The Women’s World Cup kicked off last night in stunning fashion as the hosts, Germany, won 2-1 over Canada in a match characterized by speed and skill. For my part, I think the USA’s clash with North
Korea tomorrow will have all the same spark and flair as the new style of soccer under coach Pia Sundage bears fruit.
Her style of soccer, which reminds me a lot of the total football system of Arsene Wenger, is fun to watch, and should keep the North Koreans on their toes as they try to overcome the odds against the USA. Look for Hope Solo to move forward from goal when the ball is in the opposite half as Suaerbrunn and the other defenders will play aggressively and try to hold the ball on the North Korean side of the pitch. I expect Abby Wambuch and Lauren Cheney to start upfront and play deep with captain Christine Rampone trying to feed an active midfield form the back. The real question is can this USA women’s jersey clad midfield perform.
The tendency for many of these players seems to be to play a lot soft passes up the sideline as they attempt to walk the ball forward. Since Sundage took over this has gotten better, but when pressed the US midfield has a tendency to fall back on the old ways and I hope for their sake they can hold their nerve and take it to the North Koreans. If they can keep the tempo high, and the passing quick but accurate, they should have no problem opening up the North Korean defense.
As for the North Koreans, little is known about them, and even less has been written. In face, I had a hard time even finding a line-up for the team. The last time they met the US in the Women’s World Cup they drew 2-2 after Heather O’Reilly rescued the match for the USA. The North Koreans will be up for the game, as their is no love lost between these two countries, particularly since the recent shelling of a South Korean island by the DPRK’s army, and pride is a powerful motivator. The North Koreans are a tactical enigma, but what I can say is they tend to play their forwards in close to their midfield and try to score on the break. They’re clinical, and will stick to their formation at all costs. Each player seems to have a sense of duty to their position and looks down right confused with the soccer ball when they are out of it. Hopefully this is something US can exploit.
It should be a tough game, for both sides, and pretty physical if their last encounter is anything to go on, but I think the USA will come out on top.
Prediction: USA 2-1 North Korea (DPRK)
Posted by: Christie, football fashionista, soccerprose.com
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