In what could well be their biggest challenge to date, the USWNT face Sweden in Sweden for the first time ever! (Check out the USSF article linked above – there are lots of interesting tidbits to peruse!) They’ll play just below the Arctic Circle (!) at Norrvalla Stadium in Skelleftea. The last time the USWNT played in Sweden was in 1995, when they faced China in the 3rd place match at the Women’s World Cup (the one that Norway won and followed up with their celebratory “snake dance” around the pitch … that was part of what got the USWNT so fired up for ’99). But I digress …
It’s also a seminal game because the USWNT, as you well know, is coached by Pia, the Singing Swede! It’ll be her first time coaching against Sweden …. and the occasion marks a homecoming for Pia as well as another USWNT staffer … Skelleftea is home to U.S. fitness coach Helena Andersson. Says Pia about this match (in her inimitable style):
The game will be bigger in my head before the game than after the game. But during the game, it will be just a game against a good team and you want to win. There will be some unusual questions before the game because I am a Swede, but during the game it will be another game that we have to work on different tactical stuff. Sweden is a very good team.
The match will be played at noon (ET) today and you can follow it on MatchTracker. It’s a big deal in Sweden – with local papers trumpeting the showdown with headlines like “One Day to Go.” Pia, in the meantime (known in some circles as 71) met up with 72 for a press conference. That’s Pia with Hanna Ljungberg, whose 72 career goals for Sweden recently eclipsed Pia’s longstanding record of 71. It’ll be fun to see 72 on the pitch today (if we could actually see the game).
In other sports news, the Phillies and Red Sox both won, to celebrate the 4th nicely. The Williams sisters meet today at Wimbledon in the Women’s Finals … and I’m aiming for a wee track work-out at some point today, time permitting.
Yesterday I managed a 3-hour kayak jaunt on the Merrimack River. It was a gorgeous paddle, marred only slightly by some wild young women on a JetSki. I spotted a Great Blue Heron, a passel of Cliff Swallows, and a foraging Beaver (the latter was very up-close and personal). I took a swim, did some writing on a beach along the way, and just had a very nice, quiet afternoon.
On the Bushie front (sorry to ruin your morning) I read about more efforts to line the pockets of the rich … this time via a land grab that will pave the way for lots more McMansions near Missoula. Perhaps the Bushies have let go of “legacy” and are now just focusing on what amounts to larceny. 1/20/09 can’t come fast enough!
And finally, here’s a cool tidbit … John Edwards and Karl Rove are slated to debate on September 26 in Buffalo. (I sure hope someone televises this one!) 🙂