#Racing #USWNT

Racing’s Highs and Lows from the final Group Stage Match

Racing Louisville’s 6 player representatives at the World Cup but on a show for what was arguably the wildest World Cup group stage (men or women) that I can remember. Sadly, only 4 out of the 6 player’s countries advanced to the knockout round, so this will be the last report with those 2 involved.

On a positive note, 4 players still represent the ladies in lavender at the World Cup. They cannot clash against each other in a match until the semi-final, so you can have rooting interests in different parts of the bracket through the quarterfinals before you have to pick which Racing player (or their country) you like more than the other! As for the 2 whose countries fell short of the knockouts can return to NWSL/Challenge Cup action whenever they want.
 
FotMob and OneFootball will provide player ratings.
 
Alex Chidiac
Canada 0 – 4 Australia
 
Ratings
FotMob – N/A
OneFootball – N/A
 
Sadly, we again did not see Chidiac play for the Matildas in their final group-stage match. However, they are into the round of 16, so there is still hope for Chidiac to get some more minutes and possibly etch herself into World Cup history. The beatdown on Canada propelled Australia (still without Sam Kerr) to win their group in front of 27,706 fans at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.
 
The Matildas will take on the De rød-hide (the red and whites) of Denmark on Monday, August 7th, at Stadium Australia, with kickoff set for 6:30 am EST/5:30 am CST.
 
Uchenna Kanu 
Ireland 0 – 0 Nigeria
 
Ratings 
FotMob – 7.8
OneFootball – 7.4
 
Kanu shined in Nigeria’s draw that sent the Super Falcons advance to the knockout stages for the first time since 1999 in front of 24,884 fans at Brisbane Stadium. In her 68 minutes played, she completed 71% of her passes, created 2 chances, and totaled 10 recoveries. Additionally, she was crucial in the attack for the Super Falcons, making any early opportunity for them within the 14th minute on a pass to Oshoala and then almost getting her 2nd goal of the tournament in the 52nd minute. 
 
The Super Falcons drew a challenging round of 16 opponents with the Lionesses of England. Still, this World Cup has proved anything can happen. The match will be played on Monday, August 7th, at Brisbane Stadium, with kickoff set for 3:30 am EST/2:30 am CST.
 
Savannah DeMelo
Portugal 0 – 0 USA
 
Ratings
FotMob – N/A
OneFootball – N/A
 
Surprisingly, we did not see DeMelo during the USA’s final group match draw against Portugal in front of 40,958 fans at Eden Park (that goal post should be given national treasure status). A match that, if the US had lost, they would have been sent home from a World Cup in the group stage for the first time ever (they have made at least the semi-final of every tournament) which could have caused even more chaos than we are already seeing.
 
However, there is still hope for the USA, even though we have gotten a tough draw against Sweden. The 2015 World Cup raised similar concerns about the US coming out of group play. While they did get 2 wins in 2015, they narrowly built a much weaker Nigeria side by 1-0 on the final day and tied Sweden 0-0 on the second. However, just like in 2023, the US only scored 4 goals across those 3 games and also only conceded 1. 
 
The World Cup is full of surprises, and anything is possible. Do not count the US dead until the final whistle. The USWNT will play Sweden on Sunday, August 6th, at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, with kickoff set for 5 am EST/4 am CST. They will be without Rose Lavalle because she picked up her second yellow, so I expect DeMelo to start.
 
Wang Shuang
China PR 1 – 6 England
 
Ratings
FotMob – 7.1
OneFootball – 5.1
 
Shuang sadly was the first Racing player eliminated from the World Cup when the Lionesses proved too much to the Steel Roses in front of 13,497 fans at Hindmarsh Stadium. However, Shuang was the one bright spot for an otherwise forgettable China performance by completing 71% of her passes and picking up China’s lone goal off a penalty in the 57th minute.
 

With this match being played back on Tuesday, August 1st, I expect to see Shuang back with Racing (not dressed or playing yet) by their final Challenge Cup match on Saturday, August 5th. I would definitely expect her to play for the #FilltheFam match against Angel City on August 19th.

Thembi Kgatlana

Italy 2 – 3 South Africa

Ratings

FotMob – 8.3

OneFootball – 8.6

Kgatlana has officially entered South Africa’s history book thanks to her extra-time winner in the 92nd minute to secure the Banyana Banyana their first-ever knockout stage appearance in front of 14,967 fans at Wellington Regional Stadium. The goal ties Kgatlana with many other African women’s footballers for the most goals scored at a World Cup. Outside of the historic plan, Kgatlana completed 62% and picked up an assist in her fantastic performance. 

South Africa has a rough match ahead when they take on the Oranje of the Netherlands on Saturday, August 5th, at Sydney Football Stadium, with kickoff set for 10 pm EST/9 pm CST.
 
Ary Borges
Jamaica 0 – 0 Brazil
 
Ratings
FotMob – 6.9
OneFootball – 5.5
 
Sadly, Borges (as well as the GOAT Marta) did not advance to the knockout stages, joining Shuang as the only other Racing player to not go to the knockout stages. However, in her 45 minutes played, she completed 67% of her passes, logged 2 shots, 1 big chance created, 4 passes into the final third, won 83% of her duels, and picked up 6 recoveries. She nearly was the hero for her nation in the 23rd minute with a wide-open header on goal that she put over the net.
 



Like Shuang, Borges has a solid tournament. Although she is returning earlier than many (including us) expected, she certainly made Racing Louisville proud. Also, like Shuang, Borges can return to Racing whenever so unlikely for the Challenge Cup match, but she should be there for the #FillTheFam match.
 
And that wraps up the group stage report on the Racing Stars at the World Cup. Make sure to stick to Bluegrass Soccer Cast (@BGSoccerCast on all social media platforms) for full coverage of Racing Louisville and all things soccer in our beautiful Commonwealth. 



Author’s Note – The legendary Marta, the GOAT of women’s football, has likely played in her last World Cup. She has solidified herself not only as a women’s football icon but an icon of the entire game. In my book, she is tied with Pele for the greatest Brazilian #10 of all time. She was a trailblazer when young girls had no women’s players to look up to. She inspired so many young girls with her play and performance. I will end with this video of Marta speaking on her legacy and her team’s legacy.
 

Photo by Jordan Prather

Author

  • Jon Hunt

    Jon Hunt is an avid and enthusiastic soccer podcast host. Originally from the Detroit area, he now resides in central Kentucky. Jon brings passion and his love of soccer history to the Bluegrass Soccer Cast community. His ultimate goal is to continue the growth of soccer in America with a focus of the thriving soccer scene in Kentucky. #ProRelForUSA

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