Does the name tell the story?
Do you believe you need to think about more or less smart names to better promote womens football these days?
We dont know. But we heard that a womens football game between world national teams number 2 and 3 got far less than 1000 spectators.
Maybe the name wasnt quite that. What about "for the pride of our nation" – Cup? Would that have been more inviting?
The developments since Canada.
Some older players have quit. But only Lauren Holiday was a regular starter of the strong team in Canada. Rapinoe is injured.
No player is missing. A few additional players have been added to a roaster that is very deep already and gives a lot of flexibility but maybe missing the outstanding players.
Sasic ended her career aged 27. Some regular starters from WWC are not here (Laudehr, Leupolz) Other replacements injured (Lotzen, Bremer)
The missing players in Canada are still missing. Kessler. Schmidt. Alushi.
Overall no change since Canada in their team but Renard and Boulleau and Henry are missing here injured.
So there is not too much differrence in what changed in the last half year. Maybe because England is not participating in Rio they are slightly more looking at this as a highlight of the national team this year where the others look to prepare for the Olympics. But what kind of preparation? France is probably more or less trying the same since years without too much results at the bigger tournaments. Mbock probably replacing Renard can gain some experience. The US won last years Algarve cup in preparation for the World Cup. After that they tried a lot around mainly adding Wambach somehow. Just in time they stopped worsening their team for the k.o. stages and had not too much problems beating Germany and Japan to clinch the title. But the major improvement after the Alrgarve Cup was realising how to stop getting more and more worse. Overall there was not too much to see from these nations what they might have learned from last years Algarve Cup.
England is interestingly but not surprisingly playing with much more confidence since summer although the pretty same bunch of players have been around for a while. You would be surprised if they would not again change formations a lot. Which is nice to watch but leaves them without any regular and established style of attacking play. Their offense looks often mostly based on hoping for good luck to challenge the others somehow. That problem could already be seen in the last qualifier match where they just beat Bosnia(?).
Germany have had to replace some top players and are now even more lacking players in offense to dominate the opponents by the better individuals. Should they remain second ranked until the end of the year it might be probably mainly because the others behind have not been able to take advantage.
When you build a all star squad here we might have Solo, Johnston, Sauerbrunn, Brian, Pugh, Lloyd, Morgan, Press, Heath in from the US. Maier might be best right and Majri best left back but that was mainly it for the others. That shows how much the US have to fail to build a unit from its outstanding individuals for the others to have a chance. Of course football is a 11 players game and not at all decided by who has the 11 best individuals. But with Germany and especially France even worse than team US to build a well functioning team from its individuals they need a lot of things going not their way to be beaten. However their attacking play also lacks a lot of structure and is mainly based on the stronger individuals. So they can be stopped rather easily at any time by a decent organised defense.
Headline: Could not have been a much better confirmation
The only team to progress: ENGLAND
No better example than England of what happens when a manager is able to implement at least some fundamental parts of modern football into a womens national team. The performance goes up significantly. In stark contrast there is not much development whatsoever to see – not even the try – elsewhere. Which means if you try to develop any style of play whether in defence or offense. If you do not aim to build a team but rather see it as pitching eleven individuals "trying new things" is of course pretty similar to trying new individuals.
Germany – France 1:0
For what reason are the French here? Probably not sightseeing. Have you ever seen France take any next step in 10+ attempts in years? If not. Dont be in despair. They certainly also try to learn. Just unfortunately it doesnt show. But Bergeroo is instead giving the impression to be a very nice and polite person.
Obviously players like Renard and Boulleau are more interested to play safe than to speak out and go for success with the national team.
Every time the same problems. Everytime the same players used in the same positions playing the same style playing the same tactics. No, sorry. Thomis was Frances biggest weapon against Germany in Canada. She was left out this time. What a change.
Germany on the other side didnt only stand still in their development. They went backwards. Now they looked like being so afraid that they dont believe in the shy believes Cup that they can play and match France in open play. They parked the bus and left the midfield to their opponents. But ok. Against France it can be seen as clever to stop playing football and wait in the own half for them to miss their chances and sooner or later gift a goal away. And it was absolutely spot on. But on the other hand the players talents at least musicality wise showed when you saw their face expressions during the national anthem. What was the reason the teams are here. Ah, to develop in football. Just to remember.
USA – England 1:0
Yes to England. But not with only hooray. "Against the ball" at least there is one team developing. The US looked quite stunned. Their problems in attacking play were easily dismantled. Lack of movement up front. Not from Morgan. From the team as a unit. As expected. When they are defended by a decent compact block so the individuals have to beat several opponents and are not coming through with their individual tries there is a weak link up play so they are hardly able to set up a successful passing play. Very low probability they will be able to change this. Let us wait how long it needs for them to wait for Pugh to make things happen. Individually.
England the only team with clear signs of proper coaching again. However. "Against" the ball is only one side of the medal. When you are on a high that makes sometimes things with the ball easier. But given how far they had the US team from getting dangerous in the first half they have to create more offensive play themselves. At least when they want to constantly stay in front of for instance those just playing for the third Rio spot in Europe. Playing "with" the ball of course is the more difficult part. But every development has to start with a first step which is difficult to see regarding their offense at the moment.
USA – France
France have the better individuals to defend compared to England but are not as well organised in midfield pressing. You would like to see some reaction to the first games. Will there be anything else than to make some changes in the individuals used? It might turn out to be rather random whether the US can make their advantage of the better individuals count. But if France scores will be even more random probably.
England – Germany
If England plays with a similar approach – which is far from sure – Germany will again hardly be able to play in the opposite half. But will England be creative enough to have their chances. There was no goal in open play between them in the match for place 3. And also not in the friendly they played in the meantime. But this is womens football so you never know …