I’m Actually Not That Scared of Brazil


I’m Actually Not That Scared of Brazil

by Kara McDermott

The US will take on Brazil in the quarterfinals this Sunday at 8:30 a.m. PST. Without a doubt it should be the game of the round. Brazil is strong and confident, but the American side cannot be counted out just yet.

Brazil advanced, expectedly, as the top seed of probably the weakest group in the tournament. They have yet to be scored on and with their match against over advancing team Australia ending in a 1-0 victory, they have beaten each team by a decisive 3-0 line.

However, this strength also highlights a weakness in the Brazil squad: they rely heavily on their stars. The seven goals scored came from four people: two from Marta, two from Rosana, two from Christiane and one from Erika. They have had four assists, and the names will look familiar: two from Marta, one from Christiane and one from Erika.

In contrast, the six goals from the US in group play all came from different people with different field positions. The US loves their midfield, particularly Lauren Cheney on the left side who has the best record with one goal and two assists. This is going to cause a lot of consternation for the Brazil side, who have admittedly weak defensive shape, and might help neutralize Marta, who likes to attack from the outside in.

If the US defense can avoid being dazzled by the superb foot skills of the South Americans and shut down their favored outlets, the US will be able to build strong counterattacks out of the back. It helps that Brazil favors through balls on the ground such as the US successfully defended against Colombia and Korea, instead of the up and over that tripped them up so badly against Sweden.

If any team can face down the undisputed best female soccer player in the world right now, it would have to be the ladies from the States. All but one (Ali Krieger) of the players on the US squad play professionally in America’s WPS. Marta herself plays for Western New York Flash, which means the US squad plays against her every day of their professional careers. Only Maurine of Brazil can boast the same of the US front line (she also plays for the Flash).

The US took a huge blow losing to Sweden in their final group match, but perhaps this loss might shake out any remaining complacency and be the spark they need to come out with vengeance against Brazil, who sent them packing in spectacular fashion from the semifinals in 2007 on a 4-0 decision. Certainly goalkeeper Hope Solo, who was pulled right before that match, will have something to prove. She said famously back then that she would have saved where Brianna Scurry missed, and what better time to back up her controversial statements than now?

The battle should be tough and entertaining for the fans. As always, it’s going to come down to the play on the field. I refuse to believe that we can’t win this game as others might, and I refuse to be intimidated by a team where half the players wear their socks pulled up over their knees.

Kara McDermott is going to have an exciting Sunday between watching the US vs. Brazil and the Seattle Sounders vs. Portscum. She also writes for her blog, Waving the Rave. (www.wavingrave.wordpress.com)


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  1. Christine S on

    Great points in this article & I agree. Lots of pundits have been bemoaning the fact that we have to play Brazil. But I have a feeling that Brazil doesn’t want to face us this early either. Game on I say & let’s cheer our ladies through!

  2. Emily Allender on

    I agree with all your points, but one more than the others–knee highs? In soccer? Way to bring down the intimidation factor down, Brazil. Plus, though they have some incredible footwork and skill, a lot of times they just end up relying on fouling. Just avoid those clips, girls, and maybe we’ll be in the semis.
    Love reading your stuff, Kara! And I’ll love hearing you say “I told you so” after we avenge that 2007 loss on Sunday. Perhaps with a FIVE-0 win?