Match Day 2
Tight Tournament So Far
England 1-2 France
The first match on Wednesday saw England dominate the first half of play. They scored a well-deserved goal and went into halftime up 1-0 over a French side that hadn't yet found its stride.
Everything changed in the second half, with France applying all the pressure and equalizing once their superstars Eugénie Le Sommer, Camille Abily and Wendie Renard joined starter Amandine Henry off the bench.
But England could not defend the final set piece of the match, and Renard escaped her markers to greet a corner kick with the deciding header into the back of the net. England keeper Karen Bardsley retrieved the ball only to hear the final whistle, notching another last gasp defeat for England in a match they performed well enough to win. So close, England.
USA 1-0 Germany
The USA found a goal to defeat Germany on a pinball play after Christen Press intercepted an attempted pass, ran at the defense before cutting inside to fire a curling winner that plunked the crossbar and landed at the feet of Tobin Heath, whose strike hit a defender, bouncing near Lynn William. Williams retreated, composed her body and slung a low shot past the diving German goalkeeper Almuth Schult, sending the 16,318 fans in attendance into hysterics.
The goal gave the USWNT confidence, and they looked the more threatening side for most of the rest of the match. Alyssa Naeher made a few saves, including one very important diving effort, to preserve a clean sheet.
The USA and France sit atop the tournament with three points each, while England and Germany will look to get back on track when they face each other on Saturday afternoon.
France v Germany
Germany and France were organized and relaxed during their 45-minute warmup periods at Red Bull Arena on Friday. By virtue of having scored twice in their first match, France currently holds the tie breaker of goals scored over the USA. But it's a long way to Tuesday night and there is much more work to do.
France looked pretty good in the second half on Wednesday, but will want to make sure that they don't give up cheap goals to a Germany squad who will feel this match must be theirs.
BOLD (bad) Prediction:
Wendie Renard is a royal menace on set pieces, and England couldn't mark her on the last corner of the match on Wednesday. But Germany may have a foil for her, as Alex Popp is the type of player with the size and aerial skill to keep Renard off the scoresheet.
Ultimately, I think France's forwards and attacking mids are too much for the German defense.
France 2-1 Germany
USA v England
Oh England. May the USA take pity on you and not wait until the very last second to score a winner. If the visitors can produce the quality that they showed in the first half of their match against France, they may be able to unlock the 3-back of their hosts. Ellen White was very lively early on, with Jordan Nobbs making a nuisance of herself throughout. England may be able to bypass the American midfield entirely at times via Steph Houghton's pinpoint passing from the back. I expect a more open match, with England tactically hoping to keep the USA out of possession as much as possible.
BOLD (bad) Prediction:
Alex Scott is out injured for England, which does them no favors across their back line. England is an easy team to root for, having lost so many major matches in dreadful, late fashion over the past few years. It would be nice for them to get a win here. But I don't think they can quite keep up with the American attack for a full match. Maybe Tuesday, England. Germany might give you a chance.
USA 3-1 England