If you’ve ever expressed either of those opinions, I’d like to introduce you to Ms. Abby Wambach.
This goal — down a woman, with less than a minute to go before elimination, against one of the best teams in the world, in a game where every break after the second minute seemed to go against the U.S. — has to rank as one of the biggest in the history of American sport. Not quite to Chastain’s level in ’99, and not quite to Eruzione’s in ’80. But it’s bigger than Donovan’s in 2010, and I honestly can’t think of another one in the same ballpark as those four.
In a World Cup that’s had its share of upsets (Germany losing to Japan!) and drama (three quarterfinals going to extra time, and two to penalty kicks), nothing is certain. The USA squad is the top-ranked team left in the tournament, but they’ve already lost to another quarterfinalist — Sweden — and I wouldn’t sleep on France or Japan, the former of whom gave Germany all they could, and the latter of whom actually beat them. But win, lose, or draw the rest of the way, the U.S. team has shown a level of resilience the likes of which I’ve never seen from a U.S. women’s squad before. Of course, they haven’t needed it before; they were just better than everyone for a long, long time. Now that gap has closed. But the Yanks are still finding a way, even if at the very last second.
Let’s close with Parker and Stone.