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How has the women's World Cup experience been for you? Has it grabbed your attention? Do you care?
Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith): I'm surprised by the extent to which I care. I watched the USA-Brazil game and was on the edge of my seat at the end of the extra time and during the penalty kicks. I also watched the USA-France game and was thrilled, and I'm sure I'll watch the USA-Japan final. It's been a lot of fun.
Having said that, I don't believe interest in the World Cup, men's or women's, has anything to do with interest in soccer beyond the World Cup. Just as lots of us will watch bobsledding at the Olympics and would never think of watching bobsledding at any other time, soccer is thrilling to me during the World Cup and uninteresting to me at most other times.
Kal Lwanga: I distractedly watched the conclusion of the USA vs. Brazil match at the home of an SBNation editor. I had already written off Team USA and was wishing he'd change the channel already! when Abby Wambach's one-for-ages header saved the American bacon. Needless to say, I was riveted to the screen as Hope Solo came up with the block that paved the way for the decisive 5-3 penalty kick victory. USA! USA!
Tim Sieck (@TimSieck): Before the Brazil game I had no idea the Women's World Cup was even going on. I didn't watch the Brazil game but after seeing the highlights I wish I had. My plan was to watch the game against France, but thanks to this weeks power outages I was unable to. I will watch Sunday against Japan.
Dennis Tarwood (@tuffyr): You're speaking to a gentleman who had all-access to the Women's World Cup at Soldier Field in 2003 when I volunteered to help with stadium tech support. (Well, except the locker rooms.) Three memories stand out:
Unfortunately, you're also talking to a gentleman who doesn't have cable, so the only Women's World Cup I've seen has been U.S.-Colombia at Cubby Bear North. I followed Twitter for U.S.-Brazil and U.S.-France, but I'll head back out for the final. I hope it's a carbon copy of 1999, mostly because carbon copies don't require refilling a copier.
Z.W. Martin (@ZWMartin):
Bobby Loesch (@BobbyStompy): I don't know if it's my growing baseball apathy, budding soccer interest or something else entirely, but the 2011 Women's World Cup has very much piqued my interest. The 2010 Men's World Cup last year was probably my favorite -- remember vuvuzelas? those were great -- so it's possible there's momentum from that carrying over.
What I really like about this team, in reverse order.
3) Cool plays -- Exhibit A. That's just unarguably awesome. As any NBA fan with a love of assists and Rajon Rondo, that Abby Wambach goal against Brazil is just impossible not to like.
2) New identity -- Everybody loves the Brandi Chastain goal from the 1999 Women's World Cup, but if there was one flaw with that finish, it's almost as if the image became *too* much of the defining moment for women's soccer in America. I mean, it's been 12 damn years since it happened, and, going into this World Cup, I'm sure it'd be one of the few things casual Americans would be able to recall about women's soccer. After this year, that's no longer the case. Abby Wambach now has an ESPY "Best Play" that will last forever.
1) Hope Solo -- Whether hockey or soccer, goalies always fascinate me. Solo is probably in my Top 5 for most fascinating ever. Remember when she got benched for Brianna Scurry and snapped off? You don't? Block quote!
"It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that. There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. And the fact of the matter is it's not 2004 anymore. It's not 2004. And it's 2007, and I think you have to live in the present. And you can't live by big names. You can't live in the past."
Extraordinary swag and honesty. I like this team and this Cup because it's redemption for her. Knowing less than 1% about the sport, it's hard for me to shake the feeling she's not the best goalie in the world. She's so dominating when she plays; it's like watching LBJ play basketball.
So yeah, all that and more.