France U.S. Italy and Netherlands Advance in FIFA World Cup Action

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Play in France, play until France wins.

That would seem to be the conclusion our distant and ill-informed perspective supplies when we see that Les Bleues beat Brazil 2 -1 with a redirect goal by France captain Amandine Henry from Amel Majri’s free kick in the 107th minute.

After the game, France coach Corinne Diacre was critical of her squad, saying, “We weren’t at our best.”

Those of us who never played much football, but raised some kids who did participate, thought Diacre’s statement a bit over the top, as our experience was that everyone got a trophy, a certificate and yummy snacks after the game.

Supportive coaches are brushed aside at a certain point, though, and participation no longer earns any recognition.

The win by Les Bleues, coupled by that of the U.S. over Spain with an identical 2 -1 score has now set up a blockbuster match between the U.S. and the hosts.

More than a little has been said about the draw, which had three of the world’s top teams in one bracket, while Germany was in the other, left alone to coast along into the final matches.

The France – U.S. match is one of the quarterfinals, but it will have a finals feel to it, such that U.S. coach Jill Ellis was moved to say, “I truly believe this is the world game for women, and so what a showcase piece. I’m sure a lot of people would like it later in the tournament, but it is what it is.”

Ellis should be the first to have equal pay, as that statement was the equivalent, nay, the superior, to any coach-speak we have heard coming from any male coach’s mouth.

Italy is through to the quarterfinals following a 2 – 0 win over China, while Japan is out following a 2 – 1 game decided on a penalty for a handball charge on Saki Kumagi.

Kumagi copped to the charge, admitting, “It had my hand for sure. It’s difficult to accept but it’s also sad. I know this is football.”

Might have lost something in translation.

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