FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011 quarter finals

We still haven’t managed to come completely down from this Saturday afternoon in front of the TV.

Nope, we definitively don’t want to promote wasting away in front of a TV for an extended period of time, and we certainly don’t do it ourselves – unless we have a hunch that something exciting is bound to happen.

It did, it was nail bitingly suspenseful, and it took way longer than it normally does, but at the end of the 2 matches played today we where through so much of thrilling suspense that we where almost half as exhausted as the 4 teams players must have been.

But let’s start at the first match, our favorites played in it, France. Their opponents no less than the British girls. Just by the sound of this pairing we kind of feared it could be a tactical match with few goals to cheer, and we where right about the few goals, but tactical, nope, they where playing hard all the way.
At this point we also observed a noticeable difference between men playing football and these women. Women play fairer we’d say!
And, that referee, a gal from Sweden, but to us she looked like a native of the Himalayas, never seen a male referee controlling a game of such importance with nothing but smiles and fairness to the left and to the right, one must wonder why (par example) the Women’s Bundesliga has an average attendance of 900 spectators – while the men’s Bundesliga must have something like 50 000 or even more.

Well, we assume this has to do with the fact that – after all – men invented this sport for men, and have played it since ages and eventually turned it into the worlds most played, most popular sport of all – and only than women wanted to play it too.
So it is probably fair to expect that they must first proof they can play this game, than that they can play great competitive matches and excite larger and larger numbers of spectators.
We think the event in Germany is going to help that part of their evolution along a great deal.

All we wanted out of the match France vs. England was that the French would play more of their exiting game and win, so we could watch some more matches with them playing – and, mind you, these “soccer gals” are mostly not looking like your usual pin-up girl, most of them are to athletic built to have to much of that feminine touch about them, besides of that they do play hard, and the only beauty award they can get is for a really nice pass – yet, the French girls look just a tad better than the rest of them, and, like it or not, but if men go to watch girls play soccer, they will filter in the woman’s look.

Back to the kicking though. The French girls really did play great football again, but we all know about the general strength of the Brits, rational, physically strong, and always dangerous on counter attacks and the like. And exactly that’s what came into play, the French played and pressed for that all important leading goal – but the Brits got it!
From than on in things got very frantic, we forgot our ice cream over it, our fingers started to hurt under the nails, until finally the French scored their well deserved goal as well. The ending could not have been written more dramatic by A. Hitchcock himself. Penalty shooting! The French had the first one – and missed to score, ohje, the end of our world was nearing rapidly… But, the other 4 French girls all sunk their ball in the net like serious pro’s – while it was eventually the Brits that lost their calm and with it failed to score on 2 occasions.

That extra time playing completely bridged the gap to the start of the second match of the day, Germany vs. Japan. Since the first match went on for more than 2 hours already we kind of asked ourselves if we shouldn’t skip this one as it was more or less a given that the German’s would win this one easily, after all, they worked so hard in the first round to beat the French girls just so they would have the easy task of playing against the Japanese girls.

We stayed on to check out what unfolds, ready to move on and do something more productive, but after some 20 minutes into the game we realized that things where completely not as they where predicted. These Japanese girls looked somewhat tiny next to the German girls, but they where playing better football (what on Earth has happened to our world, an Asian team playing better than a European team??) But, yes, the question whether we should move on vanished away really quickly after we got the message, it almost looked to us as if the Japanese girls learned from the Spanish men how to posses the ball, passing it around very quickly and diligently, and they where for sure a complete match to the German’s on technical skills.
After more or less dominating the first half, but neither team scoring a goal, the Japanese girls came under big pressure in the second half. If anyone of you is familiar with the classics of the German mans side on World Championships in the past, and how they used to often look like the losers after the first 60 or so minutes of the match, but than started to completely dominate and outplay their opponents with so much pressure that they eventually still made their needed winning goals just before the final whistle blow – the German girls started to put up pretty much exactly the same type of game and pressure on the Japanese. The tension was rising and rising, but the Japanese girls hung in there, literally playing their hearts out.
After regular match time the game went into extra time and the German girls worked up some real sweat, kept on pressing and pressing for that winning goal – yet, the little Lion hearth’s from Japan never gave in – and, just less than 10 minutes before the end of the game they did it out of the blue. One nice little counter attack, one player giving her very last bit of strength, effort and focus – and she shot that golden goal, just clean and professionally done, under all the endured pressure, hats off please!

We can’t help it, but we are already looking forward to see yet another match with the two winning teams of today!

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