14 July 2011

Behold! the Black Widows

There's really not much more to say about the American women's magnificent comeback win over Brazil last Sunday in Dresden.  It only had a few things going for it:
  • A referee who gave both teams so much cause to complain, she booked eight players and ejected a ninth to cover her officiating crimes;
  • One team dominating play despite spending 52 minutes one player down;
  • The other team scoring both goals on bad calls;
  • Brazilian star Marta getting constantly jeered despite doing nothing especially wrong; and
  • Oh, yeah, this immaculate little reception:

Apart from all that, it was a pretty ordinary game.  Check that: today's 3-1 win over France in the Women's World Cup semifinal was ordinary.  Les Bleus certainly belong at this level, but I felt as though I were watching another NCAA basketball tournament game in which a high seed struggles for 30 minutes before putting away the mid-major upstart.

And there was another fault Sunday besides the officiating:  those black kits the U.S. women were wearing.  I've made my ill feelings about the overuse of black in sports uniforms known as recently as two posts ago, and this would seem to fit that depressing pattern.  The thing is, in international soccer, a national team's uniform doesn't always match the national flag.  Italy (blue) and the Netherlands (orange) and Spain (dark blue) all break that rule, and their men's soccer traditions have hardly suffered.  Japan (blue), whose ladies have earned the right to face the U.S. in the World Cup Final next Sunday, is the latest success story.  Slovenia (green) and Venezuela (crimson) haven't become world powers as a result, but they're both doing just fine these days.

In that light, maybe I won't have a problem if the U.S. women decide to go with black road kits on a permanent basis.  For one thing, they're winning.  For another, the kits themselves already have a name:  "Black Widows."  That sounds like it could double as a suitable nickname for a U.S. program that's proven itself to be as dangerous as ever.

My prediction for Sunday:  the Black Widows beat Japan, 2-1, but they'll need the extra half-hour.

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