If there is one thing that the world of big time soccer needs right now it is something to take everybody’s mind off the horror that has been exposed in FIFA, the governing body of soccer.
After the arrests, resignations and rumors of even more corruption, the concept of "the beautiful game" has taken some serious hits.
Welcome to the Women’s World Cup soaring all across Canada.
It could not come at a better time, filled as it is with intriguing stories, great matchups and a bid by the United States team to get back to the top of the world of women’s soccer.
It was 16 years ago when the Mia Hamm World Cup team won the title on the final penalty kick from Brandi Chastain, forever famous for her sports bra celebration. Hamm is now 43, Chastain 46.
It’s a new generation of players and coaches and this team goes into the World Cup as one of the favorites to retain the title. The last three World Cups have been won by Germany twice and Japan, the defending champion.
It’s easy to understand how popular soccer is around the world, including it appears in the United States, by surfing to find articles previewing the cup. You can find articles and experts from most major countries and even some that you’ve never heard of. It’s impossible to read every one, but taking a sample, here’s how things seem to shape up, as far as predictions go.
The Americans are in Group D, the one this year that has earned the title of the "Group of Death."
The other teams in the group are Sweden, Australia and a surprisingly strong Nigerian team.
Sweden is lead by Pia Sundhage, who used to coach the U.S. team and led them to two Olympic victories and a second place in the last World Cup. Sundhage has a good feel for the Americans and her Swedish team is thought to have to best chance in the group to beat the U.S. The two teams meet June 12. That game will be televised at 7 p.m. on Fox.
The first game for the United States is Monday night against Australia and will be on Fox Sports 1 at 6:30. The Americans are led by forward Christen Press who is a spectacular and speedy goal scorer.
While the Americans are viewed as a slim favorite for the title, there is plenty of competition. the two top winners in each group advance to the knockout round, along with the four best third place teams.
The German side is expected to be one of the strongest challenges for the Americans. The Germans have a typically very disciplined team and have won two of the last three cup titles.
France is a favorite of some experts because of their No. 3 world ranking. They have finished fourth in the last cup and the last Olympics and are led by an array of good players, including forward Marie Laure-Delie who is a prolific goal scorer. In addition, France beat the U. S. team, 2-0, in February.
Squads from each group picked to advance to the knockout round are:
Group A – Canada, Netherlands
Group B – Germany, Norway
Group C – Japan, Switzerland
Group D – United States, Sweden
Group E – Brazil,Spain
Group F – France, England
You can find a full television schedule for all the games here.
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as OnMilwaukee.com keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.