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Women's World Cup Semifinal: USA vs. France, Noon, ESPN

The USWNT plays France, hoping to reach their first Women’s World Cup Final since they won in 1999. The United States has an experience advantage. It’s their sixth semifinal (to France’s first). Abby Wombach entered the tournament with more appearances and goals than the entire French team combined. They also have an 11-0-1 all-time record. The Americans should be favorites, but Les Bleues were expected to face a tough battle with Canada and crushed them 4-0.

For fans of the men’s team, the tactical matchup should look familiar. Pia Sundhage plays a straight-forward, physical 4-4-2. France will play a 4-2-3-1, outnumber the American girls in midfield and use their passing and ball skill to their advantage. Keep an eye on Becky Sauerbrun who will replace red-carded Rachel Buehler in central defense. The U.S. must bottle France’s long-range shooting and crossing nearly as proficient as their own.

The U.S. must show more attacking impetus than they did for much of the Brazil match to hit the weak French defending. If they get trapped in a Somme-like standoff, they could be in trouble. The match kicks off at 11:30 in Bristol, noon everywhere else.

Odds and Ends: Interesting read from Grant Wahl on this team distinguishing itself from the iconic 1999 group. Also, here’s Hope Solo’s trading card.

[Photo via Getty]

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