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Mon, July 15

Commentary: USA goes for championships on soccer Sunday

Megan Rapinoe, a forward for the United States women’s national team is introduced for fans during a send-off ceremony following an international friendly soccer match against Mexico, Sunday, May 26, 2019, in Harrison, N.J. The U.S. won 3-0. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Megan Rapinoe, a forward for the United States women’s national team is introduced for fans during a send-off ceremony following an international friendly soccer match against Mexico, Sunday, May 26, 2019, in Harrison, N.J. The U.S. won 3-0. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Given the timing there probably won’t be many parties but July 7 will be a super Sunday for soccer.

Three major international tournaments will hold their finals on Sunday and the United States is involved in two of them

The action starts with the Women’s World Cup Final. The USA faces the Netherlands at the unfortunate time of 8 a.m., on Fox.

Still, it’s worth setting your alarm for.

The United States Women’s National Team goes for its fourth World Cup championship. Four would be very impressive, only Brazil has won more senior World Cups but their men’s team starting winning those in the 1950s.

The USWNT started winning World Cups just in the 1990s, beginning with the inaugural WWC in 1991. Plus they’ve won four Olympic gold medals, so No. 1 ranked team in the world has been impressive.

The USWNT is so American. They’re flashy, but hard working and scrappy, diverse and dominant. They’re brash, celebrating in a bold, very American manner and yet they can be seen consoling their victims — I mean opponents — after matches.

Americans like scoring and the USWNT lights up the scoreboard. They hold the record for biggest margin of victory in any World Cup (men’s or women’s), are tied for most goals in a tournament and have two top contenders for the Golden Boot in Alex Morgan (six goals) and Megan Rapinoe (five goals).

If the US scores two or more goals on Sunday then they take the goal scoring record the 1991 USA squad and 2003 Germany, who both had 25.

On the other side the Netherlands is new to the top tier of women’s soccer. The Dutch came from the easy side of the bracket in France but are the defending European champions.

The Oranje shouldn’t be a big problem for the USA but they have talent and great fan support. They’re No. 8 in the FIFA rankings.

Then at 1 p.m. on ESPN+, Brazil hosts Peru in the Copa América final. Despite the name it’s just South America plus a couple teams thrown in to make up the numbers (Japan and Qatar) but South America is a strong confederation.

After a nasty string of nil-nil games, the Copa América picked up in the semifinals, when Brazil edged Argentina 2-0 and Peru upset the holders Chile 3-0.

Brazil is No. 3 in the FIFA rankings and Peru 21st.

Brazil, who beat Peru 5-0 earlier in the tournament, will win of course but the good news is Neymar isn’t there so it’s okay to root for Seleção.

Really they should just go ahead and combine Copa América and the Gold Cup at this point but it is nice to get three big finals in one day.

Speaking of the Gold Cup, its final comes at 6 p.m. on FS1 when the United States faces Mexico. The Gold Cup is the championship of our confederation, North American, Central America and the Caribbean.

While some soccer purists don’t like that it is some what seeded, setting up a USA/Mexico final, that’s the best way to do it instead of the blind draw that most soccer tournaments have.

How much nicer would the USA and France match or USA and England match or Brazil and Argentina been if they were the final? Plus we wouldn’t have to keep hearing the stupid phrase “final before the final” constantly.

Mexico comes in as the favorite, but they haven’t been all the impressive, squeaking by Martinique, Costa Rica and Haiti. Meanwhile the US men’s national team has had some better results.

The road to the final wasn’t difficult for the USMNT but they got revenge against Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica and had less bumps in the road than El Tri.

The USMNT beat Mexico 1-0 in their most recent meeting, a friendly, in September and earned a 1-1 draw at Mexico City in 2017 in their last match in a competition.

El Tri historically owns the rivalry but since 2000 the USMNT is 14-7-6 against Mexico. The United States has six Gold Cups and Mexico seven.

USA is No. 30 in the FIFA rankings and Mexico is No. 18.

What a way to end a great day of soccer.

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