Here at Big Shirtless Rob, I'm a big believer in equal opportunity bashing. If the men choke away a sure victory against a weaker opponent, I'd rip them to shreds. I'm certainly not going to take it easy on the ladies just because I'd give just about anything to see Hope Solo naked.
Oh no, let's revisit Sunday's World Cup Finals Collapse and figure out what went wrong.
I saw three BIG reasons why the U.S. team fell to Japan.
1. MISSED SHOTS
And lots of them. The U.S. team took a stunning 27 shots, missing 25 of them. And when I say "missing" I mean missing. Only three of the 25 misses were actually stopped by the Japanese goalie. In the first half, the U.S. missed roughly 15 shots (by my count) and zero were defended by the goalie. They were wide left, wide right, over the top, on the crossbar, into the stands.
You could have crippled me with a two-by-four and dropped me into the goal and I could have produced a first-half shutout for Japan.
The fact is, if Soccer has taught me one thing, it's that you can't let teams hang around. The more the U.S. missed those early and often shots, the more you knew Japan wasn't going to go away. This rule of course does not apply to the Men when Mexico faces the U.S.
2. FREDDIE BROWN-LITE
Come on sport fans, you have to know who Freddie Brown is! It's 1982, NCAA Tournament Finals and Georgetown has the ball with a chance to win. That is until guard Freddie Brown for some unexplained reason passes the ball to North Carolina's James Worthy. Game over.
Sunday's Freddie Brown was U.S. Defender, Ali Krieger.
With roughly 10 minutes to play, the United States led 1-0. Japan was attacking, but up to that point, they had almost no solid shots on goal.
In this moment though, Japan was coming down the right side. They pass the ball towards the goal, but there is no shot as U.S.A.'s Rachel Buehler gets tangled up with the Japan forward. The ball is loose for a split second.
Buehler jumps up and clears the ball away from the goal towards the sideline. However, standing in the way was Ali Krieger. Instead of moving out of the way, Krieger kicks it back towards Buehler, back towards the middle of the net, where Japan's Aya Miyama just so happens to be standing. Two seconds later, the game is tied.
Now this awful play wasn't the game decider, but let's face it: the game is over if that ball gets cleared.
3. DAMN PENALTY KICKS
Now I know the penalty kicks are even between both teams. Still, I hate these damn things. There is no lamer way to end a great sporting event than penalty kicks. It would be like ending the NBA finals on a free throw contest. Ugh.
My biggest complaint is the distance. From what I understand, the ball is placed 12 yards away from the goal. At this distance, all the goalie is doing is guessing. That's it. Sure the player can miss it (that happened), but 90 percent of the time, the goalie guesses right or guesses wrong. Done.
Move it back. It is that simple. Move it back to 25 feet and make it a real competition between the scorer's ability (ball placement) vs. the goalie's ability (to stop the ball).
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