My Real Time Diary of the USA Vs. France World Cup Semifinal.
9:55- Flipped on the old tele to watch some women’s soccer and take notes. Never thought I would do this in my professional career
9:56- National Anthem plays. The goosebumps begin.
9:57- Ian Darke says what we’ve all been thinking. The pregame formalities are seemingly endless.
9:58- The chic hairstyle for female footballers this year is the thin headband and the Jackson Browne circa 1976 cut.
10:00- We are underway from a dreary Monchengladbach.
10:04- First look at French coach Bruno Bini. Definitely doesn’t look like a creepy, old French dude
10:05- Panoramic crowd shot. Lots of empty seats.
10:07- I finally realize that Rampone and Rapinoe are two different players.
10:08- Hope Solo gets her first save. The blood is now officially pumping!
10:09- GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL! Lauren Cheney deflects in a beautiful Heather O’Reilly cross. You can put it on the board……..YES. 1-0 USA
10:14- I just realized what a dumb slogan ‘Live Your Goals’ is.
10:17- Abby defends a French corner kick with a beautiful header.
10:23- Ian Darke relays an anecdote about three French players posing nude for a German newspaper to drum up interest for the team. Somewhere Betty Friedan is rolling in her grave.
10:29- Second time Darke has called a U.S. forward ‘Predatory.’ Gotta love the English!
10:29- Great save from Hope, nearly leaving the goalie box.
10:32- French shot hits the post. We are like Phil Hellmuth, ‘Dodging Bullets Baby.’ France dominating possession and shots is a real concern.
10:38- Rampone’s cross is a little too deep or Abby has an easy header for a goal.
10:39- Abby misses another cross. Sonia Bompastor and the goalie collide. We have our first significant ‘injury’ and stoppage.
10:47- Half time. U.S up 1-0. This game has a ‘survive and advance’ feel for the U.S.
11:02- Second half underway.
11:10- Another solid defense of a French corner.
11:12- Sonia Bompastor ties it up at one. SACREBLEU!!!!
11:13- Pia Sundhage substitutes Alex Morgan for Amy Rodriguez. We all win. My first chauvinistic comment of the day.
11:18- Ali Krieger tweaks her ankle after a slide tackle. Pia rolls the dice and doesn’t make a substitution.
11:21- Krieger goes back in. U.S. back at full strength.
11:22- Megan Rapinoe in for Carli Lloyd. Keeps alive chances of another impromptu Springsteen inspired celebration.
11:27- Another near miss by Alex Morgan after Rapinoe’s free kick.
11:29- Ian Darke calls the win over Brazil ‘Destiny in Dresden.’ Says U.S. is ‘On a mission in Monchengladback.’ Darke is truly the English Jim Nantz.
11:35- French substitution. Elodie Thomis in for Sandrine Soubeyrand.
11:36- Abby heads in a gorgeous Lauren Cheney corner in the 79th minute. 2-1 U.S. It was Abby’s 12th World Cup goal. That ties fellow American Michelle Akers with most of all time.
11:39- Alex Morgan ices it with a goal in the 82nd minute. 3-1 U.S.
11:44- Final U.S. substitution. Tobin Heath in for Heather O’Reilly.
11:50- This ballgame is ova! U.S. into the Finals for first time since 1999. Darke caps his call with a ‘Party like it’s 1999 reference.’
Here are some highlights from the 3-1 victory.
Final note: Club soccer may never thrive in this country, but if the national teams can be viable we will support the World Cup. The U.S. will take on Japan this Sunday at 12:30. For more information on the team check out their homepage.