Monday, October 11, 2010

What To Look Forward To

The famous soccer ball is back! Come on, you know you missed it.

Hey everyone, hope you've been enjoying the weekend. Happy Columbus Day, and Happy Thanksgiving to all you folks up in Canada! I'm here today to mention some upcoming events in the Women's Soccer World. There are a ton of friendlies this month, and not only that, but the CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, and the CAF regions all begin their Women's World Cup Qualifiers at the end of this month or the beginning of November. Let's take a look at what's going to be happening soon:

Friendlies To Watch
Now that Women's World Cup Qualifiers have ended for the UEFA, AFC, and OFC regions, the teams who have earned a spot in Germany will begin scheduling and playing friendlies, most likely against other teams who also grabbed a ticket to Germany. Here's a few that are going to be pretty important, especially to see where each team currently stands among their fellow World Cup goers.

Australia vs. Mexico (October 17th)- This match is for the Matildas to get in some practice against one of the top CONCACAF contenders; Mexico. For Mexico, this is a practice match for them before they head to qualifying. As with the other friendlies, the result will be indicative of where each team stands in comparison to the other.

Australia vs. Chinese Taipei (October 19th)- Chinese Taipei aren't going to really get anything from this match, as they haven't qualified for the World Cup. This is mainly a practice match for the Aussies.

Korea Republic vs. England (October 19th)- Both of these teams have earned themselves a one-way ticket to Germany. This match will give them a feel for the other.

New Zealand vs. England (October 21st)- New Zealand, the Champions of the OFC, just barreled through their qualifiers. Can they trample England, too? This will be an important match to see if New Zealand can truly hang with the big girls.

Sweden vs. Norway (October 26th)- Two dominant teams in the Scandinavian region who are big contenders going into the World Cup. Do not let the title of "friendly" fool you. These two teams are going in to test each other.

Australia vs. Germany (October 28th)- One of the biggest friendlies this month has to offer. The Matildas will be going in most likely as underdogs against the host nation, who are the reigning World Cup Champions, Euro Cup Champions, and stand at # 2 in World Rankings. This match is going to test both teams, and the result will show each team exactly where they stand in relation to the other.

These friendlies aren't really friendly at all. Each team going in wants to see who they're better than, where they currently stand in relation to their opponents, and will also want to see what they need to work on. These games are really just tests, they're not friendlies at all. Its a feeling out process to see who's who going into the World Cup. There's some pretty good ones coming up, so mark your calendars! Of course I'll announce the scores of these friendlies as they happen.

UEFA Loser Play-offs

Italy vs. Switzerland (October 23rd and 27th)- These 2 have made it through the first round of play-offs, and will now face each other in the final round of UEFA Loser Play-offs. They'll be playing a doubleheader against each other. Whoever accumulates the highest aggregate after both matches, will be named the 5th spot in Europe. The team who is named 5th in UEFA will have to play a match against the 3rd place CONCACAF team. Whoever wins that match will clinch the final spot in Germany.

Remaining Regional Women's World Cup Qualifiers

CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup (October 28th-November 8th)- This is the qualifying competition for North and Central America + the Caribbean. It will be taking place in Cancun, Mexico. Here are the groups:

Group A- Canada, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana

Group B- United States, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti

I posted the schedule for the Gold Cup a few posts back, so you could probably check it out there if you're curious. I'll probably re-post it when we get closer to the competition's start. The Champions and Runners-Up (1st and 2nd place) get a one-way ticket to Germany come 2011. The 3rd place team has to play against the 5th place team in the UEFA confederation in a battle for the final spot in the Women's World Cup.

CAF Women's Football Championship (October 31st-November 14th)
This is the qualifying competition for the African region. It will be taking place in South Africa. Here are the groups:

Group A- South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Mali

Group B- Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Algeria, Ghana

This competition, like all the other remaining, follows the standard format. The groups will play their matches, the top 2 teams from each will advance to their respective Semifinal spot, and the winners will advance to the final, while the losers play-off in the 3rd place match. In the CAF, the 2 finalists qualify for the World Cup and will be traveling to Germany in 2011.

CONMEBOL Sudamericano Femenino (November 2nd-November 21st)
This is the qualifying competition for the South American region. It will be taking place in Ecuador. Here's the groups:

Group A- Ecuador, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Chile

Group B- Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Colombia, Venezuela

The 2 finalists will automatically qualify for the World Cup and will be headed for Germany.

The qualifying for the Women's World Cup officially closes on November 27th, when the 3rd place CONCACAF team and the 5th place UEFA team play-off for the final spot in Germany. I'm not sure on this one, but I think the Draw for the Women's World Cup gorups will take place some time in December.

Well, I think that's about it on the news everyone! Next up on the blog will probably be a post on Sundhage's USWNT roster of players that she'll be taking down to Mexico for the Women's Gold Cup. Training in Philly for the USWNT concluded yesterday. The players now have a week off, and during that time, Sundhage will release the roster.

See you soon!


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