Friday, July 15, 2022

FEM 2022--Day Ten Recap

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Day 10: Recap



Bookie’s Stats—

Spread: 8-10

Straight up: 12-3-3

Hmmm...some highly mixed emotions from the bookie this evening. As always, there is little else more enthralling in the world of sports prognosticating than being proven dead wrong. On the other hand, can't say I'm exactly enthralled about my Mädels facing this Austrian team in the quarterfinals.

Wow. Don't let the low scoreline fool you. They didn't merely eke-out a win against a heavily favored Norwegian squad. These Mädels absolutely dominated them. No debate. It sets up quite the showdown next Thursday.

ÖFB Mädels vs. DFB Mädels.

Glückwunsch, girls. You did an amazing job.

Take a well deserved bow!

 S.S.S. Tactical Breakdown 

We'll obviously be focusing on the big upset this evening. Unfortunately, the bookie didn't have the luxury of being completely wrong about everything. Much to my chagrin, the poor Northern Irish girls got blown out by the English in the other kickoff.....just as I had feared.

I had to give that one a look just for scouting's sake, but really don't want to talk about it. Let's talk about a team I commended for their indomitable team spirit in the preview section, then shamelessly abandoned like the fickle dog that I am. Should have really stuck with that Cinderella pick.

 Lineup—Austria—Match Three (4-1-4-1) (7/15/22) 

Same 4-1-4-1 as last time as far as I could tell, vastly improved by the return of the two Lauras Feiersinger and Wienroither. Very difficult to tell if Dunst and Hickelsberger-Füller switched as there was a lot of rotation up front. There wasn't an especially high press. Trainer Irene Fuhrmann likely instructed the girls to let Norway have the ball an bet that they wouldn't be able to be confident and creative with it.

The gambit worked. There literally wasn't a single spell in this game during which one had the impression that the Grasshoppers felt like they could take control of the match. The manner in which Fuhrmann's second and third axis collapsed had a lot to do with this. The four players behind Billa, plus the poisonous Puntigam, broke up play well and forced endless turnovers. 

The far better organized and significantly more dangerous Austrians generated virtually all of the first half chances. Norwegian keeper Guro Pettersen had plenty to do, and might have sustained an early knock on one effort. It thus came as no surprise to see Billa grab her team the lead in the 37th. Sumptuous little through ball from Hanshaw on the set-up.

No question it was a deserved lead. To the surprise of many, absolutely no response came from the opponents. Dunst and Hickelsberger-Füller were pummeling Pettersen again shortly after the break. The ÖFB girls kept matching Sjørgen's players pound-for-pound and position-for-position until shortly before the end.

Sjørgen's subs--most notably Celine Bizet Ildhsøy--had some impact late on, forcing Zinsberger into her first save of the match as we headed into injury time. Hegerberg finally opted to do something before the final whistle. Nice parries from the Austrian keeper. They weren't actually needed. A draw would have sufficed to see Austria through and Norway at no time played like a team needing two goals.

 Grades—Austria (Match Three) 

Nicole Billa 


Verena Hanshaw


Laura Feiersinger


Sarah Zadrazil


Sarah Puntigam


Laura Wienroither


Julia Hickelsberger-Füler


Manuela Zinsberger


Barbara Dunst


Victoria Schnaderbeck


Lisa Makas


Carina Wenniger


This is bloody madness. I haven't assigned such a high set of marks all tournament. Granted, I didn't grade teams like England, France, (and even) Norway after their blowout victories. Your friendly bookie still wasn't expecting such a complete performance from this, of all, squads.

I do believe I underestimated the power of.....

.....whatever the hell this is.

Austrian girls are very strange. Don't know the dance. Can't understand the song. Cool that they held up the "Achtung" wet floor signs. That was a nice touch, and about the only thing I do understand about this victory celebration. If they end up doing this after beating my Mädels on Thursday....well, just don't bother calling your friendly bookie. The cell will be turned off.

 S.S.S. Salute to Fallen Comrades 

Norway--"The Grasshoppers"

-3 Games played

-4 Goals scored

 Previous Norway Coverage

-Group A Preview

-Day Two Recap

-Day Six Recap

Amazing that it came to this. Five years after the humiliating Euro 2017 group stage exit, it all happened again. Equal pay and the return of Ada Hegerberg did nothing as they exited with the meekest of all whimpers. Pretty poor set of final tactics from trainer Martin Sjørgen, who is likely out of a job after this.

 Lineup—Norway—Match Three (4-5-1) (7/15/22) 

I cannot believe he did this. An obvious 4-5-1 crystallized seconds after kickoff. It was tantamount to surrender before the opening whistle. Surely concerned about his girls after the English debacle, the Norwegian trainer did them absolutely no favors by showing zero faith in them from the start. 

There was virtually no hope of reaching Hegerberg with this amount of separation. Sjørgen's strategy (one generously assumes) was to allow the girls to slowly build up confidence in their defending, then re-format to that 4-4-2 we've been waiting the entire tourney to see.

Falling behind relatively early naturally called for a re-think. With their tournament lives on the line, there was literally nothing to lose by taking more risk. We nevertheless didn't see the 4-4-2 until Bizet Ildhusøy was introduced in the 64th. 

Too little. Too late. 

Grades—Norway (Match Three) 

Celine Bizet Ildhusøy


Gurro Pettersen


Maren Mjelde


Julie Blakstad


Amalie Eikeland


Frida Maanum


Guro Reiten


Tuva Hansen


Ada Hegerberg


Caroline Garham Hansen


Guro Bergsvand


Ingrid Syrstad Engen


Horrible. Hate to say it, but Ingrid Engen was the absolute worst player on the pitch. Frida Maanum wasn't terribly good either, but at least bailed out her partner after multiple misplaced passes and ball losses. She was also one of the few with the guile to press forward late on. Engen practically gave up. 

We never did get that midfield problem sorted out did we? We also failed to address that Maria Thorisdottir problem. Replacement Guro Bergsvand was just as bad if not worse. Terrible marking on Billa's goal. No real work to assess from the forwards as there weren't really any bleeding forwards.

Some of the defensive actors prevented this one from getting worse still. Mjelde and Blakstad at least made a few decent tackles. Pettersen kept the second and third goals from going in despite her injury. With those few positives in mind, it's adieu until next Summer's World Cup. They should make it

Wonder who will be coaching them.  

 Northern Ireland--"The Lady Irons" 

-3 Games played

-1 Goal scored

 Previous Northern Ireland Coverage

--Group A Preview

--Day Two Recap

Bookie only has a very short point to make here.

Before we get into the riffs section, let it be known that the striving-to-be-more-sensitive bookie has kindly refrained from the more overt references to the "girth" of the girls you see representing this country. I'll bring it up now as I actually wish to make a point about football in general.

Many girls who represent this nation aren't full-time-professionals. They work real world nickel-and-dime jobs to make ends meet. No strength and conditioning coaches. No professional nutritionists. No sports psychologists, masseuses, spas, or anything else that caters to the full-time management of their bodies.

In a world where footballers have their every want and need catered to, spare a care for those who show up to compete despite living in the harsh realities of an unsheltered life. These are true warriors. International tournaments (also on the men's side) us a chance to meet them. 

Be grateful for the opportunity. I am. That's all. 

“Riffs of the Day”—Day Ten

Related image

Reader: Tell you what, Vicey. I don't care if Ingrid Syrstad Engen isn't interested in men anymore.


Vicey: There's a good lad, 16-M. She doesn't need us. Our pocketbook doesn't need her. Relationship over. Happy hunting on the next crush.

Reader: Why the hell did I decide to watch England-Northern Ireland?


Vicey: Because you're hopelessly sentimental, 88-M. You believe in things like romantic love, Jesus, and miracles. I've been trying to tie you back down to earth with cold, hard Krautness for many years now, but it's no good. No such thing as miracles.

Oh well. You didn't miss much over at Norway-Austria.

You missed this conga line.

Now you're all caught up.

Oh wait, I almost forgot. There was a chair too.

Now you're all caught up.

Reader: Did we ever figure out why Ada Hegerberg boycotted the 2019 World Cup?


Vicey: Glad to answer that question, 17-M. Nom, we didn't. She tried to make it merely a case of female players not being treated properly by the country's FA. This, we would later learn, was only half of the story. It was later revealed that she also had disagreements with gaffer Martin Sjørgen after the 20176 humiliation.

Wonder how that's going after tonight. They probably can't fire the guy in the middle of the current WMQ campaign and if she sits out another World Championship on spurious grounds it'll only enhance her reputations being hard to please as she tries to resurrect her career after these injuries. Oh, this "Ewing Theory" ground zero.

Reader: Is it really necessary for the girls to wear the reverse jerseys of fallen teammates if they're just out with COVID?


Vicey: 23-M inquires as to whether this is all getting a bit out of hand. The ÖFB girls did it for Katharina Naschenweng tonight, just like Alexandra Popp did for Lea Schüller on Tuesday.

Bookie thinks it's perfectly fine for two reasons. First, can't you imagine how much it must suck to have to watch from the hotel room stuck with an asymptomatic virus after everyone else in the world has moved beyond the pandemic.

Second, Alexandra Popp is never wrong about anything.

End of discussion.

Reader: But I don't want Abbie Magee to go away!


Vicey: Syndicate members 3- and 6-F with an amalgam.

This is what I was referring to in the "goodbyes section". Wanna know what's great about this girl? She gives zero fucks who she's up against. Professionally conditioned players? Excuse me. DEKE!

Reader: 44,000 combined attendance!

Vicey: 19-M has the right spirit. True, St. Mary's didn't sell out and Brighton was only filled to less than half capacity. Overall, it was still a damn good day for support.


Deutschland vs. Finland


Bookie has to keep tabs on the non-essential fixture. Line holds 

THE LINE: Deutschland +2 Goals (holding)

Spain vs. Denmark


This is the one you'll probably prefer to tune into. 

Line rolls slightly here.

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