Soccer Magazine

I've Decided to Care About the Women's World Cup

By Thetoaststaff
It's true.
You'd imagine someone who co-runs a soccer blog would be a connoisseur of all things football. You couldn't be more wrong. For instance, I absolutely cannot watch anything out of La Liga, MLS, or the entire country of Italy.
After Brandi Chastain's epic shirt removal in 1999, I shelved women's soccer for, as it turns out, 12 years. Sorry, guys -- er, gals. Flash forward to the morning of June 28, 2011 (or as it's more affectionately known: yesterday). ESPN3.com was coming in particularly handy as I prepped 28 candy gift-jars for an unspecified event for an unspecified Major League Baseball team. The options were limited, and since I only care about Wimbledon once it gets to the semifinals or so, Sweden v. Colombia it was.
In a nutshell: surprisingly entertaining. Not only did tens of people show up for this epic group stage matchup, it also featured roughly half the amount of flops as that of its male counterpart (and I'm not talking about half from a Spain/Italy match either, but of two countries who value standing up and playing actual football).
Sold.
Now here's 5 layperson reasons why you should buy in too:
1. Unite against Germany (again!) - Nothing against the country as a whole, but no national team should win three consecutive World Cups. Admittedly, it will be a hard team to root against. They released a relatively effective/possibly NSFW-ish preemptive strike to stave off this kind of anti-Deutschland sentiment.
2. The United States goes for record 3rd all-time World Cup - So this one runs along the same lines as number one, but the recent German success in the Women's World Cup has brought them even with the Lady Yanks on all-time titles: 2. I think it's about time we go ahead and snag number three and get back out in front. It's fun having an American team as the best in the world of international football.
3. Alex Morgan/Heather Mitts - Heather Mitts is the 33 year-old United States defender/bombshell making her World Cup debut after consecutive scratches (due to injury) in 2003 and 2007. Finally healthy, she's officially emerged from husband AJ Feeley's (who?) "shadow". Alex Morgan, aside from this being her first World Cup and just her general, overall drop dead gorgeousness, is exactly opposite of Mitts. The 21 year-old is a speedy forward fresh out of Cal Berkeley. She has seven goals in 20 senior squad matches, almost exclusively coming off the bench. She's deadly quick, powerful, and clinical, and she can do things like this:

And this:

4. You don't want to cross Hope Solo - The US keeper is feisty. After giving up only two goals in four matches, Solo was benched for the more "experienced" Briana Scurry for the semifinal match against Brazil in the 2007 World Cup. It didn't work out. Hope was dismissed from the team, missing their third place matchup with Norway. Three months later coach Greg Ryan's contract was not renewed, and today Hope is considered arguably the best keeper in the world. She got her ultimate revenge at the 2008 Summer Olympics when she shut out Brazil in the finals to earn America the gold:

5. See #3.
Now that you're on board, get caught up with highlights from the matches that have already taken place:
Nigeria 0, France 1
Germany 2, Canada 1
Japan 2, New Zealand 1
Mexico 1, England 1
USA 2, North Korea 1
Colombia 0, Sweden 1

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