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What did we learn from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia at Copa América? – Equalizer Soccer

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Jon Austria/The Coloradoan / USA TODAY NETWORK

On Saturday, at 9 p.m. Colombia time, María Laura Fortunato blew her whistle to put an end to the Copa América Femenina, with a familiar result. Brazil, yet again, lifted the trophy in a hard-fought battle against Colombia, including some tough challenges and VAR calls that left some doubts. Brazil won 1-0 via a Debinha penalty kick.

With this, the winners and the hosts qualified for the World Cup and the Olympics, while Argentina (winner of the third-place playoff against Paraguay) will join them in Australia and New Zealand at next year’s World Cup.

How did those teams look during the tournament and what can we expect from them?

Argentina

Let’s go bottom to top and kick off with La Albiceleste. Argentina looked shaky at moments, particularly after a rocky start against Brazil that saw them fall 4-0. However, they found some good foundations: Vanina Correa was reliable as ever on goal, the pair of center backs always got the job done in Aldana Cometti and Agustina Barroso and Yamila Rodríguez found herself in the same wavelength as Estefanía Banini, plus the hard-running Florencia Bonsegundo doing most of the dirty job.

Solid wins against Uruguay (5-0) and Perú (4-0) solidified Portanova’s team towards the semifinal, where they clashed against the hosts, Colombia. Here, the main problems of Argentina were exacerbated: there’s a lack of a solid choice at right back. Neither Julieta Cruz nor Marina Delgado excelled, and Gabriela Chavez (who started this game) found herself losing constantly to Linda Caicedo and ended up seeing a red card. Plus, Argentina struggled to find goals from their No. 9 (both Larroquette and Jaimes ended the tournament with zero goals, while Lonigro got one from the bench), so the hot form from Rodriguez was a key piece in their results.

Against Paraguay, they conceded first from an own goal but La Albirroja gave the ball away and Argentina found chances to equalize and then win, with Rodríguez scoring twice and winning the golden boot.

Upsides: Defensive steadiness, Yamila Rodríguez form.

Downsides: Lack of goals from main strikers, question marks on squad depth.

Colombia

It was a big tournament for the hosts, with high expectations. After looking good against the United States in June friendlies, a lot was expected from Colombia – and they delivered. With almost an unchanged XI each game, Nelson Abadía trusted their front four to make the difference in the games. Catalina Usme was dangerous as ever, Linda Caicedo was a terror for defenses with her dribbles, Leicy Santos gave class and vision while Mayra Ramirez put goals and toughness to her role in the No. 9 role.

They qualified for the semifinals with little problems: a win against Paraguay conceding two goals from set pieces, a little moment of doubt against Ecuador with a goal that forced Abadía to sub-in Ramirez, who was resting, and a very solid performance against Chile winning 4-0 paved the way to secure their ticket to the final round.

Argentina was next and a shift from right to the left side for Caicedo gave nightmares to Gabriela Chavez. A goal from the wunderkind put Colombia in the final.

There, they were probably the only team in South America in ages that tried to play straight up against Brazil (they actually outshot the Canarinha 17 to 11, something that happened for the first time in the last two Copa Américas) and could have had an equalizer but Brazil held on, especially with questionable subs from Abadía, who was heavily criticized for leaving his changes for very late in the game even with good talent at disposal on the bench.

Upsides: Young talent, performances from players like Manuela Venegas and Daniela Montoya.

Downsides: Abadía’s reluctance to make substitutions.

Brazil

And finally, the winners. Pia Sundhage actually broke a record: Brazil was the first team to win this tournament without conceding a single goal in the process. Which speaks about this team.

Without Marta, Cristiane, Formiga, and many more from the old guard, there’s a bit less flair in their style. There’s more balance and a much more needed defensive toughness to this Brazilian team. That doesn’t mean they can’t score or show pretty football, but it’s not their main target anymore. Now it is to win.

Led by five goals from Adriana, Brazil breezed past the group stage, including a gorgeous 12-pass buildup goal before the first minute of the game against Perú. In the semifinals, they showed that new-found grittiness, willingness to go hard on a challenge against Paraguay, and mostly because the game asked for it. 

And the same happened against Colombia. They tried to “scare” Brazil with a couple of hard challenges at the start, but they didn’t hide, they fought, even with Angelina going out with an ACL injury. There’s a good balance to this squad and probably we will see a more mature Verdeamarelha in Australia and New Zealand.

Upsides: More maturity, and defensive toughness.

Downsides: Is a question mark about how much of a measure this tournament is for Brazil, Angelina’s injury.





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Thorns come from behind to defeat Spirit – Equalizer Soccer

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Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After a storm delay at Segra field on Wednesday night, a flurry of late goals was in the cards between the Spirit and the Thorns.

Washington Spirit 1, Portland Thorns 2

The Skinny: The Portland Thorns scored two late goals on Wednesday night to come from behind and snatch three points off of the Washington Spirit on the road. With the loss, the Spirit have now matched their club record winless streak of 15 matches (originally set in 2018). The defending NWSL Champions have not won since May 1st.

One Key Moment: Morgan Weaver’s cut inside and run to goal to win the match was sensational. But the amount of space given to Weaver by Spirit defenders – notably Sam Staab – on the play was unfortunate.

Inside the Game: After 75 minutes filled with quality chances for both sides, the Spirit finally got on the board with a goal that could not have been weirder. A high ball came in, and Thorns keeper Bella Bixby managed to punch it just far enough before it was headed and sent back towards goal. Moving backwards, Bixby was able to catch and hang onto the ball, but her momentum pulled her back into the goal and across the line – all with the ball still in her hands. The tally was credited as an own goal.

But just as things looked to be headed the Spirit’s way and towards a much, much needed three points, the visitors had other ideas. First, Kelli Hubly hit the crossbar with a shot, and Christine Sinclair managed to be the first to the rebound, knocking it in for the equalizer. Spirit defending was non-existent on the play.

Then Weaver’s goal completed the comeback for the visitors. In ten quick minutes, the defending champions’ chances of qualifying for the playoffs slipped away even further.

Washington now sit in 10th place with just 12 points, but they have played 16 matches, more than any team in the league.

The Goals:

  1. Washington Spirit — Bella Bixby (own goal), 76′
  2. Portland Thorns — Christine Sinclair, 84′
  3. Portland Thorns — Morgan Weaver (Hina Sugita), 90’+2′





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Burkenroad continues red-hot form – Equalizer Soccer

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Photo: C.F. Monterrey

Christina Burkenroad, at this rate, could be the first Liga MX Femenil player to reach 20 goals.

Katty Martinez and Alison Gonzalez are the owners of 18 goals in a respective Liga MX Femenil season, the most in league history. However, with seven goals in just six matches, Burkenroad seems to be on a good track. She added two more goals to her name during C.F. Monterrey’s 4-0 win over Necaxa on Monday night. Aylin Avilez and Rebeca Bernal also added tallies in Rayadas’ clean-sheet victory.

Burkenroad’s first goal was a volley past Necaxa goalkeeper Valeria Martínez. Her second goal was another volley, as she ran side-by-side with defender Karen De León and beat her out.

Burkenroad should be turning her head at the next few matches on the Monterrey schedule. Club León and Mazatlán are next on the docket. With the way she’s playing right now, expect Burkenroad to do some damage against the mid-to-low table sides.

Club Tijuana 3, Pachuca 3

Club Tijuana hosted Pachuca on Monday night and six goals resulted from the dueling forward battle. Renae Cuellar scored twice for Tijuana, while Charlyn Corral picked up where she left off with Pachuca, scoring a hat-trick. The match was back and forth, with Tijuana taking the lead three different times before giving up a final goal to Corral in the 78th minute to split the points. Veronica Perez also added a goal for Xolos.

The draw benefits Tijuana more than it does Pachuca. Tuzos, still awaiting the first minutes of Spanish midfielder Jenni Hermoso in purple, currently sit in 12th place with seven points. Meanwhile, Tijuana has 11 points and is slotted in sixth place. For a side that drew most of their matches last year, Tijuana has won three games to help boost their placement in the Liga MX Femenil standings.

In regards to Hermoso, the midfielder did train for the first time with Pachuca this past week, signaling a potential debut in the coming weeks. Pachuca will take on Querétaro on Monday and then have a big slate against Tigres on August 19. If there was a match that fans would want Hermoso to make a big debut in, it would be that one, despite Pachuca being on the road.

Other Apertura Week 6 Scores

  • Querétaro 2-2 Mazatlán
  • UANL Tigres 4-1 Puebla
  • Cruz Azul 0-1 Santos Laguna
  • UNAM Pumas 3-0 Atlético San Luis
  • Chivas de Guadalajara 2-0 Toluca
  • FC Juárez 0-2 Atlas
  • Club León 2-2 Club América

Liga MX Femenil Apertura Table | Week 6

NOTE: The top eight teams in Liga MX Femenil will qualify for the Liguilla, which are the playoffs.

Team W D L GA GD PTS
Chivas de Guadalajara 6 0 0 1 10 18
UNAM Pumas 4 1 1 6 9 13
Tigres 4 1 1 2 9 13
C.F. Monterrey 3 2 1 10 6 11
Club América 3 2 1 6 5 11
Club Tijuana 3 2 1 8 3 11
Atlas 2 4 0 5 3 10
Toluca 3 1 2 9 1 10
Santos Laguna 3 0 3 11 -2 9
Cruz Azul 2 2 2 4 1 8
Club León 2 2 2 9 -2 8
Pachuca 2 1 3 10 3 7
Mazatlán 1 2 3 11 -6 5
FC Juárez 1 1 4 11 -6 4
Querétaro 1 1 4 16 -7 4
Puebla 1 0 5 15 -6 3
Atlético San Luis 1 0 5 17 -10 3
Necaxa 0 2 4 14 -11 2

Looking Ahead: Apertura Week 7

*All Times in Eastern Time.

Thursday, Aug. 11: Club América vs. Necaxa at 4:45 PM (ViX+)

Thursday, Aug. 11: C.F. Monterrey vs. Club León at 8 PM (FOXS Sports México)

Saturday, Aug. 13: Atlas vs. Chivas de Guadalajara at 1 PM

Sunday, Aug. 14: Puebla vs. Club Tijuana at 1 PM (Azteca Deportes)

Sunday, Aug. 14: Atlético San Luis vs. FC Juárez at 6 PM (ESPN Deportes)

Monday, Aug. 15: Toluca vs. Cruz Azul at 6 PM (ViX+)

Monday, Aug. 15: Pachuca vs. Querétaro at 8 PM (FOX Sports México)

Monday, Aug. 15: Mazatlán vs. Tigres at 10 PM (FOX Sports México)

Monday, Aug. 15: Santos Laguna vs. UNAM Pumas at 10 PM





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For Sweden, questions remain after EURO heartbreak – Equalizer Soccer

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Richard Callis / SPP

Sweden headed to England this summer with a clear target: to get to Wembley for the EURO 2022 final and leave with the trophy. 

That did not happen. Instead, the Swedes had to leave the pitch in Sheffield in tears after a humiliating 4-0 loss to the hosts in the semifinal. 

Sweden won the inaugural edition of the tournament in 1984 – a humble four-team competition – prevailing over England in penalty kicks. That was 38 years ago. Even though Sweden has earned medals recently – third at the 2019 World Cup and a silver medal at last year’s Olympics – Swedish players went to England this summer to fulfill their dreams of winning a big international tournament. For the first time in years, the feeling was that Sweden actually could do it this time

Reality hit hard in the final stages once again, however.

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