Sports Burst - USA Circus Comes To Town

Reuters

 

by Tim Stannard

 

USWNT face toughest challenge in four years in quarterfinal mega-clash against France 

 

Using the kind of language upon which Sports Burst can very much get on board, Megan Rapinoe thrillingly called for a "s***show circus" of a game against France in the quarterfinals of the Women's World Cup today. 

Sports Burst is guessing the kind of "s***show circus" being summoned is not the genre offered up by the men's team in a World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago for example, but a full-on, no-holds-barred clash between the overwhelming favorites of the World Cup and the hosts who quite fancy causing an upset. 

 

For the US to prevail then the team will have to play considerably better than the match against Spain where the World Cup champions relied on two soft penalties to pass through. 

It's a game where there is everything to lose for the USA. A defeat would give strength to Hope Solo's claims that Coach Jill Ellis was not up to the level of the tournament and unable to deal with teams that have improved in quality since the last World Cup win in 2015. 

A loss will also cause the internet meme industry to overload with flashbacks to the celebrations of the USWNT players in the 13-0 opening day win against Thailand. 

 

A victory will certainly be welcome but the US would still have a very long way to go to retain the title with a match-up against England waiting in the semifinals after the side lead by Phil Neville comfortably eased by Norway on Tuesday. 

Let the circus begin. 

 

 

Argentina try Copa America do-over against Venezuela 

 

If the Argentina players were not jittery enough about today's Copa America quarterfinal encounter against Venezuela, then Brazil's travails on last night's knockout against Paraguay would certainly have added to the fear factor.

Brazil were taken all the way to a penalty shootout but eventually prevailed against tremendously stubborn opponents who nearly caused quite the kerfuffle for the hosts. Instead, Brazil passes through and plays the winner of Friday's match - kicking off at the same time as the USWNT v France game. 

 

The message from Lionel Messi ahead of this game is that the group stages should be cast into the mines of 'meh'-mory. "Now starts another Copa. Now it is all or nothing," declared the Barcelona player. 

It is likely to be nothing rather than all for Argentina as the flaw in the declaration from Messi is that while it maybe another Copa, it is the same team playing in it. And that team has proven itself to be quite hopeless. 

That was certainly the case in March when Argentina and Venezuela met in Madrid and the Albiceleste were cleaned out 3-1. However, should Argentina manage to pull it together then a semifinal against Brazil on Tuesday will have more juicy narratives than a year of 'Days of Our Lives.' 

 

 

Herve Renard continues three-peat quest with Morocco 

 

Transfers? Not today. Especially as it doesn't look like Antoine Griezmann and Neymar are moving to Barcelona before the weekend.

So let's go all in on the tournaments with even more rather excellent AFCON action on Friday. The stand-out clash is the smooth-as-a-cucumber Herve Renard leading Morocco against Ivory Coast

The klaxon narrative here is that the Frenchman is looking to win a third AFCON title with three different teams and is facing off against the side that he lead to glory in 2015. Coverage of that game gets underway at 12:30PM ET / 9:30AM PT. 

 

The first game on the day's roster sees pre-tournament dark horses Tunisia very much needing a win against Mali after managing just a draw in the side's opening game. Our beIN SPORTS programming begins at 10AM ET / 7AM PT for this match. 

The day ends at 4PM ET / 1PM PT with South Africa facing Namibia. A defeat for either and it's likely to be an early exit from the tournament. 

The Sports Burst live show with Kay Murray and Mr Ray Hudson will preview all of this and talk a little bit of Neymar too. Just head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET / 9AM PT.