Women's World Cup 2011 Semifinals, USA Vs. France: USWNT Looks To Advance In More Convincing Fashion

When the United States women took on Brazil, they were taking on a team who matched them in talent, but not in tactical awareness, fitness, or discipline. In France, the USA will be taking on a team who might not match them for natural talent, but who definitely matches them for tactical awareness and discipline, and who probably beats them in technical skill. Fitness is a toss-up, but either way, it's obvious that the USWNT's semifinal opponent for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup is much different than their quarterfinal opponent.

France certainly went about beating England the hard way. They needed an 88th minute equalizer just to force extra time, in which no goals were scored. In the penalty shootout, star midfielder Camille Abily missed the first penalty kick, but was bailed out when neither Claire Lafferty, nor Ellen White could convert for England at the end.

So, France and the United States have a lot in common. They're both wildly talented teams who have enough firepower to win the tournament, but both have made things very difficult on themselves so far. Insert cliche here about something having to give.

The USWNT will be without arguably their best defender, Rachel Buehler. After taking down Marta in the box and denying a clear goal scoring opportunity, she was shown a straight red card. As a result, she is suspended for this match. Instead of moving now left back Amy LePeilbet into her natural position in the middle, putting Stephanie Cox in at left back, coach Pia Sundhage is going like-for-like. Reportedly, the WPS iron woman Becky Sauerbrunn, who had not missed a single WPS game before getting called up for the World Cup, will start in Buehler's place.

Sundhage isn't likely to make changes to the rest of her lineup, even though she probably should. Megan Rapinoe has proven that she's too good to sit on the bench, while Amy Rodriguez hasn't been terribly impressive. Sundhage is incredbly loyal, though, perhaps to a fault. Rodriguez is her starting striker, and a few rough performances isn't going to change that.

A spot on the final is on the line Wednesday when France and the United States face off. In a match between two immensely talented, but flawed teams, the result is anyone's guess.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.