Yankee doodle dandy
U.S. faces Brazil in World Cup July 4 at Stanford -- again
Posted: Friday July 02, 1999 04:38 PM
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- Here we go again, sort of.
Brazil vs. the United States. The Fourth of July. Stanford Stadium.
This will be the most anticipated soccer game in America since, well, Brazil vs. the United States on the Fourth of July at Stanford Stadium in 1994.
That, of course, was in the men's World Cup, where Brazil was a heavy favorite to beat the hosts and go on to win its fourth title. That's just what the Brazilians did, taking the Americans 1-0 in the quarterfinals on their way to the championship.
This time, the American team that carries the burden of being the strong favorite, and the game is a semifinal in the Women's World Cup.
The Americans survived their toughest test so far, beating Germany 3-2 on Thursday. Then Brazil endured a collapse, blowing a 3-0 lead before winning 4-3 in overtime against Nigeria.
"We'll have to play better against Brazil than we did against Germany," U.S. coach Tony DiCicco said. "We'll have to be very good to get into the final. Brazil is not an easy team. It will be a hard game, with hard tackles, but it will be a game of skill and defense.
"The Brazilians are very resilient, as they showed against Nigeria. We are stepping up to a higher level now."
Actually, maybe Brazil should feel that way. The Brazilians were dragging in the second half against Nigeria and advanced only because their star, Sissi, was accurate on a free kick.
"I'm aware of the significance of the date," Sissi said after scoring her tournament-leading seventh goal. "I only hope we can achieve the same results as the men did. We're going to shoot for it."
Organizers hope for a sellout in the Independence Day game.
"Everywhere we go we have a great following, and this has been so spectacular," co-captain Julie Foudy said. "We come out into the stadium and it's just, like, our game. It's a women's event. It's just our event. I think that is so encouraging."
The American women also should be encouraged by their response to their first true adversity of the tournament. After an embarrassing mistake by Brandi Chastain handed Germany a goal in the first five minutes, the U.S. team rallied. Then the Germans scored in extra time of the first half, but the Americans came back with two goals.
"We were just kind of nervous," said Tiffeny Milbrett, probably the best U.S. performer in the quarterfinals. "If you go down a goal against a world-class team like Germany, you don't know if you can come back up. We just had to make sure not to hyperventilate, not to stress out after that goal."
All four teams in the quarterfinals at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium qualified for the 2000 Olympics. So did China and Norway, which meet in Sunday's other semifinal, at Foxboro, Mass., and Sweden, beaten by Norway in the quarters. The eighth qualifier for Sydney will be host Australia, which bumps quarterfinal loser Russia.
While the United States is favored over Brazil -- how strange does that sound in soccer? -- Norway vs. China is a tossup. Both looked good in the first round and even better in the second. Norway is the defending champion, and China has had a better 1999 campaign.
"We're 100 percent sure we'll advance to the final," China's Pu Wei said.
"We have great confidence in our abilities," added Norway coach Per-Mathias Hogmo.
The semifinal winners meet July 10 at the Rose Bowl.
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.