Question of the day: How will the U.S. finish in the women's World Cup?
Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss the U.S. team's chances in the women's World Cup. Check back throughout the day for more responses and weigh in with a comment of your own.
Grahame L. Jones, Los Angeles Times
The U.S. has never finished out of the top four in a world championship. Germany 2011 will be no exception.
On the assumption that the tournament exactly follows form, this is what will happen: The U.S. will win its group and will play Norway in the quarterfinals. If it wins, it will play Germany in the semifinals, in Germany, in front of German fans. If it wins -- big if -- it will play Brazil in the final, trying to avenge a 4-0 loss to that country's team in the 2007 semifinals.
To be champions, the U.S. must go three-for-three in the knockout rounds. Going two-for-three is more likely. This is Germany's tournament to lose and Brazil's to win. The U.S. medal might be silver, maybe bronze.
U.S. Women's National Team Coach Pia Sundhage has said her team is among the favorites to win the World Cup because they are a good team. She might be right about the last part, but simply being good will not be enough to win it all.
Two-time reigning World Cup champion Germany has to be considered the team to beat. And although the U.S. may be among the better teams in the tournament, they’re not a favorite, despite the optimism of their coach.
With losses to England and Sweden this year, the U.S. has something to prove. Plus, the Americans had to earn their spot in the Cup after Mexico and Canada won regional bids.
Yes, it's not 1999. The rest of the world is improving while the U.S. is in transition.
Maybe Sundhage's team will find its groove in Germany and surprise us. More likely, the U.S. reaches the semifinals and winds up in third place for the third consecutive time.
Gary R. Blockus, Allentown Morning Call
Asking the U.S. to knock off Germany on German soil in the Women's World Cup is a long shot at best. Germany has won two straight World Cups and is seeking to become the first team not just to win three World Cups, but three consecutively.
The hopes of Team USA rest on the solid scoring ability of Abby Wambaugh, no longer a phenom at age 31.
Before Germany beckons, the U.S. first must get through its most grueling round of group play ever, against legitimate medal contenders Sweden and North Korea in round-robin play. Should the U.S. make it past group play, the knockout round quarterfinals match most likely would be against Brazil or Norway, which has disaster written all over it.
But even though the U.S. has not won the World Cup since 1999 and is unlikely to reach the final, a trip to the consolation match is not out of the question.
Photo: U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo stops a shot during a team training session in Dresden, Germany, on Friday. Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press