Recap of last week's international soccer matchesDate: July 9, 2019
By: Joseph Osei-Bonsu
If there ever was a shadow of doubt about who is the better national side in terms of U.S. soccer, that shadow was banished last Sunday. Even the coach of the USMNT, Gregg Berhalter, opined that his team was second best to Mexico in their 1-nil CONCACAF Gold Cup Final defeat.
Juxtaposed with the sterling performance the women’s team produced to overpower the Dutch and successfully defend their FIFA Women’s World Cup title, you can see why certain pundits have referred to America’s men’s soccer team as a ‘bunch of losers’.
After contributing the first of the two goals that the USWNT scored against the Netherlands in the final; after bagging six goals and providing three assists to win the golden boot; and after winning the tournament’s golden ball with her dazzling performances, Megan Rapinoe (with her teammates) is set to be paid significantly less than any player in the men’s team who were outclassed by Mexico, last Sunday.
This issue has certainly become a major bone of contention in America; especially, when you consider the country’s ongoing #MeToo movement and tense political divide. We’re yet to see if the World Cup winners will pay a visit to White House after President Trump and, team captain Rapinoe, 34-years-old, had a public spat on twitter.
One thing is for sure though, if the USWNT continue their winning ways and their male counterparts continue to disappoint, this issue isn’t going away anytime soon. In the third-place consolation match, Sweden beat the previous World Cup’s bronze winners, England, 2-1, to clinch third place.
“A friend is not always right just because he's a friend. You can say it in the heat of the moment, but I still won't agree. Firstly, he's disrespecting an institution such as the [Brazilian] Selecao, in my view.”
“Secondly, he's being disrespectful with several professionals who put a lot of things aside so they could be there fighting for a dream…I think he was wrong for saying these things,” reacted Copa America winner and Brazil captain, Dani Alves, after Argentina’s captain, Lionel Messi, suggested that the tournament was rigged in Brazil’s favor.
Messi was shown only the second red card of his career after he got into a chest-bumping altercation with Chile captain, Gary Medel, during the competition’s third-place play-off.
Two first-half goals from Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Juventus’s Paulo Dybala settled the highly physical and ill-tempered affair in Argentina’s favor. Messi’s Barcelona teammate, Arturo Vidal, scored a penalty in the second half but it was only a consolation for Chile.
Peru gave it their all. They braved Brazil’s Maracana stadium and equalized from a Guerrero spot kick after Brazil’s Everton had given the hosts the lead. But it just wasn’t to be. Gabriel Jesus scored a second for Brazil only to get sent off in the 70th minute after a second bookable offence.
Luckily, his teammates were able to hold out; ending the game 3-1, to win their first major international trophy in 12 years. Tournament rookies Madagascar stunned the Democratic Republic of Congo to advance to the last eight of the Africa Cup of Nations.
The competition’s upsets continued as Morocco, hosts Egypt, defending champions Cameroon, and four-time champions Ghana, were dumped out by Benin, South Africa, Nigeria and Tunisia, respectively. The quarterfinal round of the African Cup of Nations begins today.
Joseph Osei-Bonsu can be reached at email@example.com.