes

Lindsey Horan (On 63′) — 6 — Couldn’t keep up with Renard on France’s goal, although Renard is her own argument for zonal marking.

Carli Lloyd (On 82′) — N/A

Christen Press (On 88′) — N/A

Ertz, Morgan expected to recover from injury, play against Spain

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Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz are both expected to play for the U.S. women’s team in its Round of 16 match against Spain despite suffering minor injuries previously in World Cup action.

Ertz was held out of the final group stage match against Sweden with a slight hip injury. Morgan started the game against Sweden but was withdrawn at halftime after taking a kick in the 35th minute from Linda Sembrant. She was struggling somewhat after that, and replaced by Carli Lloyd after the break.

“Alex is fine, JJ is fine,” USWNT head coach Jill Ellis said during her pre-match press conference at Stade Auguste-Delaune, referring to Julie Ertz by her longtime nickname that harkens back to her maiden name Johnston.

Morgan has five goals in the World Cup – all scored in the opener against Thailand – which leads the competition alongside now-eliminated Australia striker Sam Kerr. She was rested against Chile and then played the first half of the Sweden match.

The presence of the veteran duo is an enormous boost for the United States as they look to set up an anticipated quarterfinal match against France. The two own a combined 249 caps for the national team and have been a presence for years in the first-choice squad, both winning awards for their performances. Morgan was CONCACAF Player of the Year in each of 2016, 2017, and 2018 while Ertz was named U.S. Female Soccer Player of the Year in 2017.