Thoughts on the Cup will surely be bubbling up to the surface for the next week or so. Kudos to Christie Rampone and Amy LePeilbet. Despite Rampone's unfortunate shaky second or two yesterday, she is a complete fucking rock on the back line, Lyme disease and all. Scooting her over to the left center back position took some heat off LePeilbet and allowed LP to be mostly competent and occasionally nifty as an attacking outside back against both France and Japan. Kudos to Becky Sauerbrunn for stepping in against France and turning in a thoroughly professional job in a semifinal after seeing the field for exactly zero minutes in the previous tournament games. Oh, Ali Krieger. She had a rough game, hitting a couple of uncharacteristically bad passes that stood out mainly because they were so inconsistent with her otherwise completely solid and reliable play throughout the tournament. She also dropped her mark a few times, although nothing untoward came of it. I do not put the first Japan goal on her at all. The ball was blasted at her from six feet away, dead in front of the goal; it hit her foot at a poor position for a one-touch clearance, directly under her hip, and with an onrushing attacker she didn't have time to touch it to a better position to get a full-strength swing at it. Hard luck.
Kudos to Rapinoe, or, as one of my friends kept mangling it during the game, Ra-pony. She may have been slightly more effective in the later games as a supersub coming on with fresh legs to torment tired defenses than as a starter in the opening games, but yesterday she was a solid left midfielder, even if she may have run herself into the ground by the end. I wonder if occasionally switching sides with HAO would have confused the Japan defense a little, a la the switching in the France match, but the team's overall inability to finish probably makes it moot. Kudos to Cheney, playing 44 decent minutes on a torqued ankle. If she hadn't been hurt, maybe the outcome would have been different. Ah, soccer.
Not-kudos to announcers (both ESPN and Fox Soccer) who still don't seem to get that offside is judged on the position of the attacker's body parts with which it is legal to score. The graphic with the line drawn across the field at the defender's feet is a useful start, but if the attacker's head, chest, or ass is forward of the defender's head/chest/ass/knee/anything but the arm, the attacker is offside. And the high and slightly oblique camera shot used for those graphics cannot physically show the relative positions of anything but the feet. In other words, your feet might be even with the defender's, but if you're leaning forward with your upper body or or just your head even a little bit past the defender, you're off. So some of the "controversial" offside calls (Ohno yesterday, Schelin Saturday) may not have looked controversial at all, if the camera were at field level directly in line with the assistant referee. Also, it's "offside." Not "offsides." Kate and Julie, I'm looking at you.
Much more to come, I'm sure.