Graham Watson

  • What to Watch: Can the U.S. defense slow Germany's offense?

    Graham Watson at FC Yahoo 19 mins ago

    It’s finally here.

    The game many anticipated when the FIFA Women’s World Cup started has finally come to fruition and it’s going to be a dandy. Germany and the United States are ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the world respectively. They each have two World Cup titles and the winner of this game is considered the favorite to hoist a third trophy.

    But it won’t be easy. These teams match up oddly well and tonight’s game should be a hotly contested affair. It almost feels like a World Cup final and rest assured that both teams will treat it as such.

    Here are a few things to watch when the game kicks off this evening:

    Release the Alex Morgan

    That header definitely sounded better in my head. Regardless, the USWNT isn’t a one-woman show, but Morgan has the type of pace that gave Germany fits against France in the quarterfinals. Look for Morgan to try and get most of her play against Tabea Kemme, who is considered the weakest player in an average defense.

    And Germany focuses on Alex Morgan, it will free up Christian Press to have the breakout game for which we’ve all been waiting. Press has the speed and skill to be a factor in this contest, she just needs an opportunity (more on that later).


  • England boots host nation Canada from tournament with 2-1 win

    Graham Watson at FC Yahoo 2 days ago

    England needed just three minutes of sustained offense to defeat Canada 2-1 and advance to the semifinals of the World Cup for the first time in its history.

    Jodie Taylor kicked off the scoring in the 11 th minute when she stole the ball from Lauren Sesselmann, beat her defender and slid the ball past goalkeeper Erin McLeod. Less than three minutes later, Lucy Bronze headed the ball over McLeod to notch her second game-winning goal in as many days.

    Bronze, a defender, had only two previous international goals coming into the tournament.

    After that unexpected offensive flurry against a Canadian defense that had only allowed one goal in the tournament, the Lionesses bunkered in on defense like they have so many times this World Cup.

    Canada dictated play, but didn’t get many quality shots on goal. Striker Christine Sinclair cut the lead in half in the 42 nd minute when she corralled a rebound off goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and knocked it into the net, but outside of that, the quality chances were few and far between.

    "The dream is over,” Coach John Herdman said following the game. “Gutted, gutted for all of Canada. Christine (Sinclair) said sorry, but she can’t say that.


  • Japan defeats upstart Australia 1-0 to close in on title repeat

    Graham Watson at FC Yahoo 2 days ago

    World Cup reigning champion Japan wants everyone to know it’s not going to give up its title without a fight.

    It defeated Australia 1-0 with a late goal and became the third team to punch its ticket for the semifinals. Australia, who became the Cinderella of the tournament after a stunning upset of Brazil in the Round of 16, didn’t have the same drive against a more structured and defensive Japanese team to move on.

    This game was marked as potential upset because Japan had only played World Cup debutantes prior to the contest and because Australia had played three top 10 teams and defeated two of them. However, Australia’s gameplan of putting high pressure on the Japanese defense was never executed.

    Japan controlled the ball early and often and its suffocating defense stopped Australia’s speedy offense from getting quality chances. Australia was forced to play Japan’s game and never had the opportunity to be the aggressor in the contest.


    Want to read my in-game ramblings about soccer? Follow Graham Watson on Twitter@Yahoo_Graham

  • Quarterfinals power rankings: Australia is everyone's favorite underdog

    Graham Watson at FC Yahoo 4 days ago

    The quarterfinals of the FIFA Women's World Cup begin Friday, which means it's time to re-rank the remaining eight teams.

    [Women's World Cup: Latest news | Scores and Schedule | Group standings]

    The United States, despite all the criticism it's faced, actually moved up in the new rankings simply because of its schedule. Germany is still the team to beat and Australia is the team to fear. And if you're looking for the most boring game of the quarterfinals, Canada vs. England might be right up your alley.

    Here's a look at the way the final eight stack up.

    1. Germany How it advanced: Defeated Sweden 4-1 2015 World Cup record: 3-1-0 (wins-draws-losses) Quarterfinal opponent: France


  • Japan, the reigning World Cup champ, secures quarterfinals spot

    Graham Watson at FC Yahoo 6 days ago

    The quarterfinals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup are officially set.

    Japan, the reigning world champion, secured the final spot Tuesday with a dramatic 2-1 win against Netherlands.

    [Women's World Cup: Latest news | Scores and Schedule | Group standings]

    The game was one of the more exciting of the Round of 16 simply because the two teams were evenly matched and both created a lot of scoring chances.

    Japan struck early with a goal in the 10th minute and controlled the game through much of the first half. But in the second half, Netherlands seemed to settle. It mounted its best scoring chance in the 76th minute, which warranted a huge reactionary save by Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori.

    What a flurry in front of the #JPN goal, #NED couldn't put it away.


  • Steve Spurrier tweets support for the removal of the Confederate flag

    Graham Watson at Dr. Saturday 6 days ago

    A day after South Carolina governor Nikki Haley called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the statehouse grounds in Columbia, S.C., South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier took to Twitter to say the governor had the full backing of the football program.

    The South Carolina football team, players and coaches strongly support Governor Haley's decision to remove the flag from the capitol.

    Spurrier is really the last major figure from the University of South Carolina to weigh in on the recent debate over the use of the Confederate flag. University president Harris Pastides, athletic director Ray Tanner and even basketball coach Frank Martin all used their Twitter accounts to stand in opposition of the flag.

    Even former South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw weighed in tweeting: “Any flag that contradicts everything our Country flag represents, it shouldn't fly. We ALL stand united.”

    Also, major distribution companies such as Walmart and Amazon have stopped selling merchandise with Confederate flags.


  • Lou Holtz's Florida home sustains extensive damage after fire (Video)

    Graham Watson at Dr. Saturday 7 days ago

    The Orlando, Fla., home belonging to former ESPN analyst Lou Holtz suffered extensive fire damage Sunday following what fire officials believe was a lightning strike.

    Fire officials were checking with meteorologists about lightning strikes in the area and believe that was the cause of extensive damage to the 11,000-square-foot home.

    The home, which is reportedly worth $1.6 million, was engulfed in flames and took 60 Orlando firefighters to fight and more than three hours to extinguish. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries during the blaze, but there were not other reported injuries.

    Holtz retired from ESPN in April after spending the past 10 years as an analyst. The Hall of Fame coach had several coaching stops during his career, most notably with Notre Dame where his team was a consensus national champion in 1988.


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  • Michelle Akers questions Jill Ellis' coaching strategy in pointed interview

    Graham Watson at FC Yahoo 7 days ago

    It’s easy for analysts, talking heads, folks on Twitter to sit back and criticize the play of the United States women’s national team so far during this Women’s World Cup, but when a former players does it — a player who has won two World Cups — it’s time to listen.

    Michelle Akers, who played 15 years as a midfielder/forward for the U.S. and was on the World Cup-winning teams of 1991 and 1999, had some pointed words for coach Jill Ellis following the Americans’ 2-0 win against Colombia on Monday.

    "If she [Ellis] is pleased with the way we played tonight then what the hell is she doing coaching our U.S. team," Akers said during a two-minute segment on Sirius XM.

    Here’s the entire segment:

    Akers acknowledged that she’s taken the less-than-exemplary play of the U.S. personally because she’s a former player who feels a connection with the current players. But she, like many watching at home, also feels bewildered by the lineup choices and substitutions Ellis is putting on the field.

    Akers backtracked a bit in a Facebook post on Monday evening:


  • England's 2-1 win against Norway secures its longest World Cup run

    Graham Watson at FC Yahoo 7 days ago

    England is into the final eight of the FIFA Women’s World Cup thanks to defender Lucy Bronze, whose rocket shot in the 76th minute gave the Three Lionesses a 2-1 win over Norway in Ottawa.

    The strike, which came from about 22 yards out, capped a comeback by the British, who fended off more than 50 minutes of unabated Norwegian attack. However, after dominating the possession, Norway managed just one goal in the 54th minute off a corner kick.

    While that should have been the dagger in a one-sided game, it seemed to actually inspire England to play better. Stephanie Houghton scored the equalizer in the 61st minute off a header that went across the goal and off the far post. And from then on, the game swayed in England’s favor. Norway looked gassed and had no answer to get back into the game.

    [Women's World Cup: Latest news | Scores and Schedule | Group standings]


  • Top RB recruit Soso Jamabo enrolled at UCLA

    Graham Watson at Dr. Saturday 7 days ago

    Top running back recruit Soso Jamabo has officially enrolled at UCLA.

    Jamabo was arrested on prom night in April for trying to evade police in a vehicle. According to a statement from Kemp, Texas police chief Robert Walker, Jamabo was driving a Ford pickup at a high rate of speed and was endangering other people on the road as well as the passengers in the car. Those passengers were throwing objects from the windows of the vehicle.

    The three occupants of the vehicle were cited and released while Jamabo was arrested.

    UCLA coach Jim Mora did not comment on Jamabo’s status at the time, but did tell the Rich Eisen Show on April 27 that he believed Jamabo was a young man of high character that made a mistake.



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