The eye catching Louisa Necib: Her last name in Arabic means “fate”
Team USA in a few minutes will take to the pitch facing an extremely dangerous France. Both teams are coming off exhausting quarterfinal matches against their opponents which went to penalty shootout. A key factor will be how well both teams rebound from those mentally and physically challenging roller coasters.
France has a powerful centre in Marie Laure Delie, a Didier Drogba like presence with her ability to muscle her way through opposition. Bruno Bini has a surfeit of attacking talent and can turn to Elodie Thomis, Eugenie Le Sommer, Sandrine Bretigny on the bench. But the key to France’s success is in the midfield with Laura Necib sitting in the playmaker role with Camile Abily playing just behind Delie and one of the best holding midfielders in Elise Bussaglia. The wide game comes from Sonia Bompastor and Laure Lepailleur two wing backs who like to maraud down the flanks.
The USA will have to make sure they attack down the wings through Lauren Cheney and Heather O’Reilly and push Bompastor and Lepailleur into defending duties. The French defense is aggressive and likes to play a high line. On numerous occasions they’ve been caught out as England found their way through Jill Scott so a well placed long ball to Abby Wambach could be the way forward.
Becky Sauerbrunn gets her first taste of World Cup action in place of the suspended Rachel Buehler. This is a trial by fire and she will have her hands full. For the French, their first string goalie Berangere Sapowicz, is in the line up after serving her suspension.
Update: Bruno Bini has replaced Sabrina Viguier in a shake up of the centre back pairing with Ophelie Meilleroux.