U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd and Defender/Captain Christie Rampone get in the Old Glory Spirit for the Opening Ceremonies. Photo via @CarliLloyd on Twitter.
We’re all about the Olympics today, as the women’s tournament resumes today. World Champion Japan faced Sweden in a rematch of the World Cup semifinal, Brazil is currently taking on New Zealand, and at noon EST we’ll be treated to the U.S. vs Colombia, another World Cup group stage rematch. Looks like North Korea will remain in the Games, after threatening to pull out following the South Korean flag debacle, as they take on France later this afternoon, and Team Great Britain will face first-time Olympic participants, Cameroon.
While the women’s tournament has gone pretty much as expected so far, the opening matches of the men’s tournament weren’t without shockers. Following in the footsteps of their female counterparts, Japan stunned Spain and Brazil didn’t quite live up to the billing as yet another gold medal favorite.
More on today’s news and Olympic matchups below, and don’t forget to scroll down for a few non-Olympic tidbits!
2012 London Olympics
The U.S. Women’s National Team was unable to attend the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics last night, due to playing their opening matches in Glasgow, Scotland, but that didn’t stop them from dressing up Ralph Lauren-style to show off their USA spirit!
U.S.A. center-midfielder Shannon Boxx has been ruled out of today’s match against Colombia due to the hamstring she injured in the first half of the U.S.’s win over France on Wednesday. Boxx is listed as day-to-day and hopes to get back on the field later in the tournament. In the meantime, Carli Lloyd, who scored the game-winner against France, will start in Boxx’s place. Undeterred by losing her starting role for the Olympics, Lloyd has been training harder than ever and is ready for anything, whether she’s scoring goals or “crunching people.”
Did you miss the opening matches of the men’s group stage on Thursday? If so, you probably missed the biggest shocker of the tournament so far, with Japan defeating the World and Euro Champions, Spain, 1-0.
“I was sobbing at the end of the game,” match-winner Otsu told Japanese media after his close-range goal helped Japan beat Spain for the first time at any level.
“We are here to win the gold medal,” added the German-based midfielder, who was tweeting “Please! Please!” from the bench in the second half after being withdrawn with a bruised ankle.
“Japan shock the world!” screamed the Sankei Sports, while the Mainichi Daily’s headline ran “Otsu sinks unbeatable Armada” and the win was a hot topic on Friday’s television talk shows.
Brazil versus Egypt was a tale of two halves, writes NBC’s Jeff Kassouf, and Brazil certainly didn’t look like the favorites to win it all on Thursday.
Japan’s Women’s National Team played to a scoreless draw against Sweden in their second Group F match this morning. After a slow start, Japan turned up the heat in the second half, firing at Swedish keeper Hedvig Lindahl, but Lindahl was able to come up with some big saves to keep her team in it.
Today is U.S. Women’s National Team defender Ali Krieger‘s birthday, and even though Ali isn’t on the Olympic roster, still recovering from ACL surgery, we want to wish her a very happy birthday! We hope to see you back on the pitch soon, Ali!
World Football Challenge
Okay, it’s not all about the Olympics today. The World Football Challenge continues with a matchup between Chelsea and AC Milan tonight in the final match of Chelsea’s U.S. tour. Chelsea will look to get back to its winning ways, after drawing against PSG and losing 3-2 to the MLS All Stars.
Michael Bradley has only been with Roma for a few weeks, but he’s already starting to find success, with a goal and an assist so far in pre-season.
His coach, Zdenak Zeman, is not surprised at Bradley’s early showing. “We knew what his abilities were when we went after him,” says the veteran Czech manager, “and he is showing his quality with team now.”
Bradley is playing in his accustomed central midfield role for the Giallorossi, sometimes sitting deep as a holding midfielder in front of the backline, sometimes ranging forward and joining the attack. Against Liverpool on Wednesday at Fenway, he was in the latter role. Last night against LaSelecta it was the former. Bradley patrolled the area in front of Gabriel Heinze, Nicolas Burdisso, Alessio Romagnoli, and Rodrigo Taddei, winning balls, breaking up attacks, and presenting a passing option as his team built out of the back.
His box-to-box versatility will serve him well in his quest for playing time this season, and he’s happy with his first two weeks with the team.
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