Can Anyone Dethrone the U.S. at the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup?
In this playful piece, we pose a question or make a statement about something in soccer that will be opined about, agreed and disagreed on, by YOU, the reader. No more talking heads giving safe, politically correct answers. Those days are over. Instead, we’ve opened the floor to everyone out there in Cyberland to throw in their two cents.
Sep. 9, 2003
Oh, come on. Surely one of the other 15 teams competing in the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003 has a chance to wrestle the world title away from Team USA. But you were having none of that. In predictable fashion, nine out of every 10 responses had the Stars & Stripes repeating as world champs. In fact, only Canada and Norway were tabbed to take down the #1 team in the world. Here are the best of the best responses:
"The 2003 Women's World Cup will once again show the dominance of U.S. Women's soccer. Other countries may have caught the fever, but the U.S. still holds the trophy and will retain their title after all is said and done in Los Angeles on October 12. Challenged by Norway, China, Brazil, Nigeria, and the rest of the competing nations, our veteran group will have enough young talent to assist them in front of frenzied, sold out crowds to overcome all obstacles. The depth of the U.S. attack is unparalleled in Women’s World Cup history. Hamm, Milbrett, Parlow, MacMillan and Wambach will go on a goal-scoring tear that has never been seen before in any competition. A strong and focused midfield consisting of Lilly, Foudy, Roberts, and Wagner will set up the forwards regularly. The giant defensive wall of Fawcett, Chastain, Sobrero and Pearce will drop all advances. And anyone who may penetrate the powerful U.S. side will have to stare down either Scurry or Mullinix, a daunting task that will have coaches scratching their heads in goalless disbelief. Yes, the U.S. women are even stronger than ever before, and this time around teams will be lucky just to step on the field with the most amazing soccer team in history."
- Sara Bird / 26 / Morgantown, WVa.
"Well, according to the coach, this is the best USA team ever. The home field advantage, which was huge in 1999, again belongs to the USA. Given these two factors, it would be a major disappointment if the USA does not win it all. To me, the key questions are: at this level of play, a) who fills the shoes of Michelle Akers, and b) if the veterans need help, are any of the new players really ready to step up big time? I'll pick the USA, but if an upset does happen - Norway, because they have been there and done that – twice – so you have to respect them."
- Bruce Campbell / Bellaire, Mich.
"I'm sure most of your responses have said that the USA is going to win, just because they are the best. Well, I do believe they are the best, but there is a reason why. The veterans like Hamm, Lilly, Foudy, etc. could probably lead the team to victory on their own, but when you add the young stars and fresh legs, you are pretty much unstoppable. Yeah, China, Norway, Brazil, and the rest definitely have talent, but no other team in the Women’s World Cup is as deep as the U.S. squad. If the U.S. does happen to lose, it would only be because they didn't come out to play. What are the chances that the veterans won't come out to play when it is likely that this is their last World Cup? Oh, and how many games have we lost on home turf? Not very many. Having the World Cup back in the U.S. is a huge advantage."
- Amy Lovell / 15 / San Antonio, Texas
"OK, you asked for it: I have to pick the USA to win it. After seeing the roster, it’s hard to find a stronger, deeper team anywhere in the world. That being said, and knowing that any game can go any way, I think the dark horse may just be Canada with their stable of talented players, youth, strength, and drive. Christine Sinclair and Charmaine Hooper will be a tough pair up front to stop. As for the other ‘Big 5’ – Norway, Sweden, China, Brazil and Germany – any one of them could push through, but I don't see that they have the depth or options that the USA has. They all seem to have key players hoping to be back from injuries or veterans trying to hang on for one more go round. And then you still have other dark horse teams like Nigeria or Korea who could surprise everyone at any time. So my pick for the final four would be: USA, Canada, Norway and China, with the USA and Canada in the final. Hopefully the USA comes out on top (let’s hope this time not by PK's). P.S. I'd really love to see Tiff and Mac win it all for Clive (Charles, who coached both players at the University of Portland but recently succumbed to cancer). We lost a great one."
- Gary Landsberg / 50 / Portland, Ore.
"Canada will win the 2003 Women’s World Cup. The women's program in Canada is excellent and very deep. The Under-19 team drew huge crowds throughout the recent Youth World Championship and finished with silver in an overtime loss to the United States. Canada's women's team has not stopped improving since 1999 by having strong coaching, good young players and strong leadership on the field. Hooper may be the best striker in the world now, but Christine Sinclair will rewrite all the record books as she is currently doing in the NCAA Division I for the University of Portland."
- Victor Paul-Elias / Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Thanks to all for another month of measured patriotism with regard to the Sept. question. As you know, the odds of being printed are better if you keep it under 150 words so that we can put a bunch of opinions on display each month.
For October, the question is: What was the best game of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2003?
Switch on that Philips Flat Screen (shameless plug, I know) and try to catch all 18 televised matches to fully do your research. This is your homework for the next month. We’re looking for the game that had the most drama, or the best goals, or the biggest momentum swings, or all of the above. And keep in mind that this game doesn’t necessarily have to involve the U.S., although it would be tough to pick a 4-3 Brazil win over Norway over a say…a 3-2 U.S. victory over China in the semi-finals.
E-mail your BRIEF, but well-crafted response to firstname.lastname@example.org. PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR FULL NAME, AGE AND CITY OF RESIDENCE. Feel free to submit responses for as many months as you wish, but in the interest of sharing the spotlight, we will be giving space to different respondents from month to month.
Table of Contents
1) Armchair Midfielder (A Look at the U.S. Women’s World Cup Team)
2) In Threes (w/ MNT midfielder Steve Ralston)
3) Whatever Happened to... (former WNT forward Carin Gabarra)
4) Queries & Anecdotes (w/ U-17 MNT defender Julian Valentin)
5) Mark That Calendar (WNT vs. Group D Opponents – Sept. 21, 25, 28)
6) Superstar!!! (w/ WNT midfielder Shannon Boxx)
7) FAN Point/Counterpoint (Who will win the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003?)
8) "You Don’t Know Jack (Marshall)" (Women’s World Cup Trivia)
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