July 10, the USA will face Brazil and five-time FIFA Player of the Year Marta in 2011 World Cup quarterfinals in Dresden, Germany. Given Saturday’s upsets which featured Japan eliminating reigning World Cup champion and host nation Germany and then France overthrowing England, the storyline is that young women’s soccer nations have caught up to the powerhouse nations.
USA-Brazil could continue that trend. Although Brazil only prepared for the World Cup with three friendlies, they’ve improved their game with each match and absorbed the pressure gracefully. The USA will have to play smart to counter Brazil’s technical, tricky game, but could successfully exploit them early with their organization and strength.
Brazil finished first in Group D with three wins, seven goals and no goals allowed. The USA finished second in Group C, behind Sweden, with two wins, one loss, six goals and two goals allowed. The loss was the USA’s first-ever in World Cup group play.
Brazil’s Marta, Rosana and Cristiane have each scored two goals apiece and the USA’s goals have all come from different players.
The USA hasn’t played Brazil since the 2008 Olympic final in Beijing, but the two teams have met 27 times overall and seven times in 2007 and 2008. Eight players from Brazil’s Women’s World Cup roster have experience in WPS, where all the U.S. Women’s National Team players, except for Ali Krieger, hone their skills.
The winner of the USA-Brazil quarterfinal will play France in a semfinal. Japan will play the winner of the Sweden-Australia quarterfinal in a semifinal. The semifinals are on July 13, the third place match is on JUly 16, and the Championship final is on July 17.
Click here for FIFA World Cup schedule and group results.
USA-Brazil kicks off at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN, ESPN3.com and Galavision with the ESPN pre-game show beginning at 11:00.
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