The draw for the FIFA 2011 Women’s World Cup was held today in Frankfurt, Germany, and the 16 teams that qualified found out their fate. The seeded teams in each group were Germany (Group A), Japan (Group B), the United States (Group C), and Brazil (Group D). Here’s how the groups break down: Group A: Germany Canada, Nigeria, and France. Group B: Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, and England. Group C: USA, Korea DPR, Colombia, and Sweden. Group D: Brazil, Australia, Norway, and Equatorial Guinea. The first match is Germany vs. Canada (June 26, 2011) in Berlin. Nigeria plays France on the same day in Sinsheim. The top two teams in group stage advance to the Final Stage, which begins July 9, 2011, with the winner of Group A facing the second place team from Group B. That match will take place in Wolfsburg. The finals are set for July 17, 2011, in Frankfurt.
The U.S. beat Italy 1-0 (2-0 aggregate) Saturday afternoon in Illinois to secure a spot in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Amy Rodriguez scored in the 40th minute at Toyota Park and that’s all the U.S. needed to win the CONCACAF/UEFA playoff and reach the World Cup. The draw takes place Monday, Nov. 29, in Frankfurt, Germany. The host nation, Germany, is in Group A and will play its first match on June 26, 2011, its second match on June 30, and its third and final group stage match July 5. In addition to the U.S. (CONCACAF) and Germany (UEFA), the other 14 teams that will take part in the 2011 World Cup are: Brazil (CONMEBOL), Colombia (CONMEBOL), Nigeria (AWC), Equatorial Guinea (AWC), Canada (CONCACAF), Mexico (CONCACAF), New Zealand (Oceania), England (UEFA), Sweden (UEFA), Norway (UEFA), France (UEFA), Japan (AFC), North Korea (AFC), and Australia (AFC).
All of us at Our Game Magazine would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. This is what we’re thankful for this year …
Tiffany Weimer: “I’m thankful for my unmatched creative humor, good looks, soccer talent and of course my incredibly modest sense of self.”
Bobby Weimer: “I am thankful my sister will be too comatose by food tomorrow to remember to yell at me about the magazine.”
Khaled El-Ahmad: “I am thankful for players and individuals that luv the game the way they do. Rarely do you find the same player evolvement as you do in women’s soccer. The vision and mission (and) the players involved in Our Game Magazine have taken upon themselves is inspiring not just for the fans themselves but also the game. Where in any other sport are current professional athletes taking matters in their hand, spending their free time to improve the game they love. Answer is: nowhere? This is unique, more specially than you can imagine, and I wish more athletes and people took responsibility for the profession they love to do/play. For me that is soccer luv!”
Leslie Osborne: “I am thankful for so much in my life. My loved ones being healthy and so close to me in my life. I am grateful for the opportunities and people I continue to encounter and experience in my life.”
Alyssa Naeher: “I’m thankful for my friends and family.”
Meagan McCray: “This year I’m thankful for the soccer gods keeping me healthy and giving me the opportunity to play my first minutes professionally. And within those first minutes, letting me get absolutely creamed with three goals against (Philadelphia) in a matter of 15 minutes. But on a serious note, I’m truly thankful to be living out a dream with the support of my friends and family and cherishing all the greatness and learning from all the challenges that come about during it.”
Gloria Averbuch: “Among the obvious (like good health and the dream of world peace), I am thankful for the “beautiful game” that has given my children and my family a platform for physical fitness, camaraderie, ambition, success, joy, and life lessons. And I am grateful for the increasing ability to watch the game for the sheer joy of it, and to “stay out of it” as my daughters age, and my soccer mom role fades into a mere memory–thankfully!”
Kat Galsim: “I am thankful for the turkeys who used to chase me around my grandfather’s farm. They taught me that, sometimes, farm animals are more powerful than humans.”
Michelle Chang: “I’m thankful for my teammates who are the 48 best friends that anybody can have.”
Ryan Wood: “I’m thankful to have been given the opportunity to work with such great people, to write about the best sport in the world. I’m extremely thankful that there are 11 Dunkin’ Donuts locations on my 20-minute ride to work.”
Karie Mikel: “I am thankful to be playing a part in Our Game.”
And from our two Canadian writers, who actually celebrated Thanksgiving Day on October 11 as everyone in Canada does …
Carmelina Moscato: “I am thankful for Americans (in general), Tiffany’s sarcasm, Leslie’s fashion sense and meatballs!”
Ciara McCormack: “I’m thankful for being Canadian, getting to have someone as great as Carm from the same country and for getting to celebrate Thanksgiving and eat our turkey six weeks before Americans.”
In the August issue of Our Game Magazine, we featured the Norwegian club Lillestrøm S.K. (LSK Kvinner) in our Club Spotlight. The team was at the halfway point of the Toppserien season. At the time, LSK Kvinner had a record of 8-4 and was in fifth place heading into the one-and-a-half month break. The Toppserien season recently wrapped up, and LSK Kvinner finished mid-table (sixth place) with 11 wins, 8 losses, and 3 draws. Stabæk FK won the Toppserien with a record of 17-0-5.
For LSK Kvinner this season, 17-year-old Cathrine Dekkerhus led the team with seven goals, followed by Mari Knudsen with five, and Ida Elise Enget and Ella Masar with four goals each. Masar came on late in the season, having played a full season in Women’s Professional Soccer with the Chicago Red Stars. Masar joined LSK Kvinner in September following the WPS season. She went out on loan to the Norwegian club, making her second stint with the team. She played her first match Sept. 20 and had two assists in the 2-2 draw.
The Colombian Women’s National Team made history Sunday in Ecuador, beating Argentina, 1-0, to qualify for the 2011 Women’s World Cup. This will be the first World Cup appearance for Colombia. In addition to a win over Argentina, the Colombians needed Brazil to beat Chile in the second and final game of the CONMEBOL qualifiers Sunday afternoon, and the Brazilians did. They beat Chile, 3-1. In Colombia’s historic win, Ingrid Vidal scored in the 51st minute to send Colombia to Germany. It was Vidal’s second goal of the tournament.
Eight days ago, Alex Morgan was playing in the first round of the NCAA tournament. She assisted on California’s lone goal in its 2-1 loss to Duke. Saturday in Padova, Italy, Morgan played a much bigger role on a much bigger stage and became a national hero in the eyes of U.S. women’s soccer. In the 94th minute of the U.S. vs. Italy CONCACAF/UEFA playoff, Morgan scored off an assist from Abby Wambach to give the U.S. a 1-0 win and an advantage heading into the second and final leg of the playoff (which takes place Saturday, Nov. 27 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., at 1 p.m. Central time. The match will be broadcast on ESPN3.com).
Following the game, Wambach talked about Morgan’s heroics: “One of the top-five biggest goals in this team’s history I think. Not that I’ve been a part of all of them, but I’ve been involved in a few big goals and for a 21-year-old to come on the field and make that kind of difference to give us the edge to potentially qualify for the World Cup … that’s huge. You can’t put a word or an emotion to it. It’s just the biggest goal of her career.”
Morgan added: “I saw that long ball and Abby is great flicking with her head, so I just tried to get myself in a good position for her to flick it on, cut off the defender once I received the ball and drove it past the ‘keeper. Great feeling.”
The U.S. not only has a 1-0 advantage, it has a one away-goal advantage, so essentially the team can play to a scoreless draw and still qualify for the World Cup.
In Ecuador Sunday, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia are looking to become the second and final team to reach the World Cup from the CONMEBOL qualifiers. Brazil is already in. Here are the scenarios for the remaining teams: Argentina can qualify if it beats Colombia and Brazil beats Chile or if Argentina beats Colombia and Brazil draws with Chile. Chile can qualify if it beats or draws with Brazil and Colombia and Argentina draw. Colombia can qualify if it beats Argentina and Brazil beats Chile or if it beats Argentina and Brazil draws with Chile. The games take place at noon (Colombia vs. Argentina) and 2 p.m. (Brazil vs. Chile) local time in Ecuador.