June 21, 2015
A NOT-SO-GENTLE REMINDER
USA says it will take nothing for granted vs. Colombia after Australia upset Brazil
EDMONTON, Alberta -- Without playing a knockout-round match in the FIFA Women's World Cup, the United States was reminded Sunday how fragile life can be for even the favorites.
Case in point: Australia's 1-0 upset of one of the tournament's favorites, Brazil, in the Round of 16 in Moncton, Canada on Sunday. The Brazilians are No. 7 in FIFA's latest rankings, the Australians 10th.
That stunning result certainly did not escape the heavily favored Americans, who are set to play Colombia at Commonwealth Stadium Monday. The USA is ranked second in the world, the Colombians 28th.
"Nothing's taken for granted," USA head coach Jill Ellis said. "We need to have a laser focus on what we need to do."
That would be to advance to the quarterfinals and a possible semifinal pairing with another favorite, Germany, in Ottawa on Friday.
The Colombians certainly have the USA’s respect.
"I don't think it is a fluke that beat France," USA midfielder Megan Rapinoe said about the Colombians' 1-0 win over France in the group stage.
"They've played pretty well in the matches that we've seen. I think they will try to high pressure us when they can. ... Very skillful, very technical. We have to be on our best."
The Americans have dominated the South Americans in previous competitions. They defeated Colombia in the 2011 Women's World Cup, 3-0, and then in the group stage of the 2012 London Summer Olympics, 3-0.
"I see a more complete team and more mature one," Rapinoe said.
Colombia likes to counter attack, so the USA knows what it needs to do.
"We have to get pressure on the ball initially," Ellis said. "Our backline has to be aware of not getting pulled out of shape.
"We have to move the ball very quickly. We have to recognize where the space is. We have to circulate the ball quickly."