Wambach’s Role in World Cup has Changed
In 2011, the U.S. women’s soccer team lost to Japan in the World Cup Final. This year, they hope to have things a little different by winning. The game went into overtime four years ago, making for one of the most exciting games in recent memory. It influenced thousands of young girls to start playing soccer all over the world, and many of the same players on each team are playing again this year.
Abby Wambach, of the U.S. team, is one of these players. She is nearing the end of her career, and a win in Vancouver would cement her place in women’s soccer history. Her role has been reduced quite a bit this World Cup as she’s spent a lot of time on the bench, but that hasn’t slowed down her intensity at all. She’s still one of the biggest names on the team, and definitely one of the more outspoken members. Her teammates all speak highly of her, but in the same breath they usually comment how intense her personality is. Even when she’s on the bench for the biggest games of her life.
The World Cup is a once every four years thing, but the world plays soccer year round. It’s the world’s most popular sport by far and fans participate in it more than any other sport. There are fantasy leagues all over the world, made easily accessible thanks to the internet, and all sorts of blogs and commentaries covering the sport, too. Soccer fans have more resources available than ever, and it has only heightened the excitement of this year’s World Cup.
In 2011, it was Wambach that put the U.S. up over Japan 2-1 in extra time. That lead vanished a few minutes later just as regulation ran out. The Japanese women eventually won in overtime on penalties. It was a fitting, and some would say deserved, end for Japan as they were still recovering from a devastating tsunami earlier that year at that point. That doesn’t weigh at all on the minds of soccer fans this year. This year, fans just want to see an exciting game where the best team wins. Early in the World Cup, the U.S. and Germany were listed as the favorites to win. Right now, the U.S. has a slight edge over Japan, but soccer is often unpredictable.
Now, Wambach is 35, and the future of U.S. women’s soccer has shifted. While she has had an impressive and successful career, the 2015 WC Finals is acting as a bookend for her. Soccer is a team sport, after all, and one person’s success does not make a team a winner. For Wambach to go down in history as a World Cup champ, there are many others that need to pull their weight. One interesting thing to note is the fact that in the final minutes of each half, Japan’s attack has been weak, and this is when Wambach is at her strongest. If this is being observed by U.S. coaches, expect to see Wambach take the field. It’s also worth paying attention to if you are interested in the many in-game betting options that some sports books offer. Just make sure you’re getting a good line before you commit to a bet as many books look to take advantage of these quick decisions that bettors need to make.
Whoever the winner happens to be, it will be an exciting game, and one with a lot more riding on it than just this year, thanks to the long history of rivalry between the two teams from Japan and the United States.