Welcome to your weekly dose of current events from the world of cup-related soccer tournaments taking place around you and around the world. Well, at least the two tournaments that we all have, or had, vested interest in. Now, your moment of beautiful game-inspired zen…the All-Cup Weekly Round-Up!
The 2023 Women’s World Cup, Mates?
- Sadly, they were who we thought they were: There’s no use piling on or going overboard with the criticism at this point because, as US fans, we’re all disappointed with the USWNT’s early exit from the 2023 World Cup. While elimination wasn’t made any easier by the fact that a shootout goal for Sweden was a millimeter away from not being a goal in their favor, advancing far looked like it was going to be a tall task for our squad. Contrary to most years, the USWNT did not look like the best team in the tournament. You could even make the argument they were the most talented team in the World Cup, but in terms of playing cohesively and consistently, the U.S. Women just didn’t feel like they were all on the same page with each other in ways that nations had been. Lots of changes are coming to the lineup, so things will look different four years from now, but I expect the greatness to return.
- For those about to retire, we salute you: Let us all now take a moment to appreciate the legendary talent that we have likely seen the last of in a USWNT kit.
- Megan. Freaking. Rapinoe. The 38-year-old forward is a trailblazer in every sense of the word, and obviously that goes for off-the-field as much as it does on-the-field. Some say she’s brash, but Karen…it takes bold people to make great leaders. Rapinoe has provided that to the USWNT for years, and those will surely be big boots to fill and colorful hair highlights to replace. Thank you, Megan.
- Julie. Freaking. Ertz. Another pillar of the USWNT we’ve come to know and love over the years. Her tenacious defense has been a constant for the national team, and even with a less-than-ideal showing overall, she did help lead the defensive efforts for the U.S. to notch three straight shutout performances in this World Cup. Maybe she changes her mind after the sting of this Cup wears off, but if not, she’ll go down as one of the greatest to don the crest. Thank you, Julie.
- Previous FIFA World Cup winner still in tournament: Some people may like to kick someone when they're down, but I wouldn’t include myself in that category.
- How Swede it is: Just five days after ousting the USWNT, Sweden sent Japan, the 2011 Cup winners, packing after a 2-1 win that sets up a date with Spain in the semifinals.
- “Accidents” happen: We’ve all been there…making that one clumsy, completely unintentional misstep, followed by the hilarity that ensues amongst our peers…right, Lauren James?
- In other news, England’s Lauren James issues an apology: For what, I’m not entirely sure 😉 …but I’m guessing Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie felt like it was warranted…
- Sam & The Matildas to face France: Australians, rejoice! Your favorite all-female punk band has a shot to reach the final four of the 2023 World Cup that you also just happen to be hosting! This Saturday’s matchup with Les Bleues will be a tough matchup for the Aussies, but with Sam Kerr back in the lineup, they’re operating at a higher level than when they limped out of the gates to start the tourney. Rock on, Matildas…and good luck.
- Two in, two to go for Semifinals: Going into the weekend, we already have half of the final four teams set for the Semifinal stage. After doing away with Japan, Sweden has already qualified, as has Spain, following their win over the Netherlands this past Thursday. Along with the Aussies facing France on Saturday, that match will be followed by England taking on Columbia, who continues to surprise and make its way deeper into the tournament than any other time in its World Cup history. Bottom line, it’s going to be a very exciting, very soccer-y Saturday.
The 2023 Leagues Cup of Southern-Fried Soul
- The Country Music Capital awaits: And, your Loons are looking to give all the local songwriters some more sad things to write about. Hopefully, the boys will make things as achy-breaky as possible for the Nashville SC faithful.
- The Dayne Train keeps chugging: Don’t look now, but the Canadian Clutch Express is making a stop in Nashville! But, the DSC-CCE has been making plenty of stops lately, and in the biggest, most pressure-filled spots. His Leagues Cup performance has been on another level than we have seen from him this season, and more in line with the young goalie’s confidence he exhibited last season. And, especially in those sudden death shootout scenarios, it’s something that can only serve this team well whenever it returns to MLS season play…but let’s hope it won’t be any time soon…
- Bongi is HIM: Just a pregame reminder that Bongi’s run of form isn't like the other boys in the Leagues Cup band. In fact, Bongi is the only player in MNUFC history to record a brace (or more) in three consecutive matches. The kid is feeling it, and ready to take Nashville by storm…and hopefully, help get y’all more free McDonald’s french fries.
- Messi, maybe?!: Ok, before we all predetermine that Leo will love himself a Jucy Lucy and probably decide to summer on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, let’s not jinx this, people. We still need two wins (as does Messi) to make Minnesotan soccer dreams come true. Take a breath…and let the chips fall where they may...
- Liga MX is VAR-y frustrated: Liga MX has released a statement that calls on CONCACAF to reevaluate the officiating and VAR procedures of the Leagues Cup. The official statement did not provide actual examples as to what specific issues Liga MX has had with officials or VAR decisions, so we’re not really sure what the fuss is about. Either way, Liga MX must be hangry…so can someone get them a whaa-burger with some french cries before they have another tantrum?