The Women’s World Cup, which opens this week, is the biggest in its 32-year history, but it may also be the most open field the tournament has seen.
While plenty of the 32 teams descending on Australia and New Zealand probably have modest ambitions for the next month, it is not a stretch to say that almost half of the field might regard themselves as serious title contenders. (Some more accurately than others.) These 10 countries are the most likely to stick around all the way until the end.
Two things can be true at once. By common consensus, Vlatko Andonovski’s team arrived in New Zealand as the favorite to win the tournament. It has the aura of experience, the dazzling jolt of youth and the deep bedrock of talent to lift a third straight World Cup. It has a psychological edge, too: It has been the game’s superpower for so long that respect can manifest as awe.
At the same time, the undisputed primacy the United States has enjoyed for more than a decade has never been more fragile. There is a risk that this squad will fail the Goldilocks test: Some players are too old, some are too young, and so perhaps none are just right. Europe’s major nations have closed the gap. In the space of a month last year, the Americans lost to England, Spain and Germany. The United States has the squad to emerge as champion. But for the first time in some time, it is not alone in that.
Expectation hangs heavy on Sarina Wiegman’s England. The Lionesses won the European Championship on home soil last summer, the team’s first major honor, and followed that with a victory in the Finalissima — a game between the European and South American champions — earlier this year. Winning the World Cup would be the natural conclusion to a trajectory that has been on a steep upward curve for 10 years.
Fate, though, has intervened. Wiegman has lost her captain, Leah Williamson; her most creative player, Fran Kirby; and her most potent attacking threat, Beth Mead, to injury. Millie Bright made the squad but is still, strictly speaking, recovering from knee surgery. Wiegman is an astute enough coach — and she has enough talent at her disposal — to disguise those losses. But she will be doing so on the fly.
It is difficult not to see the co-host less as “Australia” and more as “Sam Kerr and Guests.” At 30, Kerr, the Chelsea striker, may well be the finest player in the world. She is a totem for her country. She is the face of the tournament, the person expected to deliver what she has referred to as a “Cathy Freeman moment.” She is the star on which Australia’s hopes hang.
That assessment is not quite true. Tony Gustavsson’s squad is drawn largely from the major leagues of Europe and the N.W.S.L. In Caitlin Foord, Hayley Raso and Alanna Kennedy, the supporting cast is a strong one. Its momentum, too, is considerable: Australia has won eight of its last nine games, including a milestone victory against England. Kerr will have to deliver, of course, but she is far from alone.
In 2019, the Dutch emerged as the standard-bearer for Europe’s coming force, an advertisement for the game’s shifting power base. They fell agonizingly short, losing to the United States in the final. Progress since then has been patchy, as they have lost Wiegman, who left to coach England, before falling in the quarterfinals of the European Championship last summer.
The core of the team that made the final four years ago — Danielle van de Donk, Jackie Groenen, Jill Roord, Lieke Martens — remains, and the Dutch have the talent to make a deep run once more. Two things stand in their way: the absence of striker Vivianne Miedema through injury and an unfortunate draw for the group stage. The Dutch face the Americans early; defeat in that game will most likely mean a tougher route for the remainder of their stay.
The Canadians have made precious little impact on the latter rounds of the World Cup in the last two decades, extending their stay beyond the first knockout round only once. Yet even that, on home soil in 2015, lasted only until the quarterfinals.
In many ways, it is hard to see that changing this time around. Christine Sinclair is 40; Janine Beckie is out, another victim of women’s soccer’s A.C.L. epidemic; Canada has won only one of its last five games and has been drawn in the same group as Australia. But there is a resilience to this team that should not be underappreciated: It is only two years, after all, since Canada — completely overlooked then as now — won gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
On some level, Brazil’s stay in this World Cup will be seen as Marta’s valedictory tour: a sixth and (presumably) final tournament turned into a lap of honor for a 37-year-old player regarded by some as the best of all time.
It is hard, certainly, to believe that it will end with Marta’s repeating Lionel Messi’s trick and finally winning the honor that would mean more to her than any other. Brazil’s squad is not as strong as previous editions, and none of them were strong enough to overcome the superpowers of North America and Europe, either. Still, in Pia Sundhage, Brazil has a canny, adroit coach, and the likes of Debinha, Kerolin and Geyse mean Marta may not have to bear the load alone.
More than anyone — even England — Spain should be the biggest threat to the United States’ crown this summer. Its national team is, after all, based largely on the Barcelona team that has become the dominant force in European club soccer. Alexia Putellas, while most likely not fully recovered from the knee injury that kept her out of the Euros last year, is the reigning world player of the year. Spain has lost just once in a year.
The problem is that Spain has been engulfed by civil war between the players and the country’s soccer federation since last summer. Though an uneasy truce has been called — allowing some of the 15 players who had demanded the dismissal of the coach, Jorge Vilda, to return — the effects are still being felt. A dozen players are still missing, and Vilda must find a way to instill a team spirit in a squad consisting of both rebels and their replacements.
The Spanish might have had the least ideal preparation for a major tournament, but kudos to the French for giving them a run for their money. Corinne Diacre, the longstanding coach who had lost the faith of a considerable number of her players, was finally ousted in March. She was replaced by Hervé Renard, a globe-trotting coach of some renown but absolutely no experience in the women’s game.
He has, at least, restored some familiar faces to the squad: Wendie Renard and Kadidiatou Diani, both of whom had refused to play under Diacre, are back. Amandine Henry, the vastly experienced midfielder, had been recalled, too, only to suffer a calf injury that will keep her out of the tournament. France’s hopes, now, rest on the new coach’s being able to get the best out of a team he has only just encountered.
If anything at all is certain about this tournament, it is that the Germans will reach the quarterfinals. In eight attempts, they have never failed to do so, and given a kindly group draw — Morocco, Colombia and South Korea — there is little reason to believe they will not make the last eight again.
Whether Coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg can steer her team any further, though, is open to question. Germany has a well-balanced squad — two outstanding goalkeepers, the emerging star power of Lena Oberdorf, the creativity of Lina Magull, the goals of Svenja Huth and Alexandra Popp — and finished as runner-up in last summer’s European Championship. But its form is sputtering: It has lost to Brazil and Zambia in the last couple of months and just squeezed past Vietnam in a warm-up match last month.
Nobody ever thinks about Sweden. Sweden might have one silver and three bronze medals to show for its eight previous World Cups, and it might be a reliable force in the European Championship, but the operating assumption is always that Sweden is not a genuine contender.
It is worth pointing out, then, that Sweden not only has the likes of Fridolina Rolfo, Stina Blackstenius and Hanna Bennison to call on, but that it made the semifinals of the Euros last year, and it swatted aside the United States on the way to the Olympic final two years ago. Sweden is a threat. But nobody ever thinks about Sweden.
By: Rory Smith
Title: The Contenders
Sourced From: www.nytimes.com/2023/07/17/sports/soccer/womens-world-cup-favorites.html
Published Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2023 07:00:26 +0000
Did you miss our previous article…
Why the U.S. Worlds Team is Perfect and Exactly What We Wanted
The U.S. trials for both the world championships and Pan American Games teams were held over the past couple of days, with an all-around competition held on Tuesday, followed by a more relaxed situation where the athletes could pick two events. A couple of hours after the second day of competition concluded, the selection committee had two full teams ready to go, with the worlds team pretty strategically perfect, at least based on my very specific qualifications.
My impression of the first night was that many athletes looked exhausted and not quite up to the task, especially given how late in the day the competition was, and how long things dragged on, with each rotation taking around 45 minutes, double what these athletes are used to at elite meets.
The fatigue affected some of the best, including Simone Biles, who had some uncharacteristically weak form at various points throughout the night, which caused a fall on her van Leeuwen and some smaller mistakes on beam and floor. In her final event, Biles over rotated her Yurchenko double pike on vault, which ended up looking like more of a timer as she threw the skill to her back, but she nonetheless won the competition with a 55.700, down several points from what she showed she was capable of at nationals, but still enough to finish in first place and automatically qualify to the worlds team.
Coming closest was Shilese Jones, who had a very strong meet going up until bars. Actually, I’d Include bars as part of her strong meet, as the routine was excellent, and the mistake that ended up costing her a full point in deductions – a brush of her feet on the mat after her Pak salto – didn’t affect her rhythm at all to the point where it wasn’t noticeable to anyone watching. The view of her feet was cut off for the viewer watching on the stream, but while you’d still notice a flaw in the gymnast’s movements in most cases like these, Jones seamlessly continued into the rest of her routine and finished well. When her score came up as 13.5, it was shocking, but on the second day she came back sans foot drama, connected the Pak to van Leeuwen, increased her difficulty score to a 6.5 – third highest in the world – and scored a 14.75 total, once again proving what a threat she is for a bars medal.
Skye Blakely came into this trial as one of my three locks for the team along with Biles and Jones, and everything she did here to finish third all-around confirmed this opinion. Her floor still isn’t really usable, but she offers so much on bars and beam, both of which have been so consistent this season, and her vault is yet another solid Yurchenko double full, which the team might not need, though could use in a pinch if needed. She did have a fall on a bars release on day two, but with everything else she’s done there this year, this mistake changed absolutely nothing for me.
Rounding out the top five were Joscelyn Roberson and Leanne Wong, though they would have been my next team picks regardless of where they had fallen in the all-around rankings. While they weren’t locks for me in the sense that there were a few other solid options and I wasn’t sure if the selection committee would match my brainwaves, they were the two I wanted most to round out the team, filling the roles of a strong multi-event specialist as well as a well-balanced utility player who might not be a top-scoring athlete on any event, but who is absolutely vital to the team thanks to her ability to step in anywhere and score nearly as well.
In the latter role, Wong was the clear winner for me. She came into this season for the first time at the U.S. Classic in August, finishing second all-around, and then surprised to win all-around bronze at nationals with even-keeled and solid performances on every apparatus across both days of competition. Wong, who stuck with her Florida coaches this year instead of going back to GAGE, has been at a level we’ve never quite seen from her – maybe not gymnastically, exactly, as we’ve seen her look strong before and with higher difficulty in some areas, but in terms of her confidence and the joy she’s bringing to every performance.
I’ve always been a fan of built-in alternates for teams, and while everyone is calculating numbers and putting together spreadsheets showing the top-scoring teams, I’m keeping scoring potential in mind, but also always making room for someone who adds value in a different way. It’s not super often that teams need to replace higher scores with a more consistent low score, but two very recent examples include Biles being forced to withdraw from the team final in Tokyo and Blakely’s bars being considered too much of a risk at last year’s worlds, where Wong – who only competed on vault in qualifications – was able to come in and put up a steady score for the team. With only five athletes on a team and three scores needed for each event in the final, not having a trusted backup is a scary prospect.
Between classics, nationals, and trials, Wong hit 18 out of 18 routines. She also only won a single event medal, with her silver on vault at the U.S. Classic. So there’s a massive pro, but also a massive con, but is it really a con? Does everyone on every team really need to be an individual medal contender, or is there room for those who bring a different skillset to the mix, especially when the big scores are more or less covered by other athletes and the alternative would be another specialist with high-scoring potential but an inconsistent history? Not to mention that the top all-around athletes shouldn’t be required to compete all four events in the team final, and Wong is the best option to provide relief for Biles on bars and Jones on beam or floor, for example.
If Wong proved herself ready for a spot all summer, Roberson’s done it all season, going back to her fantastic performances on vault, beam, and floor at the Winter Cup in February to her multiple 14+ scores on floor in international competition – her 14.15 at the DTB Pokal Team Challenge, 14.1 and 14.067 at Pan Ams, and 14.066 at the Cairo World Cup are the top four international scores out of over a thousand international floor scores seen in the entirety of 2023 so far – to a domestic summer season that saw her win all-around bronze at the U.S. Classic before becoming the vault champion at nationals. In my eyes, she didn’t need to do much more at trials to show her readiness, but she did it anyway, finishing first on vault and second on floor.
While I was convinced, however, my concern was that the selection committee wouldn’t be, especially when the experienced Jordan Chiles made a strong case for herself on vault and bars despite looking a bit shaky elsewhere. Experience helps in situations like a world championships meet, and Chiles was a standout last fall, putting up four excellent scores to help the team win gold in the final before going on to win medals on vault and floor. Then there were a couple of other gymnasts with standout events, like Zoe Miller on bars and Kaliya Lincoln on vault, beam, and floor, both of whom put absolutely everything into Tuesday’s all-around competition with Lincoln’s score a career-best, as well as Jade Carey on vault, where the reigning world champion excelled, scoring a 14.8 for her Cheng on day two.
Roberson and Wong were my picks to round out the top all-arounders with both a specialist and the opposite of that, but I saw the value in selecting others as well, and felt like this team could have gone several different ways. But it seems the committee and I were on the same page for once, with Roberson and Wong joining the expected Biles, Jones, and Blakely trifecta, while Kayla DiCello – who kind of quietly slipped into seventh all-around here despite a fall on bars – was named the alternate.
DiCello was also picked to compete at the Pan Am Games, along with Chiles, Lincoln, Miller, and first-year senior Tiana Sumanasekera, who won this year’s Pan Am Championships all-around title back in May. Carey was also offered a Pan Ams spot, but turned it down due to a personal conflict and will instead compete at the Swiss Cup, while Alicia Zhou, Eveylynn Lowe, and Nola Matthews earned non-traveling alternate spots for Pan Ams, and Katelyn Jong previously earned an individual spot for Pan Ams by winning the Junior Pan Am Games title in 2021, though she was injured while training vault on Tuesday, so it’s unclear whether she’ll be able to compete or not.
I understand that Carey or Miller could have added more to the team’s scoring potential than some of those who were selected, and that there are very valid arguments for other combinations of athletes, but I love the strategy the selection committee ultimately went with, even if it was by coincidence if they ultimately just went with the all-around rank order from Tuesday’s competition. Either way, what stands out most about this team is that it wasn’t just the right team based on one night, but it was also the right team based on the months of tests that preceded the trial competition. This group of athletes is exactly who I would have selected after nationals, and the potential they have for success in Antwerp is nothing short of tremendous.
Article by Lauren Hopkins
Title: Why the U.S. Worlds Team is Perfect and Exactly What We Wanted
Sourced From: thegymter.net/2023/09/22/why-the-u-s-worlds-team-is-perfect-and-exactly-what-we-wanted/
Published Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2023 04:57:49 +0000
Did you miss our previous article…
Kathryn Bernardo Puts Healthcare Workers at the Forefront in Seoul
Kathryn bagged the award for her role as medical nurse Ali in the series 2 Good 2 Be True, and dedicated her win to the real healthcare workers
Over the years, Asia’s Superstar Kathryn Bernardo has played a number of iconic roles that fans will always remember. In 2010, she won the hearts of many as the young Gretchen Barretto in Magkaribal, and in 2019, with a number of successful projects under her belt, she showed a new side of her acting prowess as Joy in Hello, Love, Goodbye. Before we all say hello to Philo, the actress closes the chapter of Nurse Ali from 2 Good 2 Be True by receiving an award at Seoul International Drama Awards.
RELATED: 5 Times Kathryn Bernardo Proved She’s a Fashion Chameleon
Making meaningful success
Yesterday, the 27-year-old artist honored her well-beloved character in the series. In her speech, she emphasized the value of health workers, as well as awareness on Alzheimer’s Disease.
The actress said, “It’s always been more than just [sharing a] love story to our audience, but also spreading awareness about Alzheimer’s disease, and educating people about those who struggle with it, and how we can offer them the best support they need. This project made me appreciate our nurses and our healthcare workers so it was really more than just another TV show for me.”
During its air, 2 Good 2 Be True simultaneously premiered on Netflix and ABS-CBN’s other online and television platforms. In the show, Ali, played by Bernardo, took care of Ronaldo Valdez’s portrayal of Lolo Sir. In the series, he was experiencing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
Looking back on the role
The 130-episode run of the show was a success, with the audience applauding the team for the heavy research on medical procedures exhibited in the series. In one of the scenes, Kathryn conducted the F.A.S.T. method to confirm the stroke of Valdez’s role. Besides the factual portrayal of the procedure, viewers praised the actress’s expressive restraint playing Ali. According to some reviews, this was a factual portrayal of the health workers’ reality in their attachment to their patients.
2 Good 2 Be True also starred the actress’ on and off screen partner, Daniel Padilla. The actor played Eloy, Lolo Sir’s estranged grandson and Ali’s love interest. Besides their established chemistry over the years, the love team’s relationship with Ronaldo Valdez’s character won the hearts of fans. In a tribute to the veteran actor, Bernardo referred to him as “the lolo I never had.”
Apart from her role as a persistent nurse, Ali was also well-beloved for being a determined dreamer and a hardworking family member. To some KathNiels, the comedic side of Alison Fajardo was also a throwback to Chichay. The latter was from the series Got 2 Believe.
On September 27, the actress will deliver a darker, more mature character as Philo in her newest film, A Very Good Girl.
Congratulations to Kathryn Bernardo for her well-deserved recognition at the Seoul International Drama Awards!
Featured Image: STAR CINEMA (via Instagram)
The post Kathryn Bernardo Puts Healthcare Workers at the Forefront in Seoul appeared first on MEGA.
By: Chlarine Gianan
Title: Kathryn Bernardo Puts Healthcare Workers at the Forefront in Seoul
Sourced From: mega-onemega.com/kathryn-bernardo-puts-healthcare-workers-at-the-forefront-in-seoul/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kathryn-bernardo-puts-healthcare-workers-at-the-forefront-in-seoul
Published Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2023 10:17:15 +0000
For Studios’ Bottom Lines, Awards Season May Be Stronger Than the Strikes
The success of interim agreements — and the money left on the table not being able to give Oscar fare a proper campaign — could be enough to convince AMPTP members to finalize negotiations with the WGA and SAG.
Title: For Studios’ Bottom Lines, Awards Season May Be Stronger Than the Strikes
Sourced From: www.indiewire.com/awards/industry/will-awards-season-end-strikes-1234907380/
Published Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2023 19:00:00 +0000
Did you miss our previous article…
Fashion3 years ago
Steampunk Clothing & Jewelry
Sports3 years ago
Best Christmas Gift For Your Golfer Co-Worker
Fashion3 years ago
Best Timepieces To Buy For The Holiday Season
Motor3 years ago
2022 Infiniti QX55 Carigami Can Be Yours
Trending Stories3 years ago
Dior Homme Cologne Men’s Fragrance Review
Uncategorized3 years ago
How To Attract Women Easily (Without Talking)
Grooming3 years ago
Trimmed Penis – 5 Common Pubic Hairstyles For Men
Mens Health4 years ago
8 Things I Do Before 8 Am: My Morning Routine