Women's World Cup 2011 Q-Final: Brazil vs US

Brazil vs United States
FIFA Women's World Cup
Rudolf-Harbig-Stadium, Germany
Sunday, 10th July 2011
15:30 GMT (10:30 CST)

This is not the matchup either team wanted, but Brazil may be even more upset by this than the United States.

Brazil does not play friendly matches, so the group stages are their warm-ups, and they used them accordingly. They were cagey against Australia, but they broke it open with three goals against Norway and Equatorial Guinea each. Marta and her team have looked good, but they haven't looked great, and they won't be happy about facing the US.

Brazil beat the US in the semis in 2007, but that was amidst Hope Solo being benched for Brianna Scurry. In the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, the US beat Brazil in the final match. Overall, the US has drawn twice and lost just twice to Brazil and have won 26 times.

The US lost a group game for the first time on Wednesday with a 2-1 loss to Sweden, and it was not a great match. The defense showed a real lack of pace, which won't be good against Brazil, but the attack was more worrying. The US was never really in sync and simply kept shooting from long range. They were unlucky to see one go just over the bar and another hit the bar, but it is not the kind of play the US will want against Brazil.

They came off looking very upset, but they know what to improve on, and veterans like Christie Rampone and Abby Wambach will need to inspire the youngsters. Brazil have been impressive, but they have yet to face a real challenge. The fact that they never conceded was more the the fact that their opponents let them have possession.

Both Brazil and the US are favorites to win the World Cup, and meeting one of your biggest challengers this early is anything but ideal. Germany is obviously giddy. But on the other hand, if you take out your biggest opponent early on, it leaves the rest of the road relatively clear.

Brazil has the best player in the world, but the US has a deep team of great players and a fantastic keeper who will have a big point to prove.

This will be the quarterfinal game to watch!

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