WWC Round of 16: USA v Colombia

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The USA keep on keeping-on, this time at the expense of the Colombians who looked the goods at times but whose discipline failed them at crucial moments. A replay of the 1999 final against China awaits them in the quarter final.

What Happened

The USA booked a quarter final appointment with China after a 2-0 win over a plucky Colombian side reduced to 10 players. The dismissal of goalkeeper Catalina Perez, standing in for the suspended Sandra Sepulveda, was the turning point of match and even though the resulting spot-kick was missed by Abby Wambach, the result of the game from then looked inevitable.

Third choice goalkeeper Stefany Castano came on and would have been disappointed to let Alex Morgan’s shot through her near post. Carli Lloyd made sure the result was beyond any doubt just minutes later when Megan Rapinoe was brought down by Angelo Clavijo, sending Castano the wrong way.

It was a game of half-openings for Colombia who never looked like scoring but were typically expansive and exciting to watch. Their sprightly vigor and cynicism of the first half raised eyebrows and tempted a script rewrite but it was broken by a lapse in concentration and ill-discipline, duly punished by the seasoned veterans.

Stand Out Performers

Carli Lloyd stepped up to seal the game for the US from the penalty spot but she was pivotal in keeping things ticking for her side from the middle. Megan Rapinoe, dangerous as ever, won the key penalty and she may have been rewarded herself on another day: her craft created several openings for the US. It was another consistent and reliable performance across the US backline – who have now not conceded a goal since Lisa De Vanna opened the Matilda’s account in the opening Group D game.

Talking Points

Two penalties and a red card will headline discussion and you do have to wonder how long Colombia could have held out for if Perez had dealt with that situation better. A parting thought for Felipe Taborda and his side.

Once again Colombia displayed that they have the technical skill and guile, and the bite and niggle if needed, to compete at the highest level. They have been a joy to watch at this World Cup and the showboating of Lady Andrade will be missed. With some strong leadership and a clear plan to keep moving forward they will reach the level of the USA in no time.

What it Means

Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday will miss the quarter final against China after receiving yellow cards. A big blow perhaps but Jill Ellis will be relieved the suspensions have come now rather than during the quarter final which would mean two key players missing for a semi-final against either Germany or France. Abby Wambach’s missed penalty means she is still one goal behind Marta (15) as the Women’s World Cup’s all-time leading goal scorer.

Needs Work

The US are a well-oiled, slick machine at the moment but the one concern for them is that their attacking talents have yet to fire at the tournament. This will need to improve against a more defensively adept China. Luckily for them, their backline is near impervious – at times this tournament Hope Solo has been a mere spectator.

What Next

The USA play China in the quarter finals on the 26th of June.

Goal of the Day

Neither US goals will make the goals of the tournament video but nevertheless Carli Lloyd’s penalty was executed perfectly in contrast to Wambach’s effort. A goal that put her side into the quarter finals of the World Cup.

Miss of the Day

Abby Wambach’s penalty miss was uncharacteristically poor – a side footed effort just was pushed way too far outside the post.

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