Just a few short days after the amazing comeback win by Team USA to defeat Brazil in penalty kicks on Sunday, the Americans will be back on the field for their FIFA Women's World Cup semifinal match against France. The event was moving along with about as much coverage and interest as you might expect in the United States for a women's soccer tournament until Abby Wambach and Hope Solo led their team in a transcendental victory.
Next up for the gritty American team is France on Wednesday, July 13. The contest kicks off at 12:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 a.m. PT on ESPN. Live online streaming is available at ESPN3 and at other less official corners of the Internet.
France arrives in the semifinals having defeated England in a match that was also decided after 30 minutes of extra time in penalty kicks. Both sides will be somewhat tired but the French had an extra full day of recovery. Team USA was also forced to play the final 55 minutes of their quarterfinal against Brazil with only 10 players on the field. Fortunately, fitness is a strength of the American side.
Keeping up with and disrupting the French 4-2-3-1 formation and midfield possession game will be key according to Sports Illustrated's Georgina Turner, "With five in midfield -- all of them comfortable on the ball and passing in tight, impenetrable triangles -- France could overwhelm the U.S. in the center."
The U.S. will be without starting central defender Rachel Buehler who will miss the semifinals due to the controversial red card that she was given for a tackle in the box against Brazilian star, Marta.
Coach Pia Sundhage announced that Becky Sauerbrunn would start in place of Buehler despite being just one of two position players who's not seen any action yet in the World Cup. An alternative to Sauerbrunn would have been to move Arizona State graduate Amy LePeilbet to central defense and start Stephanie Cox on the left side.