Olympic Soccer - Japan 2020 (2021) and Copa Libertadores

Discussion in 'Sports' started by CenterField, Jul 22, 2021.

  1. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    I wouldn't trust a whole lot what Hope has to say. She is very personality-disordered and a toxic person. She had fights with her teammates and now she is up for revenge. You can't really fault this group. They have nothing to prove. They are WC Winners and Olympic Gold Medalists. But no team is forever. Soccer is not a sport that is kind to people over 30, and all the great players are now past this age, so, yes, they suffered from the heat, the number of games, and the need to compete with much younger and hungrier young players in other teams. So, they finally bowed out, after a long past period of dominance. I think it's disgraceful that Hope is not willing to acknowledge the past greatness of this team, but of course, as they age, that greatness is not there any longer.

    But yes, the disgraceful display of the USA vs. Australia group phase game, had an interesting follow-up in the the fact that then both teams lost the semifinals.
     
  2. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    I said the above before reading her words. I read them now, and again, I don't buy it. You know, Solo hates the USSF, and she ran for president of the federation and lost. Her teammates were sick and tired of her. So now she throws in her little poison, disguised as concern, but they are actually little backstabbing jabs. I wouldn't be surprised if Hope were rooting for this team to fail. And she probably didn't like the fact that many people thought that Alyssa Naher is better than she was. By the way, Naher's injury may have cost us. Maybe we'd have stopped that penalty if Alyssa had not left with an injury.
     
  3. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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  4. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    We're all aware of Hope's checkered history and she's definitely a controversial and polarizing figure, in large part because she is so outspoken, and while I am inclined to take anything she says - particularly criticism of the team, coaches, management, the USSF, etc. - with a grain of salt I'm not prepared to go so far as to believe she that she would root against her country and her former teammates. As far as the USSF is concerned, she's hardly the only player who is at odds with the Federation - the entire team, including its most popular stars, Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd and Meghan Rapinoe, have sued the USSF for discriminating against the women in their ongoing pay dispute (I'm not going to wade into the merits of their case here). Furthermore, I don't know what Hope would have against Vlatko Andonovski since Jill Ellis was coach when Solo was terminated. Finally, I'm going to refer back to these comments which included some self-criticism:

    Solo isn't the only person talking about the culture of the USWNT right now, either:

    I doubt I'm going to get up at 4am tomorrow to see what's wrong with this team with my own two eyes, but it would be interesting to see if they've got the problems that Solo, Horan and myself are talking about. From everything I've read, including your own observations, I can't help but question the mentality and leadership of the team on the field and the sidelines.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2021
  5. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    Fair enough. Maybe I knee-jerked when Hope started badmouthing staff again, since it's one of her hallmarks... always bashing other people. Like I said, she is personality disordered. Which is a pity. A talented goalkeeper and a beautiful woman... why did she need to be so f......d up???

    But yes, regardless of her checkered past, maybe this time she has a point. I'm not entirely sure, though. The girls had a lot of fight in them when they played the Netherlands... but then, they were flat against Canada. I think they were exhausted. Like I said, they are getting old.

    PS, by the way, I'm not up at 4 AM to watch the team either... I simply DVR the games, avoid spoilers by not logging into the Internet, and I watch the games when I get home after work. Given that my wife hates sports and is oblivious to what is going on in the world of sports, I don't risk any spoilers at home... and at work I avoid the watercooler (including because of the pandemic, haha) and generally get so busy that there isn't much time to learn about the result before I can go home and watch the recorded event.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2021
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  6. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I know what ya mean, and her f***ed up childhood explains a lot - it made Hope everything we admire and shake our heads about. Not that she needs my pity but I feel bad for her. That's a tough thing for anyone to have to overcome...

    They are getting a bit long in the tooth but I heard their younger players didn't step up, which I found surprising because they impressed me during the WC two years ago.

    I was thinking the other day that the USWNT and the USMNT may be heading in opposite directions right now. I'm just glad the men have gotten things turned around and have a bright future ahead of them. It was frustrating watching the disappointing teams before them.

    Unfortunately, I don't have a DVR, but I do have a cat that likes to wake us up around 3:30-4am every morning, so I may let him get me out of bed tomorrow. My two favorite players Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz might make it to the next WC in 2023, but with Carli Lloyd and others heading towards retirement the game against Australia is going to be the end of an era.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2021
  7. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    Sure thing. You are right.
    Yes, but then, it may very well be what Hope was saying... the young ones look at their elders... see them flat... get discouraged too.
    Absolutely. I much prefer the men's side of the game - more power, more skill. Again, that's not a sexist comment because I love to watch the women perform in other sports where they are very good, such as tennis, beach volleyball... but soccer, not so much. I will always support our teams regardless of gender, but I just find the men's game much more exciting, so the girls doing well was surely a consolation, but not a great consolation for the mediocre and frustrating performances of the USMNT. Now... it's a totally different story. I think we will qualify for Qatar and will actually do well there (I'm not talking championship yet; we're not there yet, but I think it's not excluded that we'll have a deep run) because now we have youth, depth, stamina, and talent. The best talent we've ever had, I think. Even with some great players of the past like Dempsey and Donovan, if you look at the whole team, our teams were very limited with a few bright spots, while now the talent is much more widespread.
    You'll be sad to notice that Alex Morgan is not the same any longer... she's been a very pale figure in this tournament. While a bit younger than Carli, she is also getting a bit long in the tooth.
     
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  8. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Good point, and while the youngsters have some good players to look up to they don't have a legend to look up to like the older players had in Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm before them.

    I'm with ya 100% and I think it's natural - especially if you're a former player like we are - to be partial to your own sex's team and style of play. I've always rooted for the USWNT and there are things I really like about the women's game but like yourself I prefer the men's game. Conversely, I'm sure there are women who feel the same way and I don't hold that against them - in fact I'd be more surprised if they weren't partial towards their own sex's team and style of play. Perhaps, it is a bit sexist, but it's not like the guys hate girls and vice versa - we still support and root for one another.

    I definitely would be sad to notice that, and I think Alex is 32 now, so she is past her prime. So are a lot of the other forwards on this team, which partially explains their struggles. Oh well, it looks like the girls may have to go through the same rebuilding pains as the boys have done.
     
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  9. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Not that I'll be watching, but I just saw the new times for the gold medal games:

    Women: Canada vs. Sweden, Friday 8am Eastern Time

    Men: Brazil vs. Spain, Saturday 7:30am ET

    Both games will be broadcast live on the USA Network
     
  10. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Just watched a bit of the Canada-Sweden match and that's 10 minutes of my life I'll never get back. That was some of the worst soccer I've ever seen. :x

    To think the USWNT lost to both of those teams (and badly to Sweden)..... :gun::headache:
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2021
  11. Montegriffo

    Montegriffo Well-Known Member

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    The penalties were particularly poor.
    5 goals in 12 attempts.
     
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  12. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    Men's gold medal match, a good game! Wild, with lots of back and forth. Brazil missed a penalty in regulation; Richarlison kicked the ball above the crossbar. Then they scored a beautiful goal by Cunha, in stoppage time of first half. Richarlison also almost scored when he was alone in front of the Spanish goalie, who was able to deflect the shot to his own post. Also, Brazil almost scored an own goal but the same player who sent the ball towards his own goal, recovered and saved it at the line. Wild stuff!! Then, after having managed only one short on target in the first half, in second half Spain came back better and scored a beautiful goal, and sent two more balls to the crossbar. Brazil had a couple of less impressive opportunities but didn't play as well as in first half. 1-1 in regulation, a fair result for what the two teams showed, each playing better than the other in one half of the game.

    Then the contest went to extra time, and Brazil resumed being very dominant, pressuring Spain relentlessly with a series of consecutive corners and near scores. Then, a tired Cunha was subbed out in favor of Malcolm, who came in with fresh legs and lots of speed, which allowed him to run past the Spanish defender in a breakthrough, and score a beautiful winner at around the 110 minutes mark. For the last 10 minutes, with the 2-1 advantage, Brazil fell back into defense, and the Spaniards of course pressured but in a disorganized and ineffective way, and the Brazilian defenders were able to clear every attempt relatively easy. End of extra time, Brazil 2-1, and they won their second consecutive Olympic gold medal.

    I loved it! It's the cherry on top of a great summer of soccer for me; of the three nations I support, all 3 won major soccer tournaments this summer: Italy won the Euro, the United States won the Gold Cup, and Brazil won the Olympics (after placing second in Copa America).

    It is interesting to see that the Brazilians were extremely emotional once the game ended and they captured the gold medal. They cried profusely, celebrated wildly, and it was incredible to see a veteran like Dani Alves crying non stop, extremely happy with his gold medal (after having won so many titles in his illustrious career), and Richarlison, the top goal scorer of the tournament, was wrapped in a Brazilian flag and crying of joy as well. They were extremely happy with the Olympic gold medal, contradicting the impression that the older professional players don't care for the Olympics.

    Also, this cuts Spain to size a bit. Six of the Spaniard starters were also starters for the senior team that has just played the EURO 2020, while Brazil had only two who played both Copa America and the Olympics and of these, only one starter (Richarlison - big star - and Douglas Luiz, a sub; grandpa Dani Alves was thought to be to old to be called up for Copa America - he was in the Olympics apparently to serve as the captain and leader and calm down the youngsters' nerves - it worked!), and many good Brazilian players who were called up for the Olympics were not released by their teams. So, this was an A Spanish Olympic Team (with more than half of the starters also overlapping with Spain's senior team) playing against a B Brazilian Olympic Team, and the Brazilians still prevailed. This doesn't bode well for Spain's hopes in Qatar, when in addition to the other great European teams, the full force Brazil and the full force Argentina will also be in contention. Of course it's not a direct correlation (because there were still 5 starters in the Spain Olympic Team who are not good enough to also be playing for their senior team), but it's kind of suggestive anyway that a team made of more than half of their senior team can't prevail over a bunch of youngsters + a 38-year-old vet.

    Seeing that Richarlison in this final was only notable for his two big misses (the wasted penalty and the post hit) and he generally didn't play well (unlike in previous games), and Dani Alves was there more for guidance than for actually chasing the ball, effectively Spain played against a B team from Brazil. Still lost. Doesn't bode well for them if they cross path with Brazil's A team in Qatar.
     
  13. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    I also saw a bit of that Canada-Sweden game and like you said, it was so poor that I started fast-forwarding in frustration. I did like the fact that Canada won; they are our North American sisters. Rapinoe said to the Canadians at the end of the semifinal, "now go get that gold medal!" Good sportsmanship!
     
  14. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    Interesting fact: Dani Alves is the winningest player in the whole history of soccer, with 43 titles. He won the Champions League, the Copa America, the Confederations Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup, etc., etc., all sorts of top domestic leagues and national cups... Still, he was in tears with the Olympic Gold - here, embracing his companion Cunha, to whom he sent the assist that resulted in Brazil's first goal of the final:

    [​IMG]

    Then, having some fun with the medal:

    [​IMG]

    That is beautiful. The Olympic spirit! He gave an interview later, saying that he left a lot behind (e.g., his club's two R16 Copa Libertadores matches) to be in Tokyo and was proud to have represented his people, especially while they are going through such a difficult pandemic.
     
  15. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Gawd, that's freakin' awful. I could have watched the PKs but I was so disgusted with what I saw in the second OT period I decided to work in the vegetable garden instead. I think that's the first time I've ever done that...
     
  16. Montegriffo

    Montegriffo Well-Known Member

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    Did you get to see any of the rugby 7s?
    I haven't really watched much of it before but it's a great game.
    They should ditch the soccer and replace it with 5 a side.
     
  17. Montegriffo

    Montegriffo Well-Known Member

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    The USA v GB match was good.
     
  18. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I'm glad to hear the Canucks won but that Turnoverpalooza rekt my taste for women's soccer.

    Fortunately I was able to flush that out of my brain with the Real Madrid-AC Milan friendly, but that match was marred a bit by missed opportunities...

    GAR CRASH: Watch Gareth Bale MISS terrible penalty after Welshman, wearing No 50, fails to impress in Real Madrid pre-season clash
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/15813899/gareth-bale-misses-penalty-real-madrid-vs-ac-milan-friendly/



    Ugh. I guess Modrić should have gotten the kick...
     
  19. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I didn't catch the 7s, but I did watch the fixture between the British & Irish Lions and South Africa which was very entertaining. The Springboks won 19-16.
     
  20. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    I watched that match too. My impressions, from the AC Milan standpoint (I'm a very passionate rossonero).

    Best players for us, Maignan, Theo, and Tomori. Tonali was good in defense but neglected the midfield; not exactly his fault; he had to fall back often to rescue Calabria who didn't have a good game. Calabria was responsible for fouling Gale inside the box. Gale took the penalty kick but Maigan stopped it, after having had three other exceptional saves. We won't be missing Donnarumma much!

    Theo hit the post in a very good offensive action, and played well all over the pitch. Man of the Match in my opinion.

    Leão sucked; wasted several offensive plays. At minute 60 he was subbed out and Rebic came in, and didn't have a good game either. I'm worried about Ante. He seems off; imprecise, losing the ball in one-on-ones... what's wrong with him? Had a terrible Euro. Is he suffering from sort of cognitive sequela of Covid-19? He doesn't seem to be the same player.

    Without much of a midfield, missing Kessié and Bennacer and with Tonali falling back, the offense didn't stand much of a chance... Giroud moved well but our offense didn't seem to understand his fast moves - might be a question of getting more used to playing with him - so he couldn't do much. Brahim had our best opportunity other than Theo's post hit. He curled a ball from outside the box just like Insigne... the ball went perfectly to the upper right corner of the goal, and was a powerful shot too. Should have been a goal in any regular circumstance, but Real's substitute goalie (Lunin I think he's called) produced a miraculous, spectacular save.

    Saelamakers worked hard. Romagnoli actually had a good game until he was subbed out for Kjaer. Krunic was decent but played very isolated.

    Overall, it is clear that we have a very good defense and we actually have some depth in defense. Our midfield when complete is not bad but we don't have that much depth there; without Kessié and Bennacer, we struggled.

    And the offense continues to be a problem. Who will score our goals? We've been very anemic in offense, in this series of pre-season friendlies. It's another thing when Ibra is healthy but this is proving to be a rare occasion so we need a solution for when Ibra is not there, which might be most of the season. I hope that Giroud gets more integrated into this offense and gets more balls once Kessié is the one controlling the midfield.

    The bottom line is, it will be hard to score on us, but it will also be hard for us to score...
     
  21. Talon

    Talon Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    BREAKING: Messi finalizes deal with PSG for a cool $41 million/year:

    Lionel Messi finishes move to Paris Saint-Germain
    Aug 10, 2021, 10:01am CDT
    ...If Pochettino uses a 4-3-3 formation, the front three could see Messi deployed on the right with Neymar on the left and Mbappe between them as the center forward...
    https://chicago.suntimes.com/soccer...el-messi-finishes-move-to-paris-saint-germain

    But Mbappe may be on his way to Real Madrid...
     
  22. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

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    Mbappe feels that with Messi's arrival, the team will be building game strategies that will be adapted to Messi's style, so Mbappe feels he's losing space, can't compete, therefore would be better off elsewhere. I doubt that Mbappe will stay.
     

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