Saturday, July 9, 2022

FEM 2022--Day Four Recap

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Day 4: Recap



Bookie’s Stats—

Spread: 3-3

Straight up: 4-1-1

What a day for women's football, friends! Though there has never been much doubt amongst the syndicate faithful, an epic day such as this one should go a long toward silencing doubters around the world. Interest simply must spike after two cracking matches like these!

Two dramatic comeback draws. Incredible fan support from all quarters. More smashed attendance records (discussed far below in the riffs section). We've got it all to talk about tonight. From Jill Roord to Jessica Silva. 

How about that? Bookie told you not to take your eye off her. Anyone who didn't heed this advice truly missed out. What a player!

S.S.S. Tactical Breakdown


Three of the four teams from today's fixtures get draw ups. Everyone but the Dutch, who (obviously) lined up in a 4-3-3 exactly as the bookie projected. We will give the Leuwinnen grades below in addition to discussing what little tactical nuance there was. The graphics nevertheless belong to the three teams that surprised. 

Beginning with the bookie's tipped favorites. 

 Lineup—Sweden—PROJECTED (4-3-3) (7/2/22) 

Sweden--Blackstenius had to begin the game on the bench due to injury. That surely gave those of us backing Sweden to take this crown pause when we saw the team sheet. Such a huge loss could have been addressed simply by trainer Peter Gerhardsson.

He opted not to go for a straight arrow plug-in of Lina Hurtig up top and Sofia Jakobssen on the left, however. Instead, we got something very intriguing. I couldn't have been the only one slapping my forehead when a 3-4-3 crystalized on the overhead.

 Lineup—Sweden—Match One (3-4-3) (7/9/22) 

With all the injury timeouts the first 20 minutes of the match we absolutely abysmal. The was no flow to this game of pinball. There absolutely wasn't any flow to this abysmal formation either. It almost seemed like a complete failure. 

How in the hell Gerhardsson thought that this could work against the Dutch 4-3-3 is beyond the bookie. There was little to no space for them to exploit and the flipped Hanna Glas couldn't hope to create and lateral width to the attack.

This wasn't functional at all. Only that now famous individual piece of brilliance from talisman Kosovare Asllani ensured that this one didn't go into the dressing room deadlocked at 0-0. The "magic nutmeg" streamed of Aniek Nouwen around the world enabled Jonna Andersson to score.


Overall, the bookie really would have liked to see Magdalena Eriksson and Amanda Illestadt fan out a bit more, especially on the more methodical back-builds. Rölfo and Lina Hurtig put in some great work, but the manner in which the charge staggered out of the back often left them shifting in the wrong direction ahead of the final ball. 

Since the second half belonged to the Dutch, we'll segue into talking about them. In point of fact, the Oranje counter appeared to be in good working order for much of the first half. Lieke Martins and Sherida Spitse rolls off some decent ones even when the treatment breaks for Van der Gragt left them shorthanded. 

"Queen Miedema" went missing for large chunks in the opening 45, more than making up for it with sublime skill after the restart. Jill Roord's equalizer owed everything to her brilliance. Collectively, the squad really ramped it up to set a much better tone in the seven minutes before the goal.

All the Oranje deserve some credit.

Equal footing and immensely entertaining stuff down the stretch, capped with a crazy finish every bit on par with the thrilling end to the day's earlier Portugal-Switzerland encounter. Time to talk grades for two of the best teams in then tournament from their opening round blockbuster. 

Holland first. 

Grades for the two early subs.

 Grades—Netherlands (Match One) 

Dominique Janssen


Sherida Spitse


Jill Roord


Daphne van Domelaar


Jackie Groenen


Daniëlle van de Donk


Vivianne Miedema


Lieke Martens


Marissa Olislager


Stephanie van der Gragt


Lynn Wilms


Aniek Nouwen


Dominiqe Janssen (formerly Bloodworth in the event you've forgotten) Probably did more than anyone else on that back-line to rove around and help out after van der Gragt took that knock, Sari van Veenendaal had to be subbed off and Aniek Nouwen tore her ankle up. She's the top performer here. 

Congratulations to back-up keeper Daphne van Domelar for really stepping up in just her second international appearance! Groenen and van de Donk did extremely well in running the midfield engine during the second half. Spitse played a  more defensive role, yet played it well. A critical contribution from her tonight. 

This wasn't anywhere near the type of top class game the likes of Miedema, Martens, and one of Vicey's favorite young prospects Lynn Wilms are capable of. They did show flashes of individual brilliance on the ball. Too much docking of the grades isn't necessary. 

With all of the early flow interruptions, their rhythm was all mucked up. It happens. The basic approach play suffered from blur for a while. By the time van de Donk sorted her distribution muscle memory out, the rotations were just too confused. 

Sweden next. 

Just the starting XI.

 Grades—Sweden (Match One) 

Hanna Glas 


Kosovare Asllani


Fridolina Rölfo


Jonna Andersson


Caroline Seger


Lina Hurtig


Magdalena Eriksson


Hedvig Lindahl


Filipa Angedahl


Amanda Illestadt


Nathalie Bjørn


Hopefully, we've seen the last of Gerharsson's back-three. While it wasn't the worst back-three we've seen in this competition thus far, it really didn't serve talented players like Björn and Illestadt well. Too many inversions and pivots. Too complicated. It seemed to throw off Angedahl off too. 

Call me crazy if you must, but it seems to me as if the women's game has sped up significantly in the past few years. It may not be nearly as quick as the men's game, but these carefully conditioned athletes have made a huge jump. Wingbacks suddenly eat up back-threes much greater ease. 

We'll have to see if this trend holds.

Getting back to the Blaugults, we're looking at a team that basically did okay in their opening fixture. Not as aggressive on the ball as I thought they might be and a little too hesitant to carve out space even when Gerhardsson eventually switched to a 4-3-3 following introduction of Blackstenius, Bennison, and Rytting Kaneryd entered on that triple sub in the 70th. 

They'll improve, of course. 

Onwards to the match your friendly bookie promised you would prove an unexpected gem. If you're looking for a Cinderella candidate, look no further that the Lady Navigators of Portugal. Many of us tangential female football fans have been hoping to fall in love with Portugal. 

Let's do so.

 Lineup—Portugal—PROJECTED (4-3-3) (7/2/22) 

And I pride myself of being able to build an XI. What the hell do I know? Francisco Neto actually knows what he's doing. Even after falling down 0-2 in the opening minutes, this constellation kept possession until it was time to strike back.

 Lineup—Portugal—Match One (4-3-1-2) (7/9/22) 

It's really quite brilliant. The vertical axis chains are pretty tight and there isn't much rotation. Captain Dolores Silva doesn't have to break her lines, not when Jessica Silva is so good at dropping back and holding the ball up. Wouldn't be surprised if we saw the newborn star used as a false-nine in this tourney. 

Andreia Norton really impressed with some of her ball holds and dribbles. Ana Borges, Diana Silva, and all the others responsible for set-piece delivery during what seemed like an endless series of corners. The opposing Swiss could do little apart from constantly banging it back out again. 

A better drilled marking side could easily frustrate these lines and keep them from advancing. They still have their set-piece to prowess ton rely upon. Neto could also tap Kika Nazareth to run the ten slot if he needs to freshen things up. 

The benefits of a constellation such as this is that the team remains disciplined on what is designed to be an easy pressing scheme. Add a bonafide X-factor like Jessica Silva into the mix and you always stand a chance of swiping a match. The road doesn't get any easier for this team...but let's ponder on this.

Over to the bookie's desperate attempt to stop the Swiss slide. I thought I put something decent together, actually. At least it could have coped with a flat press.

 Lineup—Switzerland—PROJECTED (4-2-3-1) (7/2/22) 

Nils Nielsen went with a service striker instead.

 Lineup—Switzerland—Match One (4-4-1-1) (7/9/22) 

Plenty of the bookie's familiar Bundesliga players in here. Lia Wälti and Geraldine Reuteler performed above average on the whole. Leverkusen girl Lia Marti was inspired in relief. Everyone else, including the scorer of that early belter Coumba Sow, got completely outplayed on a positional basis.  

Pretty nice advertisement for women's football from the Paris FC attacker in the opening minutes. To their credit, the Nati fought hard to reclaim their lead in the final ten minutes with Marti as part of a a reorganized 4-4-2. Reuteler even hit the crossbar. 

Note that Walti was the only real substitute Nielsen used despite the fact that the match had been slipping out of his fingers for virtually the entire second half. Sorry, but this team is set-up entirely wrong and coached incompetently. 

"Implosion" it shall be. 

Look away.

“Riffs of the Day”—Day Four

Related image

Reader: Holy Lord. Check out the Portuguese bench.


Vicey: 53-M referred to a shot captured by the broadcast feed after the Swiss went up 2-0 inside of five minutes. One thought one was watching Brazilians in the stands viewing the 2014 WM semi-final for a second.

How different it looked later. 

Reader: The Portuguese drum section rocks my socks.


Vicey: A shared sentiment, 26-M. Some people on social media had the nerve to complain about drums at a football match. people actually want to go back to games behind closed doors already? Not even four months removed from what Germans refer to as "Geisterspiele" played before empty seats, people have the gall to get irritated with noise. There is no hope for humanity.

Reader: This is the first time I've ever seen a woman serve as a "plank" in a free-kick wall. 


Vicey: Know something, 111-M? I can recall ever seeing it either. We need to find some sort of equivalency name here. "Lumbar support" maybe? 

Reader: Why is there an article in the Telegraph saying English women wish to ditch white shorts over period concerns? 


Vicey: Why is there ever an article in the Telegraph, 23-M? For that matter, why are the English getting their panties in a twist. Shouldn't the Swiss be the ones lodging this protest?

I mean. Those unis are practically see-through. 

Reader: Steffi has found her voice. 

Vicey: Told you she would, 55-M. She strung five whole sentences together today! If they had given her more time with the German national team, she would have figured it out too. Don't forget that my Mädels have found their voice as well. 

Reader: Louis van Gaal doesn't look too happy.

Vicey: If memory serves correctly, I think that's because he has an aggressive form of prostate cancer, 17-M. You'd think that a third stint with the Dutch national team could be declined.

This is not a pleasant sight. Perhaps it's time to retire from football coaching....for the 12th time. Just be with your family, friend. There are more important things in life than football. 

Reader: A new attendance record.


Vicey: Indeed, 19-M. Over 21,000 at Sheffield to watch the Sweden-Netherlands main event. Some 5,000 over in the Wigan quadrant to check out the Portugal-Switzerland cracker. The former smashes yesterday's record for a Women's Euro group stage game not involving a host nation, 

I promise I will find you one of these shirts for your schwag pack. 

Reader:Long live football


Vicey: Long live football, 6, 72, and 117-M

Long live football, everyone.



Belgium vs. Iceland


The line stays precisely where it is for those of you interested in the early kickoff. After what happened today, you shouldn't be so nonchalant about potentially missing it. 

THE LINE: Iceland +1 Goal (holding)

France vs. Italy


Tune in for the greatest "off the pitch" saga of the tournament. Yes, you know who it involves. Who else. Line is rolling down slightly as word gets around. 

THE LINE: France +1 Goal (rolling down soft from France+2)