U.S. women prepare for quarterfinals with favorable path to medal round

USWomen (Getty Images)

The U.S. women's national team has never failed to reach a gold medal game at the Olympics, and with the way things are set up, it would be quite the stunner if they failed to do so this time around.

The bracket has unfolded quite favorably for the U.S. women, who took gold in 1996, 2004 and 2008 and settled for silver in 2000 after falling to Norway in the final. Pia Sundhage's squad has a date against New Zealand in Friday's quarterfinal that will potentially be followed by a semifinal against host Great Britain or Canada.

By contrast, the other side of the bracket is brutal, with powers Japan, Brazil, Sweden and France all duking it out for a place in the final.

It should be noted that New Zealand is no pushover. The Football Ferns nearly sprung an upset over the U.S. women during a February friendly in Frisco, Texas, until Alex Morgan struck in the 88th minute and again in stoppage time to deliver a 2-1 victory. In the group stage, New Zealand succumbed to second-half goals in 1-0 losses to Great Britain and Brazil before coasting by Cameroon 3-1 to reach the quarterfinals as a third-place qualifier.

The United States received an injury boost with the word that veteran defensive midfielder Shannon Boxx is reportedly available for Friday after missing the last two matches with a hamstring injury. With the way Carli Lloyd has played for the U.S. women, she is likely to retain her place in the starting lineup against New Zealand, but having Boxx is a boon for the Americans, who could use the experienced depth considering the amount of minutes the starters played during the group stage.

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Do you see the U.S. women having a clear path to the final? Are you apprehensive about the quarterfinal matchup? Do you see Great Britain or Canada providing resistance in a potential semifinal? Which team do you see getting through to the final from the other side of the women's bracket?

Share your thoughts below.

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13 Responses to U.S. women prepare for quarterfinals with favorable path to medal round

  1. THomas says:

    Gold

  2. BadWolf says:

    Ives you need to Hashtag (#London2012) your tweets – on US Women Olympic football many in Europe following them.

  3. gbleather says:

    I don’t think having Boxx back is any value other than depth. In fact, it is kind of dangerous becuase Pia seems to love putting her in starting lineups for some unknown reason.

  4. That unknown reason is that Boxx is the strong defensive midfield presence that the U.S. needs and has often lacked.

  5. biff says:

    I’ll admit it: The Hope Solo tweet attack on Brandi Chastain still weighs heavy. Would actually like to see Solo on the bench tomorrow. If she would have apologized when she had the chance, she could have put it all behind. But instead, she attacks even harder the second time two days later and not a single word of reprimand from Pia Sundhage or team leaders. Their silence makes you wonder. Still support the team and hoping for gold, just disappointed.

  6. Phillypride says:

    Are you serious!? Why would the team publicly divide and criticize its goal keeper in defense of a media member? Her criticisms weren’t all that harsh anyway.

  7. Cliff says:

    The Solo tweets were way overblown. She was sticking up for her defenders. Don’t you think her teammates are probably in FAVOR of that?

  8. beachbum says:

    I disagree. The women have gone by this by now seems to me, but Solo’s focus on unloading on Chastain was weird, saying that she didn’t understand tactics and other BS…just overreacting in general, melodramatic

    you can stick up for your defenders in any number of other ways besides calling out a USWNT legend

    on the other hand, I think Abby gettng mugged with no call being made, nd her subsequent shiner, and how she responded to all those shenanigans, overshadows all of this and is a true team galvanizer, Solo’s tangent notwithstanding

  9. somedude says:

    Hope Kelley O’hara has a great game against New Zealand, she had an awful game against them last time. What a great birthday present to herself.

  10. GW says:

    If Solo’s attack had been on Lalas, if he had been the commentator, would you feel the same way?

    Brandi may or may not know what she is talking about. I dno’t know because I can barely understand what she is saying, mostly because she is painful to listen to. Life is too short to listen to such people.

  11. GW says:

    Boxx is a defensive presence, the only one the US has as far as I can tell. If they lose the gold it will be because they are fundamentally unsound defensively, especially their defenders ( sorry Hope, don’t tase me).

  12. biff says:

    It’s irrelevant whether Brandi Chastain is a good TV commentator or not (although I will say at this level of soccer TV coverage I find her in the middle of the pack, with some worse and some better). It is obvious that Solo standing up for Buhler was just pretext for an attack on Chastain for one reason or another. Sundhage and the team captains spoke out after the first attack sort of — but not directly — implying that they would prefer not to have the distraction during the Olympics. And what does Solo do, two days later instead of apologizing she splashes more mean-spirited oil on the fire.

    Hope Solo stands by critical tweets, wants no more questions
    link to usatoday.com

    I think it was selfish of Solo to continue the attacks when the team is trying to win gold. The team does not need bad vibes off-field, which are no doubt now there. Plus, she is not acting like a very good role model for girls dreaming of one day playing on the national soccer team. But as I say, hoping for gold and wishing the ladies all the best.

  13. GW says:

    I really doubt this is much of a distraction.

    And as for needing a pretext to attack Brandi, I don’t see Solo needing much of an excuse to rip anyone a new one.

    Brandi’s a big girl. And she is right about one thing,the defense on this team is a potential achilles heel.