U.S.A. coach Pia Sundhage has a couple of interesting decisions to make ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup final clash against Japan in Frankfurt, Germany on Sunday (2.45pm, ET).
Firstly, she has to choose whether to stick with Becky Sauerbrunn, who was impressive at center back in the 3-1 victory against France today, or bring back Rachel Buehler, who had to sit the game out on account of her quarterfinal dismissal.
And secondly, does she name the same four midfielders (Lauren Cheney, Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd and Heather O’Reilly) or opt to include both Megan Rapinoe and Cheney in a World Cup starting lineup for the first time against Japan’s technically gifted engine room.
It was obvious to all that France had the upper hand in the second half until Rapinoe ’s introduction on the left flank and Cheney’s switch to the middle swung the pendulum back in favor of the U.S.
Indianapolis born Cheney has been a revelation for the Americans, and all the talk of her surprise inclusion for the first group game against North Korea looks a tad foolish now as she racks up the solid performances like she’s collecting shells on a sandy beach.
Her goal to give the U.S. the lead, and her well placed corner which found Abby Wambach on the far post for the second are two of the main reasons why Pia Sundhage has decisions to make on Sunday, instead of Saturday when the third place play-off takes place.