Monday, July 11, 2011

An Anniversary of Greatness

Women's World Cup 

     12 years ago yesterday, Brandi Chastain scored the winning penalty kick in the World Cup Final vs China. In the 2011 world cup, that same greatness appeared in the American team as they defeated Brazil in 5-3 in penalty kicks. Although this win was not in the finals, it was in some ways a more dramatic win. Twists and turns dominated the game late, and players showed their true colors. Buehler got a Red Card in the 65th minute. On Marta's penalty kick, Hope Solo made the block, but it was called back because of an encroachment penalty. On the second try, Marta converted the kick and tied the game 1-1.  

     In the Extra Time, Marta scored again on a beautiful kick in the 92 minute. After 30 minutes of back and forth between the two teams, a beautiful cross by Rapinoe and an even more amazing header by Abby Wambach in the 122nd minute tied the game at 2-2. What's next? Penalty Kicks. Up first: Boxx. Her kick is blocked, but encroachment is called on the goalie. Next kick is good. The teams go back and forth until the US goes up 3-2 with  Daiane (Brazil) up. Hope Solo reads the shot perfectly, and easily saves the goal. Two shots later, the US moves onto the semifinals. By playing man-down for 55 minutes, scoring the latest goal in World Cup History, and winning in penalty kicks, the 2011 game proved to be even more dramatic than the one in 1999. 

     However, that day in 1999 was significant for a different reason. Not only was it a World Cup victory, but it set the tone for a new age in women's soccer in America. Women came before in the men in any discussion regarding American soccer. Mia Hamm was featured on a commercial battling against Michael Jordan. Little girls across the country looked up to Brandi Chastain. Abby Wambach and Hope Solo have a chance to be just as iconic as the faces of the past. The question is: Will they do it?