The streak is over, and so is the United States' bid for a third Women's World Cup championship. Brazil and its star player Marta put on a dazzling performance against the Americans and cruised to a 4-0 victory in the semifinals Thursday, ending the U.S. unbeaten streak at 51 games and sending the Brazilians into their first title match, against Germany on Sunday.
Breaking with a tradition that players who don't appear in games don't speak with the media, Solo offered a scathing indictment of Ryan's decision in a postmatch interview.
Solo also said she would have saved some of the shots that got past Scurry, the goalkeeper for the 1999 U.S. World Cup championship squad as well as Olympic gold-medal teams in 1996 and 2004.
(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Jen Chang's Take: Ryan's Decisions Hurt the U.S.
Martin Rogers' Take: Questionable Calls
"People say this is a step back, but I think Greg Ryan has put us three steps back – all the way to the starting gate," said Chastain, the 1999 World Cup hero who watched Thursday's loss from her home in Northern California. "He lacks the ability to communicate and is not in tune with his players, and he's obviously not a tactician or he wouldn't have made the decisions he did.
Self-belief has pushed Brazil to the brink of World Cup glory as the Samba Girls go in search of a title won by their more famous male counterparts five times.
Few would have wagered money on Brazil at the beginning of the tournament but their silky skills and unselfish teamwork have not only won over the Chinese fans but driven them further than they have ever been before.
Women's World Cup Final - Germany vs. Brazil: Preview
Sunday's women's World Cup final between Marta's Brazil and Birgit Prinz's Germany will be a veritable clash of styles.