Whilst the USA team has not really clicked into gear the Brazilians are buzzing off the back of the incredible skills of Marta. With a strong defense as well the Americans are really up against it to make it through to the semi finals.
The headline match of the second stage of the Women’s World Cup soccer tournament features the United States versus Brazil on Sunday (the Brazilian men's team are in action in the Copa America). The U.S. is FIFA’s top-ranked team in the world, while Brazil ranks third (behind host Germany) These two countries are very familiar with one another, with the Americans winning all four meetings over the past four years, all by 1-0 results.
But the last time they met in the World Cup was in the 2007 semifinals, when the Brazilians walked away with a convincing 4-0 victory. Brazil has been the better squad this tournament and its star-studded front line has too much speed for the shaky U.S. defenders to contend with. The pick in the betting odds is BRAZIL and the OVER, with great goal scorers on both sides.
After its first-ever loss in Group play (15-1-2) to Sweden on Wednesday, the U.S. has some serious adjustments to make on defense. The key to the U.S. winning this match is goalie Hope Solo. She was benched and didn’t play in the 2007 World Cup loss, but performed magnificently in her team’s 1-0 win over Brazil in the 2008 Olympics. Although Solo is not fully healed from shoulder surgery, she has played very well so far this tournament, as the only two goals she allowed were a penalty kick and a deflected free kick she had no chance of saving.
Another key to the match is star striker Abby Wambach (119 career goals), who has been dealing with an Achilles tendon injury and has missed numerous scoring chances throughout this World Cup. Her lone goal was a missed header that hit her shoulder. The Americans will get a big boost though, as Heather O’Reilly is expected to start after missing the Sweden game with a groin injury. The Americans, which have a tournament-high 27 shots on goal (and 32 shots wide), have never lost a quarterfinal match in their five previous World Cup appearances.
Brazil has been the most dominant team in the World Cup so far, outscoring its opponents 7-0. The Brazilians are the only team that has not allowed a goal so far, and their seven goals are tied for the tournament lead with Germany and France. Marta has lived up to the hype of being the world’s best player, netting two goals with two assists in the three matches. Rosana and Cristiane also have two goals apiece, showing that this team has great balance, especially on the attack. Marta scored twice against the Americans in the 2007 Cup semifinals, with Cristiane also netting a goal in that 4-0 thumping. The Brazilians have never won this tournament, but they were runners-up in 2007 and finished third in 1999 look for them in the soccer odds and expect them to reach the semi finals.