I’d like to start by thanking Sean for his entertaining rambles while I was out. I’ll have some thoughts from lovely Paris next week because I’ve decided to pick up from last year’s World Cup obituaries for eliminated teams, and go ahead and do some for the women’s World Cup. I’ll attempt to be as brief as possible with the eight eliminated teams.
Ramble of the Day
On the first day off from what has been an entertaining edition of the women’s World Cup, we remember the teams that officially must go home. First up is South Korea, a team that unfortunately announced itself when it was too late. A consolation will be Yeo Min-ji’s 78th minute goal against Norway to make matters interesting on the group’s final day, even if the desired next round arrival never came.
It was South Africa, though, who was the first to confirm its elimination. The team opened up its World Cup by spending 44 minutes leading Spain, only to come crashing down from that high by losing 3-1 and having Nothando Vilakazi sent off. It was, in a nutshell, South Africa: fun and entertaining, prone to mistakes, with the second possibly contributing to the first.
After a journey of oppression and inspiration, Jamaica also failed to launch at the World Cup. In France, though, the team was ultimately overmatched by its very strong opponents. A highlight will be goalkeeper Sydney Schneider’s performance against Brazil, who did all she could to keep the deficit as low as possible.
Like Jamaica, Argentina came to the World Cup with its own story of an unhelpful federation and the courage to bring an inactive national team back into the international game. Hardly the most interesting team on the field, the defensive style was a necessity, and it ultimately paid off. The team’s incredibly unlikely 0-0 draw and goalkeeper Vanina Correra’s individual efforts will remain extremely memorable moments of this World Cup.
As one of the four World Cup newcomers, Scotland made a habit of arriving a little bit too late against England and Japan, going down 2-0 and pulling a goal back with little time left. It spiced things up in games, and the performances matched that idea at times. That said, a sour taste might be the lasting one after conceding a 3-0 lead when Argentina scored 3 goals in the final 20 minutes.
New Zealand has become a World Cup regular, but was one of the more frustrating teams in France. Boasting elite players, manager Tom Sermanni opted to have his side play conservatively, but hardly out of need. The result was performances — particularly in the match against Canada — that had no proactivity to them, resulting in an annoyingly boring show.
Like many of the other teams eliminated in the group stage, Chile found it tough to play against evidently stronger teams. Goalkeeper Christiane Endler, though, enjoyed a standout World Cup debut, keeping Chile alive until the very end, as the team was only a goal away from advancing.
Thailand became news of the world after a 13-0 loss to the United States, which it handled gracefully. Eventually, though, their journey was about more than just that; it became about its own aspirations — in addition to enjoying the opportunity that comes with a World Cup, the team was also able to enjoy its first ever goal at the tournemnt through Kanjana Sungngoen’s stoppage time goal against Sweden.
tl;dr: So long, South Korea, South Africa, Jamaica, Argentina, Scotland, New Zealand, Chile, and Thailand.
Links of the Day
FIFPro has expressed concerns for players at the Africa Cup of Nations regarding the intense heat and humidity expected during several matches.
A pilot has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in relation to the death of Emiliano Sala.
FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura has been appointed general delegate for Africa in an attempt to improve the governing bodies on the continent.
Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin walked the runway during Louis Vuitton’s men’s spring/summer 2019-2020 show in Paris.
Transfer updates: Atlético Madrid has signed Marcos Llorente from Real Madrid
Today’s longer read: Allison McCann on forms of expression — and the lack of on-field issues — for female footballers styling their hair and wearing makeup for The New York Times