Getting 10 things on my mind about the 2015 women’s World Cup off my chest:
1. Abby Wambach of the U.S., who has more goals in international play than anyone in history, risks having what she says will be her final World Cup remembered more for her carping about the artificial turf making her miss scoring chances and about the yellow cards given her teammates against Colombia than for her play. (Taking a penalty kick -- and launching it a mile wide -- with her weaker foot? Huh?)
2. Am I the only person who would be pleased to see the U.S. women win the World Cup but gets nauseous over miscreant goalie Hope Solo being on the team?
3. Longtime U.S. captain Julie Foudy needs to ditch the ESPN gig and dig out some old cleats to help the U.S. in the midfield, where its performance (other than that of Megan Rapinoe) has been abysmal.
4. Why does soccer stupidly stick to the notion that one referee can handle the ever-faster action created by ever-fitter athletes on an enormous field while basketball has three refs for a playing area about one-fifth as large?
5. It’s great that all the World Cup games are available on TV in the United States and that the ratings show people care. Nyah, nyah, mindless soccer haters.
6. Soccer announcers for U.S. networks just sound pretentious using British-isms like frame, pace, clean sheet, strike, score line, good ball and nil for the sport’s terminology. (Translations: goal area, speed, shutout, shot, score, good pass and zero.)
7. Two-time World Cup player Cat Whitehill talks a little too much but that’s worth it to get the incisive commentary and justified criticism of the U.S. team’s play she has delivered in her role as a FOX analyst.
8. Sorry to see the Norwegian women out after a 2-1 loss to England, but they will remain dear to the heart of anyone who cares about gender equality through a brilliant video send-up of the misogynistic tropes about women’s soccer.
9. FIFA and the Canadian organizers were party to the misogyny by putting the games on artificial turf, which would never happen for the men’s World Cup. But that issue is a dead horse now that the tournament is nearly at the quarterfinal stage, and many games have been just plain terrific, with plenty of goals.
10. Given the dearth of high-profile playing opportunities for women soccer players, why not have their World Cup every two years instead of every four?