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Category: World Cup

U.S. shuts out Colombia, 3-0, to reach Women's World Cup quarterfinals

The U.S. swept into the quarterfinals of the Women's World Cup on Saturday with a dominating display in a 3-0 victory over Colombia in front of a sellout crowd of 25,475 in Sinsheim, Germany.

Sweden also advanced to the final eight when it shut out North Korea, 1-0, earlier in the day in Augsburg, Germany.

Goals by Heather O'Reilly, Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd meant that the American team, a two-time world champion, has scored five goals in the 16-nation event while allowing none. Goalkeeper Hope Solo earned her second shutout of the tournament after blanking North Korea, 2-0, in the opening match.

The Americans also hit the crossbar and a goalpost with shots as they outshot Colombia, 18-6, according to unofficial statistics.

The U.S. will play Sweden in its final first-round match on Wednesday in Wolfsburg, Germany, needing only a tie to finish atop Group C because it has a plus-five goal difference compared to Sweden's plus-two.

Continue reading »

Women's World Cup: U.S. and North Korea are scoreless at halftime

The U.S. got off to a fast start, then had to hold off a surging North Korea team at the end of the half. The result is a scoreless tie at halftime in the opening Women's World Cup game for both teams.

Three players account for all seven U.S. shots. Carli Lloyd leads the way with three shots, followed by Lauren Cheney and Amy Rodriguez with two each. But North Korea goalkeeper Hong Myong-Hui has been up to the task thus far with five saves.

Meanwhile North Korea has kept up with the U.S. with seven shots, including two by Yun Hyon-Hi. U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo has four saves.

More after the game at


U.S. women's soccer team faces obstacles at World Cup

Japan beats New Zealand at Women's World Cup; Mexico and England tie

-- Chuck Schilken 

Photo: Abby Wambach of the U.S. is challenged by Jon Myong-Hwa, left and Jo Yun-Mi of North Korea. Credit: Tobias Schwarz / Reuters

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.

Continue reading »

Bob Gansler, Bruce Murray, Cobi Jones and others elected to U.S. soccer Hall of Fame

I756i7kf Bob Gansler, the coach who led the U.S. back to the World Cup after a 40-year absence, was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Tuesday, along with four players who represented the U.S. in World Cup tournaments between 1990 and 2002.

The players chosen include forward Bruce Murray, of the Gansler-coached 1990 U.S. team that took part in Italia '90, the first appearance by an American side at international soccer's premier event since 1950.

Also named were winger and three-time World Cup star Cobi Jones, the former Galaxy player who holds the record for most men's national team appearances with 164; midfielder Earnie Stewart, Jones' sidekick from the 1994 World Cup team, and defender Eddie Pope, a three-time World Cup player and three-time Major League Soccer champion with D.C. United.

While congratulating those elected, Kevin Payne, D.C. United's president and chief executive officer, Tuesday appealed to voters in future Hall of Fame balloting not to overlook foreign players who have been crucial to the game's development in the U.S.

"I'm disappointed that, once again, [Bolivian midfielder] Marco Etcheverry was not elected to the Hall of Fame," Payne said. "Marco was the driving force behind D.C. United during the most dominant era any professional team in our country has enjoyed and he set the standard for his position, which remains unmatched in MLS history.

"I call on the voters, in future, to broaden their perspective and acknowledge the great contributions key foreign-born players have made to MLS and the game in America, and vote them into the Hall of Fame."


Manchester United will be the opponent in MLS' July All-Star match

Lionel Messi overtakes Beckham as top-earning soccer player

-- Grahame L. Jones

Photo: Coach Bob Gansler in 2004. Credit: Chris Carlson / AP

World Cup surprises: U.S. loses to Qatar for 2022 Cup; Russia to host in 2018.


In a stunning pair of decisions Thursday, FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, rejected far stronger bids from England and the U.S. and instead selected Russia and Qatar to be the host countries for the men's World Cup in 2018 and 2022, respectively.

The announcement, made in Switzerland by Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, FIFA’s president, came after almost two years of sometimes acrimonious competition among the nine nations seeking one or the other of the tournaments.

“We go to new lands,” Blatter said of the twin decisions.

Russia fended off rival England, as well as joint bids by Spain/Portugal and the Netherlands/Belgium to win the 2018 vote. The vote tallies were not immediately available, but Russia was said to have clinched the honor on only the second round of voting.

“You will never regret [the decision]; let us make history together,” Igor Shuvalov, Russia’s first deputy prime minister, told those gathered at the Zurich Messezentrum.

“The World Cup will help us overcome all the tragic days and tragic history of the last century we have suffered.”

Russia, which also will stage the 2014 Winter Olympics, will have to spend billions of dollars on upgrading its infrastructure, including the building of 13 stadiums in the projected host cities.

Although Vladimir Putin, Russia’s prime minister, opted not to be in Zurich, the country’s case was well made by the likes of Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of English Premier League soccer team Chelsea, and by Russia’s standout player, Arsenal midfielder Andrei Arshavin.

Staging the World Cup in Russia, Arshavin said, “would open up new minds and new hearts for the game.”

The sheer size of the country and the difficulty of getting around it had been seen as acting against Russia’s bid, but FIFA’s 22 executive committee members chose instead to cast “a legacy vote,” believing the World Cup could help boost the country while at the same time expanding soccer’s footprint.

The same was true for Qatar, and it was odd that immediately after giving the 2018 tournament to one of the world’s largest countries, FIFA turned around and awarded the following World Cup to one of the smallest.

Qatar is no larger than Connecticut and has a population of barely 1.6 million. The 2022 tournament would be played largely in and around the main city of Doha, and in summer temperatures that regularly soar to 105 degrees and above.

Still, FIFA saw the positives in giving the Middle East the World Cup for the first time, again in the hope that doing so might help engineer social change in the region.

“Thank you for believing in change,” Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, Qatar’s ruler, told the FIFA delegates in Zurich.

Qatar fended off a much stronger bid by the U.S., which had promised record crowds and record profits for FIFA if the World Cup returned to the U.S. for the first time since 1994.

The U.S. bid was a high-power, high-profile affair, with former President Clinton heading up the team that made the final pitch to the executive committee on Wednesday.

In the end, though, the promise of a well organized, financially profitable World Cup in a country boasting ethnic diversity did not sway the FIFA voters.

Also beaten by Qatar in the voting were Australia, Japan and South Korea. Again, the exact vote totals were not immediately available.

England, which according to some reports was eliminated in the first round of voting for 2018, had also sent a trio of celebrities to plead its cause. They included Prince William, the heir to the throne, David Cameron, the prime minister, and Galaxy midfielder David Beckham.

But even a trio that England’s Guardian newspaper dubbed “the prince, the prime minister and the peacock” could not deliver the votes from a FIFA executive committee soured by English media allegations of bribery and corruption within FIFA ranks.

-- Grahame L. Jones

Photo: Qatar wins the bid for the 2022 World Cup. Credit: Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

World Cup goes to Russia in 2018 and to Qatar in 2022


In a stunning pair of decisions Thursday, FIFA, world soccer's governing body, voted to award the 2018 Men's World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.

It was a case of FIFA boldly going where FIFA has not gone before. The World Cup has never been staged in either the former Eastern bloc or in the Middle East.

England and the U.S. originally had been favored to host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, respectively, but they fell by the wayside earlier in the voting in Switzerland by the 22 memebers of FIFA's executive committee.

The twin decisions were announced in Zurich by Joseph "Sepp" Blatter, FIFA's president, and were greeted by spontaneous celebrations in the winning countries.

"We go to new lands," Blatter said.

The 2010 World Cup was held in South Africa and the 2014 tournament will be played in Brazil.

 Check back here for reaction and updates throughout the day and see for a full report later on Thursday.

 --Grahame L. Jones

 Photo: FIFA President Joseph Blatter announces Russia will host the 2018 World Cup on Dec. 2. Credit: Michael Probst / Associated Press.

U.S. is drawn to play North Korea, Colombia and Sweden in 2011 Women's World Cup

Soccer_400 Seeking to reclaim a trophy it last won more than a decade ago, the U.S. on Monday was drawn to play North Korea, Colombia and Sweden in the first round of the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany.

The draw, which was the focal point of a 45-minute ceremony at the Congress Center in Frankfurt, provides an interesting challenge for the U.S. in its quest for a place in the quarterfinals of next summer's 16-team, 32-match event.

Coach Pia Sundhage's U.S. team, ranked No. 1 in the world, has lost only once in the last two years (to Mexico in World Cup qualifying), but the Koreans and the Swedes (Sundhage's former team) could prove difficult to overcome.

The Americans won the World Cup in 1991 and 1999 during the heyday of such players as Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, Julie Foudy and Briana Scurry. The team finished third in 1995, 2003 and 2007, when Norway, Germany and Brazil, respectively, eliminated them before the final.

Two-time champion Germany, the winner in 2003 and 2007 and runner-up behind Norway in 1995, will open the tournament against Canada at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on June 26.

Favored as the hosts and defending champions, the Germans also will play Nigeria and France in the first round and are considered a good bet to reach the July 17 final in Frankfurt.

Germany was seeded as the top team in Group A, and the U.S. was the top team in Group C.

Monday's ceremony also saw Japan, Asia's highest-ranked team and top-seeded in Group B, drawn to play New Zealand, Mexico and England.

Brazil, featuring four-time FIFA world player of the year Marta, was the top team in Group D and will play Australia, Norway and Equatorial Guinea in the first round.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals, when the tournament becomes a knockout competition. If the U.S. advances, as expected, it would play the winner or runner-up from Group D.

For a more detailed report on the draw and reaction to it from players and coaches, please see later on Monday.

-- Grahame L. Jones

Photo: U.S. soccer head coach Pia Sundhage, left, gives instructions to players Amy Rodriguez and Yael Averbuch during a practice session in Cancun on Nov. 4. Credit: Henry Romero / Reuters

Paul the octopus dies in Germany

Fabforum Paul the Octopus, who gained fame by predicting results at the World Cup, died in his tank on Tuesday morning at the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany.

Paul correctly predicted the outcome of all seven of Germany's World Cup matches. He made his predictions by opening the lid of one of two clear plastic boxes, each containing a mussel and bearing a team flag.

Paul, who was 2 1/2 years old, died of natural causes.

"We had all naturally grown very fond of him and he will be sorely missed," Sea Life manager Stefan Porwoll said. "We may decide to give Paul his own small burial plot within our grounds, and erect a modest permanent shrine."

Paul retired from making predictions after correctly picking Spain to beat the Netherlands in the World Cup final.

You have to wonder if Paul knew this day would come. Farewell, our tentacled friend.

-- Houston Mitchell

Photo: Paul the octopus correctly predicts Spain to win the World Cup. Credit: Roland Weihrauch / EPA


Is U.S. Soccer retaining Bob Bradley as coach a good move or a bad one?

Bob Bradley is 38-20-8 as coach of the U.S. men's national soccer team, which won its group at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa before losing to Ghana, 2-1, in the second round.

U.S. Soccer took its time in negotiating a four-year contract extension with Bradley. What do you think of the move?

U.S. Soccer Coach Bob Bradley will stay through 2014

Bradley_200 U.S. Soccer said Monday that Bob Bradley will stay as coach of the men's national team through the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Bradley and U.S. soccer officials agreed to a four-year contract extension.

Bradley has a record of 38-20-8 with the U.S. squad. This summer at the World Cup in South Africa, Team USA reached the second round before it was eliminated by Ghana.

--Barry Stavro

Photo: Bob Bradley. Credit: Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images


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