I have been a soccer fan since last year. I never played the game myself, but one day, I flipped the channel onto one match of the men's World Cup. I got hooked. It went on for about three weeks,some matches were good,others were bad,and to this day,I insist the Netherlands should've beat Spain in the final. Ultimately,I enjoyed it.
So when I first heard about a women's World Cup,naturally I was interested. There were less teams and some new countries,but I looked forward to it for several months. It started out all right,the United States won two important matches,we lost the Group to Sweden,though.
Because of that Sweden match,in the quarterfinal,we had to play Brazil. The team with Marta. The Marta who won Best Player of the Year five times in a row,an accomplishment no player,man or woman,has ever done. It was a brutal match. Lots of scoring,lots of penalties. We almost didn't advance. Almost.
We were losing in extra time when Abby Wambach (the only reliable player on the team)scored a tying goal to send it to penalty kicks. We desperately needed Miss Solo to perform as she was hyped,and she did. The score in penalty kicks was 5-3.
The next game was the semifinal against France. We rolled right over them,3-1. I had hoped we would play Sweden in the final,to give them payback for beating us in the group stage. Alas,it was not meant to be. They ended up losing to Japan in the other semifinal,but winning the third place match. Looking back,I wonder if we would have been able to beat them.
It all came down to the final in Frankfurt: United States vs. Japan for the Cup. The most important match for us,thus far. At that point,we had a better showing than our male counterparts. They barely eked out a win to make it to the quarterfinals,and lost shortly after. We had the support,later,ratings reports came in that over 13 million people were watching,everyone was expecting that we would handily win a Cup for the third time.
They were wrong. I still don't understand how everything that could have gone wrong in that game,did. Bad ball handling;tons of missed scoring opportunities,good ones,too;and our goaltender,the great Hope Solo,
ranked number one in the entire world, let in not one, but two really bad goals. And got injured,to boot! We were winning at both points in the game,it should never have gone to extra time in the first place,and she let in both tying goals. But her gross incompetence could be overlooked if she had put in a great performance in the penalty kicks. She missed three out of four to lose the Cup.
Things would have been so much better if we had won. We would have won except for the dreadful actions of Hope Solo. She's no Hope, she's a Nope. Nope Solo.