By Tim Grainey
This week Tim Grainey's Women's Roundup is focused on Europe where some Americans are making headlines for their goal scoring prowess in Sweden’s Damallsvenskan, the three group pairings for this summer’s Olympic Games in London have been made, and the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League finalists have also been determined.
Americans hit the Score Sheets in Sweden
Vittsjo GIK, in their first season in Sweden’s Damallsvenskan or first division after promotion last season, has done surprisingly well by winning three of their four matches. Americans Danesha Adams and Kendall Fletcher have played an important role; both tallied in Vittsjo’s 3-1 win over AIK on April 15.
On April 22, Jennifer Nobis scored two goals in Pitea’s 2-1 win over Djurgarden at home and her team’s sole tally in a 2-1 loss to Vittsjo GIK on April 29. Pitea has been in the Damallsvenskan for a few years and draws strong crowds but has traditionally struggled on the field. This season, they have won two of their first four games. Nobis, a graduate of the University of Missouri, scored two goals in 11 games for the Boston Breakers in 2009, but has largely played in Europe since finishing at Missouri in 2005, including a spell with Charlton Athletic in England, and Umea in Sweden.
Former Chicago Red Stars striker Kosovare Asllani scored the lone goal for Kristianstads DFF in their 1-0 away win over Djurgarden on April 28. Christen Press, who was last season’s WPS Rookie of the Year with magicJack, scored twice in Kopparbergs/Goteborg’s 6-0 demolition of KIF Orebro DFF away. Anita Asante also notched a goal for the Gothenburg based side. Asante won a WPS title with Sky Blue FC and also played in St. Louis, Washington and Chicago in her three years in the league. Press is tied for the lead in Damallsvenskan scoring with Vittsjo’s Sofie Andersson with five, while Nobis has four. Malmo’s German international Anna Mittag has three goals as does Tyreso’s Brazilian Marta, who won two WPS titles in her three years in the league. Asante and Adams both have two goals along with Caroline Seger, who won the WPS title last season with Marta while with the Western New York Flash.
In the fourth round, Tyreso, Kopparbergs/Goteborg and Vittsjo GIK all are tied for the lead on nine points. Umea is fourth on seven points but, along with Malmo, has played only three games to date.
Olympic Games Draw
Last week, the three first round Olympic Games groups were finalized at a draw held in London. Group E will see the host Great Britain side (potentially drawing players from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) faceoff against Brazil, Cameroon and New Zealand. England beat New Zealand 2-1 in a close first round match at last summer’s Women’s World Cup.
In Group F, current Women’s World Cup champions Japan will face Canada, Sweden and South Africa. Canada has been revitalized since head coach John Herdman took over last fall and anything less than a quarterfinal berth will be considered a disappointment. If the Canadian side can stay clear of injuries, it could have a shot to make the semifinals, as it did at the 2003 Women’s World Cup. Their game against Sweden will be the key match of the group; since Herdman’s appointment the Maple Leafs have been competitive against the Swedes, winning 2-1 last November in Arizona before losing in Malmo 3-1 last month. Interestingly, in that 2003 Women’s World Cup, Sweden defeated Canada with two late goals in a semifinal to make the finals.
In Group G, the United States, which has won the Gold Medal in three of the four Olympic Games that have staged a women’s tournament, will play France, Colombia and Korea DPR. The Americans shut out Colombia 3-0 and the North Koreans 2-0 in the 2011 Women’s World Cup first round and then overcame France 3-1 in the semifinals. Look for the U.S. and France to make the semifinals at this summer’s Olympics.
The Olympic Games soccer tournament will be hosted in a variety of cities across the U.K., including Cardiff (Wales), Glasgow (Scotland) and Coventry, Manchester and Newcastle as well as London in England.
UEFA Women’s Champions League Finalists Set
Olympique Lyon will meet 1. FFC Frankfurt in the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final, which will be held on May 17 in Munich. For the third year in a row it will be a French and German side facing off for the title of the top club side in Europe. However, unlike in 2011-10 and 2010-09 where Lyon and Potsdam each won and lost one title game, Lyon will face Frankfurt this year. 1. FFC Frankfurt has won three past UEFA titles, the most of any club.
The Germans knocked out English power Arsenal 4-1 on aggregate in one semifinal tie. In the first leg in London, Swiss striker Ana Maria Crnogorcevic and German international Kerstin Garefrekes tallied for Frankfurt, with Garefrekes’ goal coming late in injury time. Ciara Grant, the Republic of Ireland captain who has played at Arsenal for 13 years, scored the lone reply. In the second leg at home, Frankfurt won 2-0, with Swedish international Jessica Landstrom scoring once, to finish off the series.
Lyon blasted Potsdam 5-1 on aggregate in the other semifinal series. In the first leg at home, former WPS star Camille Abily scored twice for Lyon. Former Ohio State University forward and Swiss international Lara Dickenmann and Swedish international striker Lotta Schelin also scored for the French side. A scoreless tie in the second leg in Potsdam gave Lyon the final 5-1 aggregate advantage.
Neymar's move from Santos to Barcelona is no doubt the biggest summer transfer.
The adidas Nitrocharge is the most talked about new cleat in years. It was released on May 15 and will take your pitch by storm.
The Nike Hypervenom is the latest cleat silo from Nike. It will change your game and is worn by the game's top players.
Support the USA national team with an official 2013 Centennial soccer jersey from Nike. Its Official.
Barcelona will wear this new home soccer jersey next season. They also have a new away jersey. Get them both.
The hoop soccer jersey is classic and cool. The USA hooped jersey is perfect for every fan. Get in the Gear.
The USA will wear their blue away jersey against Jamaica in their World Cup qualifier on Friday night.
Germany is one of the top teams ever and they will play the US on Sunday.
England will debut their new away jersey against Brazil at the Maracana Stadium on Sunday. Get in the Gear
Jamaica is in need of a win against the U.S. Get the jersey of the Reggae Boyz.