After captivating the American public and the rest of the world for that matter with their penalty-shootout win over Brazil on July 10th, the USA will take on France in Moenchengladbach, Germany on July 13th in the semi-finals of the 2011 Women’s World Cup. The French made it this far courtesy of their shootout win over England after playing to a 1-1 draw on July 9th.
The American and French women played similar games in their quarterfinal matchups with both squads showing the heart and determination of champions. France found themselves trailing England 1-0 after the 59th minute. However, they turned up the heat and tied the game with just two minutes to go when Elise Bussaglia found the back of the net with a perfectly placed lob over English goalkeeper Karen Bardsley. The French never took their foot off the pedal after that and went on to win the match 4-3 on penalties after nothing was decided in 30 minutes of extra time.
The Americans were in worse trouble during their match against Brazil as they fell behind 2-1 in extra time and were down to just 10 players after Rachel Buehler was sent off with a red card in the 65th minute. However, they refused to give up and tied the game late when Abby Wambach headed in an excellent cross from Megan Rapinoe with just seconds to go. The riveting contest ended with the U.S. winning 5-3 on penalties.
These two games may have drained a lot of energy and emotion out of both the American and French players and they’re going to have to recharge their batteries in a hurry. The U.S. will have to do without Buehler against France due to her red card in the Brazil game, but everybody else seems to be healthy and raring to go.
France has been one of the best teams in the tournament so far with group stage wins over Nigeria (1-0) and Canada (4-0) before being beaten 4-2 by host nation Germany in their thrilling group finale. In fact France is one of the hottest women’s teams in the world right now as they won all 10 games in their qualifying campaign, outscoring the opposition 50-0.
The Americans won two of their group games, beating North Korea 2-0 and Colombia 3-0 before losing to a 2-1 to a tough Swedish side.
Sportsbook 5Dimes.com has the odds of a USA win at +105, with a France victory listed at +292, and the odds of a draw after minutes at +243. 5Dimes offers the best soccer betting odds you can find online.
The Americans are ranked number one in the world by FIFA right now, but there seemed to be something lacking in their group stage games. However, the spark definitely returned to the squad against Brazil. The tough part now will be trying to maintain their momentum. Seventh-ranked France has been a breath of fresh air in the World Cup so far with their all-out attacking style and this sets up the potential for an exciting semi final with both teams loaded with offensive power.
There’s a fine line here between a one-goal win and going to another penalty shootout. With the USA being rejuvenated against Brazil, look for them to take this tough game by a single goal after 90 minutes.
Pick: USA +105
The Women’s World Cup is slowly coming to an end with only 4 teams left battling for the title. After this tournament completes soccer betting fans will have to start looking ahead to the Euro 2012 betting to get their International fix.