Wednesday, July 6, 2022

FEM 2022--Day One Recap

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Day 1: Recap



Bookie’s Stats—

Spread: 0-1

Straight up: 1-0-0


Not exactly the cracking start we were all hoping for. Definitely not the romp the massive crowd turned out anticipated. Might as well admit that it wasn't the thumping advertisement for the sport that many of us sold. Your friendly bookie fully expected to award this day to some euphoric English lasses. 

Oh well. I suppose a chipped-over-goal that barely edged over the line on a play that I couldn't tell whether or not was offside (because UEFA didn't sanction broadcast replays) will have to do for now. Rest assured that much better days are coming.

....and the match-ball-delivering remote-control-car is back!!! 

Everybody catch that just before a just prior to kickoff? After undergoing a makeover from last Summer, we've all once again been blessed with the best footballing invention of this young decade. If, like last year, it disappears until the knockouts, I'll be most disappointed. 

Special delivery courtesy of our friends at Volkswagen.!

 S.S.S. Tactical Breakdown 

Our inaugural tactical section regrettably must cover some nuanced points that some readers may find a tad too wonkish. What can the bookie say? England's ordinarily much-respected Dutch trainer really didn't think this through very well. Very surprising to encounter such a poor debut from such a great coach. 

Never fear if this section isn't"cup o' tea"

The mailbag section is just a quick scroll down away!

 Lineup—England—PROJECTED (4-3-3) (6/29/22) 

The projected lineup, admittedly put together without the benefit of some extra scouts, assumed that Ellen White wouldn't be back in from her COVID tour to start in time. I also scratched Fran Kirby from my initial XI after learning about her comeback issues from unspecified health problems.

Wiegman's selection basically aimed to accomplish two things. First, she wanted both Kirby and Hemp to feature. Second, I'm rather convinced she wanted to roll out a mirror of the (correctly) predictable Austrian 4-1-4-1.

 Lineup—England—Match One (4-1-4-1) (7/6/22) 

By moving captain Kiera Walsh back into Alex Greenwood's place in the central defensive corps, Kiera Walsh worked as a fulcrum behind a double eight pivot of Kirby and Georgia Stanway. Hemp was assigned primarily to the left wing, but obviously encouraged to rotate often.

As we saw in the first 15 minutes, coordination problems hindered this unfamiliar constellation. The English right in particular has difficulty covering the extra distance. The eight-rotation set couldn't get synchronized. At times, it didn't look like Walsh, Stanway, and Kirby understood their assignments.

Kirby's chip set-up of the opening goal counted as true quality, yet the midfield trio quickly fell back into confusion. Wiegmann might have had a six-seven-eight "stepping stone" stagger in mind for them. Execution was so sloppy that it nevertheless remained impossible to tell. 

When we reflect on some of the service miscues in the final third, it's fair to say that the suppressed positions of the wingers played an adverse role in this regard. Every time they tried to get the ball to White, the timing was off. At least two more goals should have been scored before halftime.

Not really satisfied with the stalemate that took hold for much of the second half either. Really a bit miffed about the fact that the Lionesses never even got their basic press functioned until the final quarter of an hour. Something was definitely missing in this team's prep.

If I can say something positive about Wiegman's moves in this one, I really liked the triple sub of three young players in the 64th. Ballsy. It did actually up the tempo of the match during the final stages and, thanks to more riskiness on behalf of the team, gave us a more entertaining finish.

 Grades—England (Match One) 

Millie Bright


Mary Earps


Chloe Kelly


Alessia Russo


Fran Kirby


Beth Mead


Georgia Stanway


Lauren Hemp


Ellen White


Rachel Daly


Leah Williamson


Lucy Bronze


Keira Walsh


As always, stateside-slide grades for our stateside readers. Two of the England subs receive grades. Ella Toone didn't see enough of the ball. Whrew. Where it not for sub Chloe Kelly, there would have only been two "A-Level" players on the pitch! The hell? 

Keeper Earps and defender Millie Bright consistently did their jobs. That's about it. Williamson and Walsh didn't manage too well split apart. Daly actually surprised as the more effective fullback than Bronze. Hemp, Stanway and Mead weren't anywhere near as good as we'd thought they'd be.

This isn't a terrible set of marks by any stretch of the imagination. We will see much better from this squad  before the group stages are out. No need to dwell on this let-down too much. One might as well downgrade the hosts' status as favorites, something your friendly bookie was never convinced of. 

 Lineup—Austria—PROJECTED (4-1-4-1) (6/29/22) 

Perfect pick from the bookie on his familiar girls from "Kleindeutschland". Only one player--the injured Maria Plattner--needed to be replaced. ÖFB trainer Irene Fuhrmann went for the straight plug in with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim's Katharina Naschenweng while Barbara Dunst switched flanks. 

 Lineup—Austria—Match One (4-1-4-1) (7/6/22) 

We won't be delivering marks to the German girls as the bookie was obviously more focused on the other team. Suffice to say that this 4-1-4-1 out-pressed the English, did far better in the midfield duels, and maintained a clear advantage on the flanks. 

Fullbacks Verena Hanshaw and Laura Wieroither really outperformed their opposite members. One should also take note of the performances of eights Laura Feiersinger and Sarah Zadrazil. They did extremely well. My Bayern girl Carina Wenninger also had a fabulous debut.

The attack remained pretty anemic, even after Julia Hickelsberger-Füller entered at the hour mark and Dunst switched flanks again. Mostly hopeful long range efforts. Don't make the mistake of thinking that this team has the type of firepower to get out of this group. 

It's a little something to think about. They do put the hard work in. A performance above expectations with a lot of one-vs-one positional duel wins no one thought they could handle. No major changes to make to make to the group prognostication, however. 

“Riffs of the Day”—Day One

Related image

Reader: Alright, Vicey. Who's the German girl in the ESPN Studios who butchers English worse than Lothar Matthäus?


Vicey: Sigh. That would be former German women's international and national team head-coach Steffi Jones, 55-M.


I happen to like and respect her very much, even if I was probably the only guy watching the pre-match show who understood her "Denglish". When she talked about the Austrian team "giving 'Druck'" she just meant to convey that they were applying pressure. 

Like so many GI sires with American names and heritages, she's very, very German....and one of our national treasures. I'll happily translate for you next time. 

Reader: Can we get hotness ratings for Verena Henshaw and Laura Wienroihter?


Vicey: You know we don't do that, anymore 23-M. There's obviously nothing to stop you from formulating your own opinion on the matter. Incidentally, your clear affinity for a bunch of Austrian girls decked out in black suggests some strange fetishes


Reader: How in the hell am I supposed to be able to tell fin that goal was offside?


Vicey: Good question, 11-M. I think UEFA learned their lesson from the Women's World Cup. They don't want online rules nerds like us drawing circles and arrows around their VAR decisions. 


An overreaction if you want my opinion. Sounds like the type of obfuscating Michel Platini would come up with, and we can't even blame him anymore. Transparency in football, please!

Reader: This match didn't sell out did it? 


Vicey: It sure didn't 19-M. Much will be made of the "record attendance" figures in the press and all the social media platforms. That doesn't change the fact that Old Trafford came in almost 8,000 seats short of capacity. 

This honestly makes the bookie angry. We didn't hit the target we hoped for and yet everyone still gets to pat themselves on the back with "feel good" emojis and "empowering" posts. As I talked about in this year's mission statement, we need people in the seats more than likes and re-tweets.



At least the pre-game pyro was pretty cool. With safety standards on products much higher these days, it's probably about time to start rethinking the issue of pyro in football in general at this point. 

Not to say that I'm totally in favor of pyro in stadiums, but can we experiment with making it permissible at women's matches?


Norway vs. Northern Ireland


More goals tomorrow in the bookie's opinion. Let's hope so at least since, just like today, we only get the one fixture. We'll keep the line right where it is. 


THE LINE: Norway +2 Goals (holding)