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Kristine Lilly’s Take On The World Cup

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PHOTO: 1999 World Cup – Pasadena, CA  (Kristine Lilly’s 3rd World Cup at 28 years old)

This is the time of the World Cup when each team has been trying to get to the knockout round. This is the first step to being a World Champion. This is where it counts and each game keeps you alive – or sends you home.

I can remember getting to the knockout round of each World Cup and feeling good about that for a second – then my thoughts shifted quickly to  ”Lets win this thing!”. There are many steps you go through. Your own personal preparations first, which to me is more mental than physical. Then figuring out how to do what you want and implementing it into the team game plan. This is where the great teams end up coming together and finding a way to win.

Right now it seems like Germany has the momentum going in the right direction. They have the most shots out of any team and most goals for. A new team to the World Cup stage is Cameroon. They have a lot of flair and unpredictability – but can they handle the heavy hitters if they get past China?

Canada is the host team and so far I haven’t seen their best, but their ride to the final isn’t as difficult as others. So if they can feed off the home crowd and use that energy instead of the pressure the host team feels, they may be getting to that final.

The United States of America, I always believe that if they are playing the best soccer, they can win. They got out of the group of death on top and now enter the knockout phase playing first timer at the World Cup, Columbia. A team that has some tenacity and bite but I’m not sure they can stay with the power, fitness and experience of the U.S.  Plus their starting goalkeeper will be out of this game due to a red card.

There are two teams that haven’t gotten a lot of media attention but have quietly gotten the job done and won all three games in-group stage, –  Japan and Brazil. Plus Brazil hasn’t let a goal in. Japan the reigning World Champions, continue to play a possession style game with a bit of an edge now because they know what it takes to win.

France has been the talk of the World Cup. They have come off a year in which they have been playing some of the best soccer around. Certainly the best soccer France has seen. They experienced a shocking loss to Columbia in the group stage but ended up coming out first in their group. They will play a very organized but not as experienced Korean side. It should be for a great match.

These are some of my initial thoughts about the first round. It brings me back to World Cup days and how exciting and nerve-racking the World Cup can be. I have to say, it is more nerve-racking as a fan than a player. I don’t miss all that hard work these players have put in to get them to this point.

Always Believe,

Kristine Lilly

Korrio’s Soccer Ambassador