Women’s Soccer

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Rose Bowl statue honors Brandi Chastain’s ’99 World Cup win

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PASADENA, Calif. (AP) A statue capturing Brandi Chastain’s iconic reaction to scoring the U.S. team’s winning goal in the 1999 Women’s World Cup has been unveiled outside the Rose Bowl.

Chastain was on hand for the unveiling Wednesday, the 20th anniversary of the historic win which coincided with celebrations in New York for this year’s World Cup champion team.

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This year’s the team sealed its second consecutive tournament win by beating the Netherlands 2-0 on Sunday.

The statue shows Chastain at the moment she dropped to her knees in exultation, clutching the jersey she pulled off after cinching the win over China on a penalty kick in the game played at the Rose Bowl.

The moment has been credited as a watershed for invigorating women’s sports.

(AP Photo/John Antczak)

Best Moments of the 2019 Women’s World Cup

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What a tournament.

It’s reasonable to call the 2019 Women’s World Cup the best top-to-bottom showcase of women’s soccer in history, and it’s up there even if it’s not No. 1.

Here are the moments that stood above the pack, and since we’re not going to talk about VAR for a change — and also going to skip complaints about Cameroon’s physicality and American hotel surveying — we’ll keep things short and sweet.

Made-up Marta provides more inspiration

Marta has long been a hero to many young players, but she had three major moments in what could be her last World Cup.

The 33-year-old Brazilian became the all-time World Cup leader for goals and ran her career total to 17, but almost as many people were discussing her choice (two key words there) to wear bright red lipstick on the pitch. Others would follow suit.

But the magical playmaker really stood out in her post-elimination speech begging the girls of the world to dream big.

“The women’s game depends on you to survive,” she said. “Cry in the beginning so you can smile in the end.”

A Baker’s Dozen and Its After-Effects

If there were any questions regarding the USWNT’s desire to bring the proper motivation to defend its World Cup, the Yanks answered emphatically with an opening game 13-0 masterpiece versus Thailand.

Alex Morgan scored five goals. Five!

The storylines that would follow were many. Megan Rapinoe’s leg-pumping celebration came when the Americans put the game to bed three or four times early, and it wasn’t so classy (even if it was understandable. Those aren’t mutually exclusive concepts).

The next match for Thailand, though, saw a more respectable deficit of 4-0 turn into a joyous 4-1, and national team program benefactor Nualphan Lamsam. They finished with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Chile, but this was the moment for them:

We were kinda lying about not mentioning VAR as Argentina stuns, eliminates Scotland

When Erin Cuthbert scored a 69th minute goal to give Scotland a 3-0 lead in its final group stage game, Argentina would’ve been forgiven for climbing into its shell and congratulating Scotland on advancing into the knockout rounds.

That didn’t quite happen, did it? Argentina made it 3-1 five minutes later and got an own goal soon after that to pull to within one.

Stoppage time saw Argentina get a penalty through Video Assistant Referee. Lee Alexander saved the attempt, but was awarded a second when VAR deemed that Alexander left her line too early.

That one was converted, and Scotland went home. Bitter stuff, and the referees didn’t like it either.

Cameroon’s late show extends tournament too knockout rounds

Ajara Nchout scored early in the second half of a must-win match for Cameroon against New Zealand, but both teams looked set to go home early after the Football Ferns leveled the score and couldn’t find a second.

Nchout’s second marker, though, was leeee-git and came deep in stoppage time for one of the most memorable moments in France.

Megan Rapinoe and her pose

Okay, so this one’s easy; When you look back on the name to collect the most headlines at the tournament, what moment stands above the rest for your Golden Boot- and Golden Ball-winning World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe.

And it’s the pose. Here I am: Love me or hate me, I’m getting the job done.

A tournament which saw her create furor with an over-the-top celebration against Thailand before having to deal with a surprising release of unsurprising anti-presidential comments.

Rapinoe and her pink shock of hair were everywhere, and she cemented her status as a world star. What’s next for her is unknown, but what happened this summer won’t be forgotten.

(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

PST’s Women’s World Cup Best XI

AP Photo / David Vincent
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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.

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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?

FIFA: Afghanistan coach’s Infantino criticism ‘unjustified’

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LYON, France (AP) FIFA has denounced “ill-informed and unjustified” criticism of its president, Gianni Infantino, after the coach of the Afghanistan women’s national team called him “disgusting” over the handling of sexual abuse investigations.

At a news conference in Lyon ahead of the Women’s World Cup final, coach Kelly Lindsey demanded Infantino’s departure from FIFA for allegedly not being rigorous enough in pursuing officials in the Afghanistan soccer federation.

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FIFA has so far only sanctioned Keramuudin Karim, who was banned for life from soccer last month for repeated sexual abuse of female players while president of the Afghanistan Football Federation.

But in a statement to The Associated Press, FIFA says it is “carefully looking into allegations levelled against additional persons, and will not hesitate to take appropriate measures and impose sanctions if justified.”

FIFA added that Lindsey “is well aware of these efforts and the support that FIFA has provided and we are surprised and disappointed at her criticism, which we consider to be both ill-informed and unjustified.”

The United States plays the Netherlands in Sunday’s final.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Body recovered is Swiss international Ismaili

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The body of Switzerland women’s national teamer Florijana Ismaili has been found, three days after disappearing while swimming in Italy.

Ismaili entered the Lake Como water on June 30 and never resurfaced, a day after her 24th birthday. Her body was recovered from deep below the surface.

Capped 33 times with three goals for the Swiss, she captained Young Boys’ female team BSC YB Frauen.

The Swiss federation announced her passing.

“The SFV expresses its sincere condolences to the family, relatives and friends of Florijana Ismaili and wishes everyone all the strength in this difficult time.”