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Category: Grahame L. Jones

U.S. leads Brazil, 1-0, at halftime in Women's World Cup; Sweden ousts Australia


Seeking to reach the semifinals of the Women's World Cup for the sixth time in as many attempts, the United States, a two-time champion, led Brazil, 1-0, at halftime of Sunday afternoon's quarterfinal match in Dresden, Germany.

Brazil, the losing finalist to Germany in the 2007 tournament in China, put itself into a hole right at the start when defender Daiane, trying to clear a cross into the area by American midfielder Shannon Boxx, instead sliced the ball into her own net for an own goal only three minutes into the match.

With both teams putting everything into the game, it became a little physical and U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd was issued a yellow card near the half-hour mark, while teammate Lauren Cheney appeared in danger of also being cautioned after a couple of fouls.

Brazil came close to tying the score seven minutes before the half ended when Fabiana pinged a shot off the U.S. crossbar. In the closing moment of the half, the Brazilians showed signs of losing composure and both Aline and Marta received yellow cards, the latter for dissent.

In the day's earlier quarterfinal match in Augsburg, Sweden scored twice in the first 20 minutes and had little difficulty defeating Australia, 3-1, in front of a crowd of 24,605.

Therese Sjogran gave the Swedes the lead after only 11 minutes and Lisa Dahlkvist made it 2-0 in favor of the 2003 Women's World Cup runners-up five minutes later. Elyse Perry threw the Australians a lifeline five minutes before halftime when she scored to cut the deficit to 2-1.

Seven minutes into the second half, however, Lotta Schelin found the back of the net to make it 3-1 and effectively end any hopes for Australia. Sweden will play Japan in Frankfurt in Wednesday's semifinals.

The winner of the U.S-Brazil match will play France in the other semifinal, also on Wednesday, in Moenchengladbach.


Photos: U.S. vs. Brazil

-- Grahame L. Jones

Photo: U.S. forward Abby Wambach ocelebrates after Brazil's Daiane (bottom) scores an own goal during the Women's World Cup quarterfinal game on Sunday. Credit: Scott Heavey / Getty Images

Japan knocks defending champion Germany out of the Women's World Cup and France tops England


World champion Germany crashed out of the Women’s World Cup in dramatic fashion Saturday night when it was upset, 1-0, in extra time by Japan in the quarterfinals in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Japanese forward Karina Maruyama scored the all-important goal in the 108th minute to knock out the host nation.

The loss ended Germany’s 15-game unbeaten streak as well as its chances of becoming the first team, men’s or women’s, to win three World Cups in a row. Germany had won the 2003 and 2007 tournaments in the U.S. and China, respectively.

In Saturday’s other quarterfinal, France tied its match against England, 1-1, with only two minutes left in regulation and went on to prevail on penalty kicks, 4-3, after extra time in Leverkusen, Germany.

In the semifinals on Wednesday, France will play the winner of Sunday’s quarterfinal between the U.S. and Brazil while Japan will play the winner of the Sweden-Australia quarterfinal.


Brazil stands in the way of U.S. in Women's World Cup quarterfinal

For U.S. coach Pia Sundhage, more pressure-filled moments

Americans show vulnerability in group-play loss to Sweden

-- Grahame L. Jones

Photo: Japan's Karina Maruyama watches her shot beat Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer (1) and defender Saskia Bartusiak on Saturday. Credit: Peter Steffen / EPA

U.S. beaten, 2-1, by Sweden in Women's World Cup and now must play Brazil in the quarterfinals

It was never going to be easy, and on Wednesday night in Wolfsburg, Germany, it suddenly became very difficult.

The U.S. women's national soccer team, needing only a tie against Sweden to win its first-round group at the Women's World Cup, instead was beaten, 2-1, and finished second in Group C. The result means that the American team has to play Group D winner Brazil in the quarterfinals Sunday in Dresden.

Brazil is unbeaten, untied and unscored-upon so far in the competition and was the team that routed the U.S., 4-0, in the semifinals of the 2007 Women's World Cup in China.

Defensive lapses led to both Swedish goals in the first half as the American back line struggled to contain the bustling Swedes.

First, Amy LePeilbet dragged down Lotta Schelin after Schelin had gotten past her. That brought a yellow card from the referee for LePeilbet and a penalty kick for Sweden. Lisa Dahlkvist duly dispatched the kick and Sweden led, 1-0, after just over a quarter of an hour.

It was the first time in 796 minutes that U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo had been beaten, and 19 minutes later she was beaten again.

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U.S. leads Colombia, 1-0, at halftime in the Women's World Cup

A 13th-minute goal by midfielder Heather O'Reilly on Saturday gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead at halftime in its Women's World Cup soccer match against Colombia in Sinsheim, Germany.

Victory would send the U.S. through to the quarterfinals of the 16-nation tournament.

The American team might have led by a greater margin after the first 45 minutes but for the solid goalkeeping of Colombia's Sandra Sepulveda, who did well to handle shots from Abby Wambach, Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Cheney as the U.S. carried the attack to the South Americans. 

Earlier in the day, Sweden, playing in the same Group C, made sure of its place in the quarterfinals by defeating North Korea, 1-0, in front of an Augsburg, Germany, crowd of 23,768.

The game's only goal was scored in the 64th minute by midfielder Lisa Dahlkvist, after Linda Forsberg had sent a cross in from the left and Therese Sjoran had teed the ball up for Dahlkvist to fire it into the net from close range.

The victory enabled Sweden to join Germany, France and Japan in the final eight, with the remaining four places yet to be decided. At halftime in Sinsheim, the U.S. appeared set to be one of the four.


Japan rolls over Mexico in Women's World Cup

Grahame L. Jones: Copa America is loaded with history and talent

-- Grahame L. Jones

Photo: Heather O’Reilly, front, celebrates with her teammates after scoring a goal during the first half of the U.S. team’s Women’s World Cup match against Colombia on Saturday. Credit: Alex Grimm / Getty Images

U.S. defeats North Korea, 2-0, at Women's World Cup on goals by Lauren Cheney and Rachel Buehler

World-cup_300 The U.S. got off to a winning start at the sixth Women’s World Cup in Germany on Tuesday by defeating North Korea, 2-0, on a warm evening in Dresden on second-half goals by former UCLA star Lauren Cheney and Rachel Buehler.

Earlier in the day, Sweden, playing in the same four-team group, also made a positive beginning when it edged Colombia, 1-0, on a goal by Jessica Landstrom. The results leave the U.S. and Sweden tied atop Group C with three points apiece, but with the U.S. in first place based on goals scored.

Cheney’s goal came just under 10 minutes into the second half. A great pass from midfielder Carli Lloyd set forward Abby Wambach free down the left flank. Wambach took the ball to the end line, then cut it back and crossed perfectly for Cheney to head it into the North Korea net.

In the 77th minute, the American team, a two-time World Cup winner, doubled its advantage. Defender Ali Krieger in sent a cross that rebounded off the crossbar to Lloyd, who sent the ball to Rachel Buehler. The defender took the gilt-edged chance and scored with ease.

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André Villas-Boas quits Porto and is poised to be named Chelsea's coach

André Villas-Boas
, the 33-year-old coaching phenomenon who this year led FC Porto to an unbeaten season in the Portuguese league and also won the Portuguese Cup and the Europa League, has resigned as Porto's coach and is expected soon to be named coach of the English Premier League club Chelsea.

Villas-Boas, recently profiled in the Los Angeles Times,  had a $21-million buyout clause in his contract with Porto, but Roman Abramovich, Chelsea's Russian billionaire owner, is believed to be clearing that obstacle.

Porto on Tuesday officially notified the Portuguese stock market of Villas-Boas' decision.

"Porto can inform the stock market that it has received notification from its coach, André Villas-Boas, of the intention to resign with immediate effect," the statement said. "As such, his employment contract shall be considered rescinded upon deposit of the stipulated amount."

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Surinam soccer chief describes alleged bribery attempt

Fifa1 In the clearest and most detailed description yet regarding the alleged attempt to bribe leaders of the Caribbean Football Union,  the president of Surinam's soccer association has said it received $40,000 "in $100 bills in a brown envelope" at a meeting of CFU leaders in Port of Spain, Trinidad, last month.

The CFU is part of CONCACAF, soccer's North and Central American and Caribbean region, and CFU officials were in Port of Spain on May 9 and 10 to be wooed by Qatar's Mohamed Bin Hammam, president of the Asian Football Confederation. At the time, Bin Hammam was running against incumbent Joseph "Sepp" Blatter for the presidency of FIFA, world soccer's ruling body.

The meeting in Trinidad was arranged by Jack Warner, CONCACAF's president and vice president of FIFA.

Subsequently, American Chuck Blazer, CONCACAF's general secretary and a member of FIFA's executive committee, reported to FIFA that attempts to bribe CFU members were made at the meeting. Bin Hammam and Warner were provisionally suspended from all soccer activity worldwide. Both denied the allegations and Bin Hammam withdrew from the presidential election.

The investigation has since been hampered by the refusal of many of the 25 CFU leaders to be interviewed on the matter, but Surinam's soccer chief is one of several who have spoken out.

"We went up to a room and were given $40,000 in a brown envelope with the name of Surinam on it," Louis Giskus, president of Surinam's soccer association, told Britain's Press Assn.

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Galaxy forward Jack McBean named to U.S. roster for Under-17 World Cup in Mexico

Galaxy forward Jack McBean was the only U.S-based professional player selected Thursday when Coach Wilmer Cabrera named 21 players to represent the U.S. in soccer's FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Mexico.

McBean is one of nine California players on the squad. The 16-year-old from Newport Beach was signed by the Galaxy in January as a local discovery.

The U.S. is the only nation to have qualified for all 14 editions of the world championship, which this year will be played in seven Mexican cities between June 18 and July 10, with the final in Mexico City.

"These are the 21 players who earned the right to represent their country in the World Cup," Cabrera said. "It's not us, the coaching staff, picking them. They make the decision for us by competing every day.

"The roster was open until the last day, and these players demonstrated that they were the top in the country, but they also showed commitment, sacrifice and mentality to represent the United States."

The U.S. was drawn in Group D of the 24-nation event and in the first round will play the Czech Republic on June 19, Uzbekistan on June 22 and New Zealand on June 26.

The full U.S. roster:

Goalkeepers: Wade Hamilton, Kendall McIntosh, Fernando Pina

Defenders: Kellyn Acosta, Joe Amon, Zach Carroll, Mobi Fehr, Alessandro Mion, Nathan Smith

Midfielders: Matt Dunn, Alejandro Guido, Nico Melo, Marc Pelosi, Esteban Rodriguez, Tarki Salkicic, Dillon Serna, Andrew Souders

Forwards: Paul Arriola, Alfred Koroma, Jack McBean, Mario Rodriguez

-- Grahame L. Jones


Joseph "Sepp" Blatter reelected as FIFA president despite scandals in soccer organization

Joseph “Sepp” Blatter was reelected Wednesday to a fourth term as president of FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, after a failed attempt by England to have the one-candidate election postponed.

Delegates from the 208 FIFA nations attending the 61st FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, first shot down England's proposal on a 172-17 vote, then opted to keep Blatter, 75, in power for another four years on a 186-17 vote, with only 203 ballots cast.

The vote came after David Bernstein, chairman of England’s Football Assn., made and attempt to infuse some sanity into scandal-ridden FIFA by calling for a postponement so that more reform-minded candidates could emerge.

“The election has turned into a one-horse race,” Bernstein said. “Only with a contested election will the winner have . . . a proper, credible mandate. We are faced by an unsatisfactory situation. We are subject to universal criticism from governments, sponsors, the media and the wider world.”

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Kelley O’Hara replaces injured Lindsay Tarpley on Women’s World Cup-bound U.S. national team

Kelley O'Hara, a former Stanford midfielder and 2009 Hermann Trophy winner as soccer's best female player of that year, Wednesday was named to the U.S. team that will compete in this month's Women’s World Cup in Germany.

O'Hara, 22, replaces Lindsay Tarpley, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee on May 14 during the U.S. team's victory over Japan in a friendly international.

Pia Sundhage, the U.S. coach, said O'Hara would be a solid replacement for the veteran Tarpley.

"Kelley has great energy, she is good in the air and brings youth to the team," Sundhage said. "She is a player who can take people on and hit good crosses, which will be important at the World Cup."

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German soccer leader calls for review of 2022 World Cup vote that U.S. lost to Qatar

Theo Zwanziger, president of Germany's powerful and influential soccer federation, on Wednesday again brought into question how Qatar had won the right to stage the 2022 World Cup over the U.S.

Speaking to German television reporters covering the FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, Zwanziger, newly elected to FIFA's executive committee, called for a full review of the matter.

"There is a considerable degree of suspicion that one cannot simply sweep aside," he said, "and I must expect that awarding this World Cup under these conditions needs to be examined anew."

Claims had been made in the British Parliament, based on an investigation by the Sunday Times newspaper, that Qatar had paid bribes for votes, something Qatar has vehemently denied. It did so again on Wednesday, calling such claims "distressing, insulting and incomprehensible."

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