Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 1999 U.S. National Women's Team, 2004 Athens Olympics, 2008 Beijing Olympics, Berlin's Olympic Stadium, Birgit Prinz, Celia Okoyino da Mbabi, Christine Sinclair, Kerstin Garefrekes, opening 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup match, Sinsheim, U.S. not favored to win Women's World Cup
Defending champion Germany got off to a flying start at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, opening the 16-nation tournament with a 2-1 win over Canada before a festive throng of 73,680 at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. Kerstin Garefrekes and Celia Okoyino da Mbabi gave the Germans a two-goal lead by halftime. Canadian striker Christine Sinclair’s stunning free kick strike in the 82nd minute was the first goal conceded by Germany in 679 minutes of World Cup play dating to 2003.
France defeated longshot Nigeria, 1-0, in Sinsheim in the day’s other Group “A” game. The U.S. was to begin play two days later against Group “C” opponent North Korea in Dresden. [June 26]
Comment: The U.S. is not likely to win this tournament. Despite capturing gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2008 Beijing Games, despite being No. 1 in the FIFA World Rankings, the Americans have proved to be mortal in the last two World Cups, both won by the Germans. Over the past few years their lack of speed has been exposed, and recently they’ve bowed to the likes of Mexico and England. And unlike that storied 1999 championship U.S. team–probably the most experienced in the history of the women’s game–this one has 13 players who have never appeared in a World Cup.
That’s why oddsmakers put the Americans’ chances of lifting the trophy at between 5-1 and 6-1. Not insurmountable, but not good. A hungry Brazil, featuring the tournament’s best player in Marta and still seeking its first women’s world championship, is next at 5-1 to 9-2. Germany, playing in the comfort of home and led by star veteran Birgit Prinz, is the overwhelming favorite at 5-4, 6-5, even 8-11. Place your bets, but don’t get nostalgic for ’99.
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