Featured Matches
Previous
Arsenal
Besiktas
1
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Napoli
3
1
ESPNDeportes FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 2
Game Details
Bayer Leverkusen
FC Copenhagen
4
0
ESPN3 FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 7 - 2
Game Details
Aston Villa
Leyton Orient
0
1
FT
Game Details
Birmingham City
Sunderland
0
3
FT
Game Details
Stoke City
Portsmouth
3
0
FT
Game Details
Burton Albion
Queens Park Rangers
1
0
FT
Game Details
Arsenal
Besiktas
1
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Napoli
3
1
ESPNDeportes FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 2
Game Details
Bayer Leverkusen
FC Copenhagen
4
0
ESPN3 FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 7 - 2
Game Details
Ludogorets Razgrad
Steaua Bucuresti
1
0
ESPN3 FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Malmo FF
SV Salzburg
3
0
ESPN3 FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 2
Game Details
Aston Villa
Leyton Orient
0
1
FT
Game Details
Birmingham City
Sunderland
0
3
FT
Game Details
Bradford City
Leeds United
2
1
FT
Game Details
Burton Albion
Queens Park Rangers
1
0
FT
Game Details
Stoke City
Portsmouth
3
0
FT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
DC United
3
1
LIVE 59'
Game Details
León
Herediano
1
1
FT
Game Details
Municipal
Pachuca
3
6
LIVE 89'
Game Details
Cobresal
General Díaz
2
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 4
Game Details
Independiente Terán
Trujillanos
1
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Libertad
Nacional Potosí
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
River Plate
Universidad Católica
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 0
Game Details
Internacional
Bahia
0
2
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Alianza Lima
Barcelona
0
0
LIVE 90' +1'
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
Atlético Nacional
Deportivo La Guaira
1
0
LIVE 90' +4'
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Atletico Rafaela
Newell's Old Boys
2
3
FT
Game Details
Rosario Central
Godoy Cruz de Mendoza
0
1
FT
Game Details
River Plate
Defensa y Justicia
3
0
FT
Game Details
Estudiantes La Plata
Boca Juniors
3
1
FT
Game Details
Irapuato
U.A.N.L
2
1
FT
Game Details
Morelia
Celaya
3
0
ESPNDeportes FT
Game Details
Oaxaca
Chiapas
2
0
FT
Game Details
Atlas
Mineros de Zacatecas
1
0
FT
Game Details
Correcaminos
Santos
2
3
FT
Game Details
UNAM
Mérida
1
2
FT
Game Details
Zacatepec
Guadalajara
0
2
ESPNDeportes FT
Game Details
América RN
Atletico Paranaense
3
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Cruzeiro
Santa Rita
5
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Botafogo
Ceará
1
2
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Bragantino
Corinthians
1
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Coritiba FBC
Flamengo
3
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Palmeiras
Atlético MG
0
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
LDU Quito
Deportivo Quito
3
0
FT
Game Details
FC Seoul
Pohang Steelers
0
0
FT-Pens
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0FC Seoul win 3-0 on penalties
Game Details
Guangzhou Evergrande
Western Sydney Wanderers
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Amazulu
Bloem Celtic
0
2
FT
Game Details
Mamelodi Sundowns
Orlando Pirates
0
3
FT
Game Details
Pretoria Univ
Free State Stars
0
1
FT
Game Details
Silver Stars
Kaizer Chiefs
0
2
FT
Game Details
SuperSport United
Mpumalanga Black Aces
1
2
FT
Game Details
Saprissa
Santos
Postp
Game Details
Carmelita
Club Sport Uruguay
2
0
FT
Game Details
Cartagines
Perez Zeledon
Postp
Postponed - now being played Sun, Aug 31
Game Details
Petapa
Coatepeque
Postp
Game Details
Vida
Marathon
3
1
FT
Game Details
Next

UCL welcomes first-timers, host of regulars

Five Aside about an hour ago
Read

Serie A season preview: AS Roma

AS Roma 10 hours ago
Read
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 24, 2007

U.S. prepared for a physical clash with Brazil

SHANGHAI, China -- With a spot in the World Cup final on the line, soccer's old power and young challenger will collide when the United States and Brazil meet in Hangzhou (ESPN2, Thursday, 8 a.m. ET).

And before assuming that's just some kind of metaphor, consider that the American team's medical staff has already had to add a staple gun to its triage inventory.

Beautiful soccer? Thursday's game promises to be more like a back-alley brawl for survival.

Three years after the United States held off Brazil in a 2-1 overtime thriller to win Olympic gold in Athens, the two teams meet again in the latter stages of a major tournament. For the United States, which has won more World Cup and Olympic titles combined than any other country, the game offers a chance to return to a World Cup final for the first time in eight years and erase the sting of a semifinal loss against Germany four years ago in Portland. For Brazil, it's a chance to advance to a World Cup final for the first time and a chance for revenge against the team that denied the country's first major title in women's soccer.

After the United States surrendered two short-handed goals against North Korea in its World Cup group opener while waiting for the training staff to stitch up a large gash on Abby Wambach's head, team doctor Chris Amann made sure a staple gun was on hand for future personnel emergencies. Stephanie Lopez was the first unlucky benefactor, receiving five staples to close a cut on her head after getting kicked by England's Jill Scott during the team's quarterfinal win. The quick fix (Lopez also received three stitches after the game) did its job; she missed less than two minutes and England couldn't exploit its numerical advantage.

And those games were flag football compared to the rugby scrum that marks a typical encounter with Brazil.

"I watched the [Brazil-Australia quarterfinal], and it's just really evident that Brazil is a hard team, physically," Wambach said Monday with diplomatic aplomb.

U.S. women's schedule
U.S. vs. Brazil

Thursday
Hangzhou Dragon Stadium, Hangzhou, China
8 a.m. ET, ESPN2
The leading scorer for the United States in this World Cup (four goals), Wambach has recent firsthand experience of what she speaks. She scored a goal against Brazil in a 2-0 win for the United States at Giants Stadium in July, and while that victory against a side competing without star playmaker Marta may not have a great deal of relevance in assessing Thursday's semifinal, the 20 fouls and five yellow cards called against a Brazilian defense that battered Wambach and others throughout the game offer some insight into the way things may unfold in Hangzhou.

Despite cruising through its opener against overmatched New Zealand with just one foul, Brazil totaled 42 fouls and four yellow cards in its first four games, compared to 39 fouls and one yellow card for the United States, which came through a more competitive group and played twice in sloppy conditions.

Of course, there is also an artistic side to the team's aggression. The Brazilians are an increasingly popular pick to leave China with the championship precisely because, interspersed with the fouls, frustration and hard play, they have assembled as much individual offensive talent as any women's team in the world. Pick the top 10 goals of the tournament through the quarterfinals and at least half of them, arguably, are courtesy of the deep Brazilian arsenal that includes Marta, Cristiane, Daniela, Renata Costa, Formiga and Pretinha.

Stopping that free-flowing, quick-strike attack presents a different task than countering North Korea's technical precision or Sweden's size and strength on long balls.

"They're not quite as structured," Lopez said of Brazil. "But you still know their style -- that they want to get the ball on their foot and attack you and free up open players. So it's a little bit different, maybe tactically, structurally, but you still know physically kind of what they're going to bring at you."

Against Brazil in June, United States coach Greg Ryan used the same 3-4-3 formation that he employed against North Korea in the World Cup opener. If he does so again Thursday, it would mean pushing Lopez up from outside back to midfield, a place where the youngest player on the roster has at times looked less comfortable.

But more important than the specific formation may be Leslie Osborne's presence at the start of the game.

Osborne was an integral part of the team's wins in the two games in which she started, marking Victoria Svensson in a 2-0 win against Sweden and Kelly Smith in the 3-0 quarterfinal win against England. And while she said Monday she wasn't sure what her assignment would be against Brazil, it's difficult to envision a scenario in which she doesn't start and spend a lot of time staring down Marta.

Brazil's 21-year-old star has lived up to her billing in this World Cup. Tied with Norway's Ragnhild Gulbrandsen for the tournament lead with five goals, she is the cornerstone of her team's attack.

"She's kind of like Kelly [Smith], just in terms of fast, really good with the ball -- the ball is like glued to her foot," Leslie Osborne explained. "And not only does she play it, but she looks to get the ball back every single time. She's just involved, and they get her the ball and she just doesn't stop."

Osborne's explanation for how she manages to slow some of the best players in the world, and how she might attack the player considered by many to top that list, sounds simple enough. But she executes it as well as any American midfielder in recent memory.

"I just keep myself in between the ball and the player all the time, so when they try and play the ball to the player, I can head it away or I can get in the middle," Osborne said. "And then standing them up, and waiting for another teammate to help me double them or pressure them, and use my long legs to get in the way of their dribbling."

The United States is 19-1-2 in the all-time series against Brazil, including 5-0-0 in the World Cup and Olympics. The lone loss came a decade ago in Sao Paulo. Brazil has scored just 11 goals against the United States, including two in the past nine meetings.

But with Brazil's firepower in the early stages of this tournament fueling the sense that it's simply too talented a side to remain the best team never to win a major tournament, Thursday's game promises to be a clash (in every sense of the word) of equals.

"This kind of shows you who you are," Wambach said. "This is the tester that almost will define this team. And hopefully it's in a good way."

Graham Hays is a regular contributor to ESPN.com's soccer coverage. E-mail him at Graham.Hays@espn3.com.