Equalizer Soccer http://womens.soccerly.com The No. 1 Source for Women's Professional Soccer News Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:55:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 FIFA rankings and the eye test: An alternative look http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/19/fifa-rankings-and-the-eye-test-an-alternative-look/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/19/fifa-rankings-and-the-eye-test-an-alternative-look/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:03:58 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=18024 Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the United States are the six seeded teams for the 2015 Women's World Cup Draw. (Getty Images)

An alternative view of the FIFA women’s world rankings. Getty Images)

Germany overtook the United States as the new No. 1 in the FIFA women’s world rankings on Friday, ending the USA’s reign as No. 1 after almost seven years.

That Germany overtook the Americans for the top spot should not come as a surprise, and it certainly plays true to the general consensus of which of the two teams is in better form. But FIFA’s rankings are always a bit out of whack. FIFA says in its rankings procedures that teams “are ranked according to a value that is a measure of their actual strength.” There are mathematics involved, including predicted results vs. actual results, weighting games based on which team is at home and factoring the “importance” of a match. Here is the full system of calculations.

Let’s throw out the math and look at the top 10 teams in the world based on a “measure of their actual strength” as it relates to the World Cup and chances of winning it (excluding horrendous or favorable group draws), if the tournament were to start right now. Who is the best team in the world?

1. Germany
2. France
3. Japan
4. USA
5. Sweden
6. Brazil
7. England
8. Canada
9. Australia
10. Nigeria

Some housekeeping

Germany: This is the best team in the world, even given the recent loss to France. If you didn’t notice, Germany came out and smacked around England in late November to remind everyone just how good they are.

France at No. 2? Yes. before the World Cup Draw I believed that France would win the World Cup. The talent has been there for years, but finally the French have the right mindset under Philippe Bergeroo. Drawing the U.S., beating Germany, Brazil, Sweden and England this year all shows that Les Bleues are ready to finally jump over the 4th-place hurdle they got stock at under Bruno Bini. In a one-off against Germany in the World Cup, I think the French are capable of repeating October’s result. (More on that here.)

Japan over the U.S. at No. 3? There are a couple reasons for this. Firstly I give Norio Sasaki the edge on in-game and pre-game tactical adjustments. The man is a mastermind. Japan recently beat Canada easily, 3-0, then decided he wasn’t happy with the way his team played and he made nine changes. Result? Another Japan victory. Japan and the U.S. tied 1-1 at the Algarve Cup in March in a game that saw a lot of Japan keeping the ball and the U.S. looking to play on the counter-attack. The Algarve Cup was, of course, disastrous for the U.S., but it wasn’t all Tom Sermanni’s fault. I’d say Japan can’t quite deal with physicality — which would give the Americans the edge — but the recent Canada results (and 2011 World Cup) suggest otherwise, as Canada is as physical as any team.

On the United States… The outcry regarding the downfall of the U.S. typically borderlines on hyperbole when context is lost. But the struggle is real. No. 1 in the world is the only acceptable place for this team to be by its own standards. The Americans held that ranking for nearly seven years, and while they have won two Olympic gold medals since, they still haven’t won a World Cup since 1999. Anything short of a title in 2015 is another failure. Some suspicions that arose during World Cup qualifying against inferior teams were confirmed in Sunday’s loss to Brazil, but expect the rematch this Sunday to feature a fired-up U.S. team.

Will the real Brazil please stand up? Well, we’ve been asking this since what, 2004? Let’s see if Brazil can string together two straight wins against the U.S. on Sunday. Brazil’s first appearance in the Algarve Cup in March will be a challenging one, too. Establishing a legitimate residency program could finally be the answer…maybe.

Nigeria: Yes, Nigeria. The team’s placement on this list at No. 10 could be overshooting things, but Nigeria’s No. 32 ranking on FIFA’s list is insulting to the Falcons. They are listed behind 12 teams who didn’t even qualify for the World Cup and directly behind Thailand, considered to be potentially the weakest team in the 24-team World Cup field. Nigeria’s U-20 team was brilliant in its journey to the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup final. The star of that tournament, Asisat Oshoala, will join the seven-time African champions at the senior World Cup. By the mathematics, Nigeria can’t climb in the FIFA rankings in non-World Cup or Olympics years because the team doesn’t play enough high-level friendlies. But don’t write-off Nigeria as capable of being a top-10 team, despite previous World Cup struggles.

On Canada and dreams: There are some hopeful Canadians who believe their team can win the World Cup on home soil. For starters, the U.S. women are the only women’s team to have ever done that, in 1999. It hasn’t happened in the men’s game since 1998 in France. As much as Canada has promising, up-and-coming talent in 16-year-old midfielder Jessie Fleming and 19-year-old defender Kadeisha Buchanan, plus veterans Christine Sinclair and Sophie Schmidt, Canada just isn’t at the level of the world’s top-four teams. Diana Matheson’s injury won’t help those odds. Yes, Canada finished third in a London Olympics without Germany. Canada also finished 16th of 16 in 2011. Worst to first isn’t a thing in World Cups. Worst to semifinals, maybe.

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Germany ousts USWNT from top spot in FIFA rankings http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/19/germany-ousts-uswnt-from-top-spot-in-fifa-rankings/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/19/germany-ousts-uswnt-from-top-spot-in-fifa-rankings/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 12:43:51 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=18017 Germany is the new world No. 1 for the first time in almost seven years. (Getty Images)

Germany is the new world No. 1 for the first time in almost seven years. (Getty Images)

Germany is the new No. 1 in women’s world soccer, according to FIFA’s official rankings, ousting the United States from the top spot for the first time in almost seven years.

The Americans have been ranked No. 1 since March 2008, having last been ranked No. 2 in the December 2007 rankings which lasted into 2008.

France also rose to No. 3 in the rankings, bumping defending World Cup champion Japan down to No. 4 in the world rankings.

[KASSOUF: An alternative look at the women’s world rankings]

It has been an up-and-down year for the Americans. In October they won a seventh CONCACAF crown in dominating fashion, and it came under the guidance of Jill Ellis, who took over for Tom Sermanni after a tumultuous spring by the United States’ standards, led in part to his firing after only 15 months on the job. The U.S. finished 7th at the competition for the first time ever, losing two straight games for the first time since 2001 and conceding five goals — in a 5-3 loss to Denmark — for the first time in history.

Sermanni was fired on April 6, about one month after the Algarve Cup. U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati cited “underlying issues” with the philosophy of the program as reasons for Sermanni’s firing. Through it all, however, the U.S. stayed in the No. 1 position

This year the U.S. is 3-2-3 against top-10 teams in the world, losing to Brazil on Sunday, drawing Japan, losing to Sweden and beating Korea DPR at the Algarve Cup, beating and drawing Canada as well as beating and drawing France in two-game sets.

Germany recently suffered defeat to France before pounding England at Wembley Stadium in November. Germany tore through World Cup qualifying, winning all 10 matches. The Germans also beat Japan in March to win the 2014 Algarve Cup title. Germany is 5-1 this year against teams ranked in the top 10 in the world at the time of the match, beating Sweden, Japan, Canada and Norway in addition to the aforementioned results.

Korea DPR is the biggest climber in the Top 10, rising four spots to No. 7. But the North Koreans will not play in the 2015 World Cup, having been banned from the competition after several players tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs at the 2011 World Cup.

Brazil slid two spots to No. 8 in the rankings, and World Cup host Canada dropped to No. 9. The Netherlands, who will make their Women’s World Cup debut next year, rose all the way to No. 11, up four spots from September. The complete rankings can be viewed here.

The next rankings come out on March 27, after the 2015 Algarve Cup.

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Press scores four as USWNT thumps Argentina http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/18/christen-press-four-goals-carli-lloyd-hat-trick-uswnt-routs-argentina/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/18/christen-press-four-goals-carli-lloyd-hat-trick-uswnt-routs-argentina/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 23:23:33 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=18009

Christen Press scored four goals in the USWNT's 7-0 win over Argentina. The U.S. faces Brazil in Sunday's final. (Getty Images)

Christen Press scored four goals in the USWNT’s 7-0 win over Argentina. The U.S. faces Brazil on Sunday. (Getty Images)

Christen Press scored four goals to lift the United States women’s national team to a 7-0 win over Argentina on Thursday at the National Stadium of Brazil Mane Garrincha in Brasilia. Carli Lloyd scored a hat trick.

The lopsided victory, combined with Brazil’s 4-1 win over China in the later match, put the U.S. into the final of the International Tournament of Brasilia on Sunday against host Brazil. The U.S. advances to the final over China by having a superior goal difference. Both teams ended group play with 4 points each after tying each other last week and each beating Argentina handily.

Brazil is unbeaten in the tournament, outscoring opponents 11-3. This past Sunday, Marta scored a hat trick to erase a two-goal deficit against the United States and lift Brazil to a 3-2 win.

Press opened the scoring for the U.S. against Argentina in the 9th minute before doubling the United States’ lead in the 23rd minute. Lloyd’s header at the half-hour mark made it 3-0, and each player bagged another goal before halftime to give the U.S. a 5-0 lead at the break.

[KASSOUF ON NBC SPORTSWORLD: Lloyd still getting better as World Cup approaches]

Lloyd scored again 90 seconds into the second half — giving her 60 in her career — and Press netted the needed seventh goal in the 78th minute. The seventh goal ensures that a Brazil win by any score will send the U.S. through to the final.

Press’ four-goal performance marks the ninth time a U.S. player has achieved the feat.

Sydney Leroux was sent off for apparent violent conduct in the 89th minute, just eight minutes after she entered the match. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher earned her first cap for the U.S., making one save. Hope Solo had the night off.

Brazil continued its dominance at this home tournament in the late match on Thursday, beating China 4-1. Darlene opened the scoring early and Andressinha doubled the advantage before the half-hour mark.

China was reduced to 10 players in the 61st minute, and seconds later Debinha struck to make it 3-0 in favor of Brazil. New Boston Breakers signing Andressa added another from the penalty spot four minutes later. Ren Guixin scored on a header — the final touch of the game — to give China a consolation goal.

Argentina and China will play in Sunday’s consolation game.

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2015 Algarve Cup to feature imbalanced groups http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/18/2015-algarve-cup-groups-announced/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/18/2015-algarve-cup-groups-announced/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 17:20:42 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=18006 Germany dominated Japan, winning the Algarve Cup final 3-0. (Photo: Getty Images)

Germany dominated Japan to win the 2014 Algarve Cup title. (Photo: Getty Images)

The three groups for the annual Algarve Cup in Portugal are set for the 2015 edition in March, and the United States has landed in a decidedly easier group than the other two.

The U.S. will play in Group B alongside Norway, Switzerland and Iceland.

Group A features Sweden, Germany, Brazil and China.

Group C consists of Denmark, France, Japan and Portugal.

Nine of the 12 teams are participating in the 2015 World Cup. The Algarve Cup will take place from March 4-11, 2015. The schedule is expected in the coming days, according to the Swedish FA.

It seems likely that the strong field could cause for a change to the placement match formula. In past years Group C has been a much weaker group, designated for teams on the rise looking for a good tournament (and supposedly helping host Portugal do the same). Given that, the Group C winner usually only played for 7th place (the United States finished 7th last year in a horrendous display that eventually factored into Tom Sermanni’s ousting).

The United States’ Algarve Cup group for 2015 is quite the opposite outlook of the team’s World Cup group. Next year in Canada the Americans will face Sweden, Australia and Nigeria in Group D, widely considered the toughest group of the World Cup.

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Marta signs new three-year deal with Rosengård http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/18/marta-re-signs-rosengard-three-years-damallsvenskan/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/18/marta-re-signs-rosengard-three-years-damallsvenskan/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 16:41:54 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=18002 Marta of Brazil

Marta is staying in the Damallsvenskan. (Photo Copyright Jeff Kassouf for The Equalizer)

Five-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta re-signed with Damallsvenskan club FC Rosengård on a three-year contract, keeping her in Sweden until 2018.

Marta joined the club in the summer following the collapse of Tyresö FF, which Marta helped guide to the UEFA Champions League final. Rosengård won the Damallsvenskan title this fall for the second straight year, clinching another spot in the UEFA Champions League for 2015-16. Rosengård is currently in the quarterfinals of the current Champions League campaign and will play two-time defending champion Wolfsburg in March.

Rosengård president Håkan Wifvesson said that Marta is one of the three best-paid players on the team, and her salary is “within the financial framework” of the club, according to SVT Sport in Sweden.

Marta’s teammates on Rosengård include Anja Mittag, Ramona Bachmann, Therese Sjögran and Ali Riley.

The majority of Marta’s career has been spent in Sweden, having debuted for Umeå IK in 2004. She played there until 2008 before making the move to the U.S. for three seasons in WPS. When the league folded in early 2012, Marta made the move back to Sweden to join Tyresö FF.

Marta scored a hat trick on Sunday to lift Brazil past the United States, 3-2 in the International Tournament of Brasilia. Brazil enters the 2015 World Cup still seeking it first world title.

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T&T says WCQ playoff generated $250K in profit http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/18/tt-says-wcq-playoff-generated-250k-in-profit/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/18/tt-says-wcq-playoff-generated-250k-in-profit/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 16:16:22 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17999 Trinidad & Tobago made a quarter-million dollars (USD) off the World Cup qualifying playoff game in Port of Spain. (USA Today Images)

Trinidad & Tobago made a quarter-million dollars (USD) off the World Cup qualifying playoff game in Port of Spain. (USA Today Images)

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association says the Dec. 2 Women’s World Cup qualifying intercontinental playoff it hosted generated over $250,000 in profit. Trinidad and Tobago failed to qualify for the 2015 World Cup, losing on a last-minute goal to Ecuador in that match — the second leg of the series, at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain — to fall short of qualification.

A crowd of 20,071 turned out for the match, hoping to see Trinidad and Tobago become the first Caribbean nation to qualify for a Women’s World Cup. The TTFA says the match generated a profit of $1,629,077 Trinidad and Tobago dollars, which equates to $256,429.13 in U.S. dollars.

The federation said in a statement that it is “committed to applying a significant part of the earnings from this event towards the development of women’s football.”

That news is a far cry from just two months ago, when T&T’s women’s national team arrived in the Unteid States with only $500 for the lot of them. Fundraising came together quickly to get the Soca Warriors food, water and gear before CONCACAF picked up the bill for the World Cup qualifying tournament in October.

Despite their struggles off the field, the Soca Warriors advanced from group play to the semifinals, losing to Costa Rica in their first attempt to qualify for the World Cup. Trinidad and Tobago lost to Mexico in the third-place match of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, again failing to qualify. The loss to Ecuador in the playoff was their last shot for 2015.

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Broadcast details, kickoff times set for World Cup http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/17/watch-fifa-womens-world-cup-canada-tv-schedule-kickoff-times/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/17/watch-fifa-womens-world-cup-canada-tv-schedule-kickoff-times/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 01:35:46 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17988 Kickoff times are set for the 2015 Women's World Cup. (Photo Copyright Harjeet Johal for The Equalizer)

Kickoff times are set for the 2015 Women’s World Cup. (Photo Copyright Harjeet Johal for The Equalizer)

Fox Sports will broadcast all 52 games of the 2015 Women’s World Cup on either Fox, Fox Sports 1 or Fox Sports 2, in addition to all matches being streamed online. Sixteen of those matches will air on the Fox broadcast network.

Included in the Fox broadcast games will be one semifinal, the third-place match and the final on July 5 in Vancouver. FS1 will air 30 matches, including the other semifinal, and FS2 will pick up the remaining six games.

This comes in addition to Telemundo’s Spanish-language coverage of the 2015 World Cup in the United States.

On Wednesday FIFA announced kickoff times for every match at the 2015 Women’s World Cup. Most of the tournament will be in primetime in Canada and the United States. The U.S. will play its group games at 7:30 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET. Below is the full schedule with kickoff times (all time Eastern) for the group stage and the knockout stage.

Groups graphic

Group Stage

Saturday, June 6

6:00 p.m. ET: Canada vs. China at Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton
9:00 p.m. ET: New Zealand vs. Netherlands at Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton

Sunday, June 7

1:00 p.m. ET: Norway vs. Thailand at Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa
4:00 p.m. ET: Germany vs. Ivory Coast at Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa

Monday, June 8

4:00 p.m. ET: Sweden vs. Nigeria at Investors Group Field, Winnipeg
7:00 p.m. ET: Cameroon vs. Ecuador at B.C. Place, Vancouver
7:30 p.m. ET: United States vs. Australia at Investors Group Field, Winnipeg
10:00 p.m. ET: Japan vs. Switzerland at B.C. Place, Vancouver

Tuesday, June 9

1:00 p.m. ET: France vs. England at Moncton Stadium, Moncton
4:00 p.m. ET: Spain vs. Costa Rica at Olympic Stadium, Montréal
4:00 p.m. ET: Colombia vs. Mexico at Moncton Stadium, Moncton
7:00 p.m. ET: Brazil vs. South Korea at Olympic Stadium, Montréal

Thursday, June 11

4:00 p.m. ET: Germany vs. Norway at Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa
6:00 p.m. ET: Canada vs. New Zealand at Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton
7:00 p.m. ET: Ivory Coast vs. Thailand at Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa
9:00 p.m. ET: China vs. Netherlands at Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton

Friday, June 12

5:00 p.m. ET: Australia vs. Nigeria at Investors Group Field, Winnipeg
7:00 p.m. ET: Switzerland vs. Ecuador at B.C. Place, Vancouver
8:00 p.m. ET: United States vs. Sweden at Investors Group Field, Winnipeg
10:00 p.m. ET: Japan vs. Cameroon at B.C. Place, Vancouver

Saturday, June 13

1:00 p.m. ET: France vs. Colombia at Moncton Stadium, Moncton
4:00 p.m. ET: Brazil vs. Spain at Olympic Stadium, Montréal
4:00 p.m. ET: England vs. Mexico at Moncton Stadium, Moncton
7:00 p.m. ET: South Korea vs. Costa Rica at Olympic Stadium, Montréal

Monday, June 15

4:00 p.m. ET: Thailand vs. Germany at Investors Group Field, Winnipeg
4:00 p.m. ET: Ivory Coast vs. Norway at Moncton Stadium, Moncton
7:30 p.m. ET: Netherlands vs. Canada at Olympic Stadium, Montréal
7:30 p.m. ET: China vs. New Zealand at Investors Group Field, Winnipeg

Tuesday, June 16

5:00 p.m. ET: Ecuador vs. Japan at Investors Group Field, Winnipeg
5:00 p.m. ET: Switzerland vs. Cameroon at Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton
8:00 p.m. ET: Nigeria vs. United States at B.C. Place, Vancouver
8:00 p.m. ET: Australia vs. Sweden at Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton

Wednesday, June 17

4:00 p.m. ET: Mexico vs. France at Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa
4:00 p.m. ET: England vs. Colombia at Olympic Stadium, Montréal
7:00 p.m. ET: Costa Rica vs. Brazil at Moncton Stadium, Moncton
7:00 p.m. ET: South Korea vs. Spain at Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa

Round of 16

Saturday, June 20

4:00 p.m. ET: Match 39. 1B. vs, 3A/C/D. at Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa
7:30 p.m. ET: Match 37, 2A. vs. 2C. at Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton

Sunday, June 21

1:00 p.m. ET: Match 41, 1E. vs. 2D. at Moncton Stadium, Moncton
4:00 p.m. ET: Match 40, 1F. vs. 2E. at Olympic Stadium, Montréal
7:30 p.m. ET: Match 44, 1A. vs. 3C/D/E. at B.C. Place, Vancouver

Monday, June 22

5:00 p.m. ET: Match 43, 2B. vs. 2F. at Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa
8:00 p.m. ET: Match 38, 1D. vs, 3B/E/F. at Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton

Tuesday, June 23

10:00 p.m. ET: Match 42, 1C. vs. 3A/B/F. at B.C. Place, Vancouver


Friday, June 26

4:00 p.m. ET: Match 46, winner of Match 39 vs. winner of Match 40 at Olympic Stadium, Montréal
7:30 p.m. ET: Match 45, winner of Match 37 vs. winner of Match 38 at Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa

Saturday, June 27

4:00 p.m. ET: Match 47, winner of Match 41 vs. winner of Match 42 at Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton
7:30 p.m. ET: Match 48, winner of Match 43 vs. winner of Match 44 at B.C. Place, Vancouver


Tuesday, June 30

7:00 p.m. ET: Match 49, winner of Match 45 vs. winner of Match 46 at Olympic Stadium, Montréal

Wednesday, July 1

7:00 p.m. ET: Match 50, winner of Match 47 vs. winner of Match 48 at Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton

3rd Place Game

Saturday, July 4

4:00 p.m. ET: Match 51, loser of Match 49 vs. loser of Match 50 at Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton


Sunday, July 5

7:00 p.m. ET: Match 52, winner of Match 49 vs. winner of Match 50 at B.C. Place, Vancouver

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Weather postpones Brasilia tournament matches http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/17/uswnt-argentina-brazil-china-brasilia-tournament-game-postponed-bad-weather/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/17/uswnt-argentina-brazil-china-brasilia-tournament-game-postponed-bad-weather/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:28:10 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17989 The United States women’s national team will not play Argentina on Wednesday as previously planned due to inclement weather. U.S. Soccer made the announcement on Twitter, stating that the match would not be played on Wednesday. There appears to be excessive flooding at the National Stadium of Brazil Mane Garrincha, where the International Tournament of Brasilia is being played.

Brazilian media outlet BAND, which is broadcasting the tournament, also reports that the Brazil-China game is postponed and that both matches will be played on Thursday. USA-Argentina will be played at 4:20 p.m. ET on Thursday and Brazil-China will kick off at 6:50 p.m. ET on Thursday.

The U.S. is in an unexpected position of third place after drawing China in last week’s opener and losing to Brazil 3-2 on Sunday after succumbing to a Marta hat trick.

The U.S. needs to beat Argentina by a large amount and hope that China loses by a large amount to Brazil, allowing the U.S. to make up the goal difference and finish second to qualify for the final on Sunday. Standings:

Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
BRA 2 2 0 0 7 2 5 6
CHN 2 1 0 1 7 1 6 4
USA 2 0 1 1 3 4 -1 1
ARG 2 0 2 0 0 10 -10 0

The top two teams after round-robin group play will advance to the final.

U.S. players now have some unexpected time off on Wednesday. So, how about some soccer tennis?

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Tancredi: Canadians joining NWSL teams after WC http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/17/canada-nwsl-allocation-2015-residency-before-world-cup/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/17/canada-nwsl-allocation-2015-residency-before-world-cup/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:58:26 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17977 Melissa Tancredi says Canada players won't be with their NWSL teams until after the World Cup. (Photo: Canada Soccer)

Melissa Tancredi says Canada players won’t be with their NWSL teams until after the 2015 World Cup. (Photo: Canada Soccer)

Almost a year ago, The Equalizer reported that Canada would withhold its players from participating in the National Women’s Soccer League in the months prior to the 2015 Women’s World Cup. A Canadian Soccer Association document obtained by The Equalizer provided similar details about the 2016 season and the Olympics.

All the while, Canada still has not confirmed the specifics of its players participation in the U.S.-based professional league, which is entering a crucial third season.

Speaking to reporters last week following the World Cup Draw that placed Canada into Group A — where the hosts face tough sides in China, New Zealand and the Netherlands — Canada coach John Herdman still would not confirm the details of his players’ participation in the 2015 NWSL season. Herdman said the names of who will be subsidized for NWSL participation should be released by the end of December. But asked when players will join their NWSL teams ,Herdman said, “I don’t think that’s been determined yet.”

[MORE: World Cup groups, schedule  |  Herdman ready for New Zealand  |  Canada not complacent]

The Equalizer’s Harjeet Johal was on the scene in Vancouver, speaking to Herdman and Canada forward Melissa Tancredi, who offered a more specific and unsurprising take: Canada players will join their NWSL teams after the World Cup, which kicks off on June 6. The final is on July 5.

Tancredi: “We will be back after the World Cup, after our World Cup ends.”

Johal: So you’re not going to be playing for the Chicago Red Stars before the World Cup?

Tancredi: “No, were fully engaged here in CDP (Centralized Development Program) before the World Cup and then we’ll join our team(s) after the World Cup.”

Canada is one of the three founding federations of the NWSL, along with Mexico and the United States. Canada initially committed to fund the salaries of 16 national team players — two per team — for the inaugural 2013 season and for thee 2014 season.

The United States Soccer Federation initially subsidized 23 players in the inaugural NWSL season, though that number fluctuated throughout the season. U.S. Soccer committed to pay the salaries of 26 players at the start of the 2014 season, but that number and some of the names on the list are expected to change in 2015. Yael Averbuch already lost her status as a subsidized player, which made her a free agent and allowed her to sign with FC Kansas City.

U.S. players in 2015 could miss up to eight of 20 games for their teams, with somewhat minimal league participation until after the World Cup.

The number of NWSL players subsidized by Mexico in 2015 is also yet to be determined. As of September, only four Mexico players were definitely participating in the NWSL next season. Mexico coach Leo Cuellar was hopeful that would change after World Cup qualifying. Further complicating things for Mexico are the Pan Am Games in Toronto, which take place from July 10-26, right after the World Cup. It is possible and even likely that Mexico brings its full senior team to the event (Canada could, too), which would keep players from their NWSL teams for another three weeks.

Allocations were announced in early January each of the last two seasons, so official news should come soon. But it shouldn’t be any surprise that Canada is all-in on winning the 2015 World Cup on home soil. How realistic that is? That’s another question (answered here).

Reporting by Harjeet Johal and Jeff Kassouf
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Marta hat trick sinks USWNT for 1st time under Ellis http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/14/marta-hat-trick-brazil-beats-uswnt-brasilia-tournament/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/12/14/marta-hat-trick-brazil-beats-uswnt-brasilia-tournament/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 01:24:16 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17967

Marta scored a hat trick to beat the United States on Sunday. (Getty Images)

Marta scored a hat trick to beat the United States on Sunday. (Getty Images)

BRASILIA, Brazil — Five-time world player of the year Marta scored three goals to lead Brazil to a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the U.S. women’s soccer team in the International Tournament of Brasilia on Sunday.

Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe scored a goal each in the first 10 minutes to give the U.S. an early lead, but Marta netted in the 19th, 55th and 66th minutes to guarantee the hosts a spot in the final of the four-team competition.

“Those early goals could have been costly, we can’t let those mistakes happen again,” Marta said. “I’m glad that I was able to take advantage of the chances that I had. It wasn’t a good start but we fought hard until the end and got the result that we needed against a very good team.”

The match marked the first loss under head coach Jill Ellis. The U.S. is 15-1-4 under head coach Jill Ellis.

Outside back Lori Chalupny made her first appearance for the U.S. since October of 2009, playing 31 minutes before being replaced by Ali Krieger. U.S. Soccer said that was a planned substitution. Chalupny was recently reinstated for national team duty after five years away due to concussions.

The match brought together Marta and American playmaker Abby Wambach, two of the candidates for this year’s world player of the year award.

“It feels good to win a match like this, knowing that I was going against Wambach,” Marta said.

Brazil reached six points from two matches, while the United States remained on one. China, which routed Argentina 6-0 earlier Sunday, also has four points. Argentina has zero.

The top two teams will meet for the title on Dec. 21. The other two nations will play for third place. The U.S. needs to beat Argentina by several goals in the last round on Wednesday and hope that China loses to Brazil.

Brazil opened with a 4-0 win over Argentina and the U.S. drew China 1-1.

The Americans took advantage of Brazil’s defensive mistakes to take the lead at the Mane Garrincha Stadium in the nation’s capital. After a corner by Rapinoe from the right side, the ball was headed toward Lloyd in front of the net and she turned for an easy goal in the sixth minute.

Rapinoe then found the net with a shot from outside the penalty area in the 10th. She seemed set to make a cross but the ball went straight toward the net, with Brazil goalkeeper Luciana unable to make the stop.

Marta put Brazil back in the game after one of her trademark runs through the middle of the defense, entering the area and firing a shot past U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo.

Marta’s second goal came after she cleared two defenders at the top of the area and fired a left-footed shot into the far corner. The winner was a low shot from outside the area that found the near corner. Solo was near the ball but couldn’t make the stop as she dived to her left.

The Americans had two great chances to equalize in second-half injury time. Lloyd’s free kick was saved by goalkeeper Luciana, and Christen Press’ shot from outside the area hit the far post in the final seconds.

Here are highlights of China’s 6-0 win over Argentina:

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