Soccer Watch

Soccer Watch

Germany 3, USA 0; Sweden 2, Canada 1

Well, the U.S. women are out of the Women's World Cup -- to everybody's surprise except, apparently, the German squad, which played with more confidence than any American opponent I've seen in a decade. The 3-0 score, of course, wasn't indicative of the game -- two goals came in extra time at the end, when the U.S. was pressing everyone forward and taking desperate chances in the back -- but Germany played step for step, body for body with the undisputed favorites, in front of a raucous American crowd, and goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg was the player of the game.

This was supposed to be "the real championship" game, the two best teams meeting in one semifinal, but mark my words, if the Germans start reading their press clippings too soon, Sweden will do the same thing to them in Sunday's final that Germany just did to the U.S. The Swedes, who came from behind in the final 10 minutes to oust Canada, 2-1, are a very disciplined squad, with a striking pair -- Hanna Ljungberg and Victoria Svensson -- every bit as creative and dangerous as the German pair of Birgit Prinz and Maren Meinert.

And how good are Prinz and Meinert? U.S. defender Cat Reddick after the game said they were the best she's ever played against, and "as lethal as any combination we have on this team."

Soccer Watch

On the Tube:

Third Place Game: USA vs. Canada, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2pm, ESPN2, TeleFutura

Championship Game: Germany vs. Sweden, Sunday, Oct. 12, 11:30am, ABC

The UT women dropped out of the national rankings this week for the first time in a couple of seasons, following a split up north over the weekend, 1-0 at Kansas and 1-3 at Oklahoma State. The Horns -- mired at 6-6 overall and well down in the Big 12 standings at this early stage -- have nonetheless been playing very well, and with five home games in their last seven, they're just now hitting the key stretch of the regular season. Hosting Baylor and Texas Tech this weekend (7pm Friday and 1pm Sunday, respectively), the Horns should dominate. Mike A. Myers Stadium, 471-3333 or 800/982-BEVO. $6 ($3, students, seniors).

Saturday, Oct. 11, is showdown day across Europe, as the top national teams fight it out in the final round of qualifiers for next summer's Euro 2004 tournament. Held every four years, the Euro championship is second in importance only to the World Cup. England travels to Turkey, and Ireland is at Switzerland, in two key encounters.

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