Formiga (R) of Brazil and Genoveva Anonman Nze (L) of Equatorial Guinea battle for the ball during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 Group D match between Equatorial Guinea and Brazil at FIFA World Cup stadium Frankfurt on July 6, 2011 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It's an alignment where space inevitably pops up on the wings, causing flank midfielders Maurine and Fabiana to have to track back very deep to provide defensive support.
Amy LePeilbet, normally a central defender, hasn't looked at all comfortable playing at left back, so much so that Sundhage almost has to put Stephanie Cox in the lineup. Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, Your California Privacy Rights, Children's Online Privacy Policy and Interest-Based Ads are applicable to you. Holding midfielders Formiga and Ester provide an additional shield in front of the back three.At first glance, this approach can at times prevent Brazil from getting sufficient numbers into the attack, but such is the brilliance of creative players such as Marta, Rosana and Cristiane, that the Samba Queens don't necessarily need to attack in waves. This will enable the Americans to pin Brazil's wide midfielders deep in their own half and prevent them from contributing to the attack. Both teams entered the tournament among the favorites to take it all, and there was always the possibility the two teams would meet in the final. Rosana can also be seen dropping deep into midfield to receive the ball and help link the midfield to the frontline.
Yet as the two teams prepare to square off in Dresden, the fact that they're meeting at the quarterfinal stage is a surprise.
The Americans have been wasteful throughout the tournament, and while Wambach finally got on the board against Sweden, players like Cheney need to do more to test opposition goalkeepers.


The fact that it is the Americans who have twice denied Brazil means the psychological anvil over the Samba Queens' collective head still remains. You would also think that Amy Rodriguez has run out of chances to prove she belongs in the starting lineup, and that Alex Morgan should get additional minutes, but U.S.
But Brazil is getting stronger with each game, helping to compensate for a pre-World Cup program that lacked high-quality opposition. But this matchup has become one of the most compelling rivalries in the women's game, adding an extra edge to the proceedings. The Americans, meanwhile, could have a bit more doubt creeping into their game thanks to their loss to Sweden in the group finale. This marks the fourth major tournament in a row that the two teams will meet in the knockout stages.
That said, they excel under adverse circumstances -- it's a mentality that will give them an edge on Sunday.Which team will win?The first goal will be critical, and if Brazil can get its collective nose in front, there could be no way back for the Americans.
For Brazil: Marta, Formiga, Rosana and DaianeMarta's unrivaled ability to run at defenders makes her the most dangerous attacking player in the world, and she is a threat to score goals as well as set them up. At age 33, Formiga remains the team's midfield engine who will be counted on to help protect the backline. While Marta gets most of the attention, Rosana is very much an attacking wild card in her own right.


She usually begins games stationed as a central striker, but she can float into different areas around the field. Daiane plays as the team's sweeper and at times positions herself 10-15 yards behind her backs. She insists she'll be ready to go against Brazil, and seems tailor-made to exploit the wide spaces that Brazil's system routinely cedes. Buehler has also tended to start matches slowly before rallying with some physical challenges. While Brazil's preparations for the tournament consisted of just two warm-up games, only one of which was against a full national team, the Samba Queens seem to have found their bearings and have gained more momentum with each match.
But the Samba Queens' comfort on the ball means they're also at ease dictating the game's tempo, much like they did in the Olympic final three years ago.



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