In a match meant for the Women's World Cup Finals, but taking place in the quarterfinal round, the United States will face Brazil on Sunday morning. The American side is here because of a disappointing performance in their final group stage match, which ended as a 2-1 loss to Sweden, forcing the US to face Brazil earlier than expected. Sweden moved on as the No. 1 seed out of Group C while the USA advanced as the No. 2 seed.
Brazil has been perfect in the 2011 Women's World Cup thus far, winning all three of its matchups with a plus-seven goal differential. The Brazilian side took care of Australia, the No. 2 seed out of Group D, as well as Norway and Equatorial Guinea. After starting slow against Australia, winning just 1-0, Brazil put its foot down over the course of the final two group stage matches, hammering Norway and Equatorial Guinea by a 3-0 margin each.
So it all comes down to this for the United States, who began the tournament in promising fashion with a 2-0 win over North Korea and a 3-0 win over Colombia. Wednesday's costly loss to Sweden, brought about by two defensive mistakes leading to two dead-ball goals, placed the Americans perilously on the edge of elimination, forced to take-on Brazil in the knockout round.
The back line of the United States needs to tighten up, especially against the technically proficient Brazilian footballers. A costly penalty against Sweden on a sloppy challenge inside the box led to the first goal Hope Solo had given up in the tournament on Wednesday and was followed by another foul deep in the American defensive half, leading to a somewhat unlucky goal off free kick deflection. These are mistakes that can't happen against a Brazilian squad that's able to take advantage of miscues at the blink of an eye.
The United States and Brazil face-off in a blockbuster matchup on Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. PDT. The game will be televised on ESPN and streamed online at ESPN3.com.
For more on the tournament, be sure to visit SB Nation Soccer's 2011 Women's World Cup StoryStream. Stay with this StoryStream for more on Hope Solo and the United States Womens National Team.