Team USA knows how to celebrate

Don't we all wish we were in Germany, among the face-painted fanatics, waving, cheering and experiencing the 2011 Women's World Cup fanfare firsthand? For those not in Deutschland, espnW will provide the full fan experience. Every Monday and Friday throughout the three-week tournament, The Kick will give you a multimedia overview of the tournament so you can feel like you're a part of history in the making.

In honor of July 4 weekend in the States, the U.S. women's team celebrated its 3-0 victory over Colombia (goals from Heather O'Reilly, Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd) in patriotic and creative form:

Team USA salutes the American troops

Before Saturday's match, the team trained in front of more than 500 U.S. servicemen and women in Heidelberg, Germany. The team said the decisive W was its way of honoring the troops who protect and serve America daily.

MelJax tweeted: My favorite moment of the holiday weekend so far? The US Women gathering after their first goal today to salute our military.

Rapinoe shoots, scores and sings

Rapinoe scored her first World Cup goal, besting Julie Foudy's previous record from the 1995 WWC for quickest goal scored by a substitute. Rapinoe scored just five minutes after entering at the half. Her celebration anthem? "Born in the USA."


TheChristaMann tweeted: Great goal by Rapinoe! Best celebration of all time.

page1of1 tweeted: Here's to @mPinoe's goal celebration. Grabs the field mic, taps it & sings "Born in the USA". Full of amazing mischief!

DoubleHAN16 tweeted: Hhahahaha funniest celebration of my life! Nice goal Megan Rapinoe! 2-0.

Speaking of scoring goals, let's talk about preventing them. One of the world's best goalkeepers, Hope Solo, broke her own personal record for 781 consecutive minutes without conceding a goal in all competitions and 478 shutout minutes at the Women's World Cup. Let's hope she continues to best herself.

Up in arms … well, hands

During Sunday's Australia-Equatorial Guinea match, an Equatorial Guinea defender believed she was playing Aussie Rules, handling the ball in front of the goalmouth for several seconds before passing it off to her goalkeeper. The referee waved play on despite a blatant disregard to soccer rules.

There must be something about Rewir Power Stadium that makes defenders forget to use their feet since a similar handball occurred in last year's U-20 Women's World Cup as well.

It isn't easy being a referee. They're subject to constant scrutiny for making the tough calls. But the American trio is currently in the clear and soaking up the amazing atmosphere in Germany. They frequently update their blog, chronicling their experiences leading up to and during the Women's World Cup 2011. It provides a fresh perspective from those with the toughest job on the field.

France poses an interesting question

Three of the French players -- Gaetane Thiney, Elodie Thomis and Corine Franco -- posed nude for a German newspaper "Bild" in an attempt to gain exposure for women's soccer.

Is this kind of exposure what women's soccer needs to succeed?

Superstar summary

• Marta scored two goals in Sunday's 3-0 victory over Norway to clinch quarterfinal berth.

Rcasert tweeted: No need to wait till end of action in the #WWC2011 today. Marta takes your breath away with moves, speed, vision, finishing _ and even some rough play.

• Prinz has yet to show her A-game and was substituted in the Nigerian match (the equivalent of taking Mia Hamm out in her prime). The German press has given a lot of coverage to her lackluster performances and her reaction to her premature exit.

Jamjar9 tweeted: the possibility of Prinz starting on the bench? Has the world gone mad?

• England's all-time record goal scorer, Kelly Smith, has yet to score for the Three Lions during the 2011 Women's World Cup.

Georgina_turner tweeted: The sight of Kelly Smith grimacing is the worst thing an England fan can experience.

A little birdie said

Afootballreport tweeted: Hosting a sporting tourney & getting all the little intricacies spot on? überhaupt kein problem! Well done, Germany. Superb #WWC atmosphere.

Duiti tweeted: the atmosphere in the stadion is unbelievable! We are singing most of the time and everyone is having a great time :)

Soccerdiva tweeted: Catching up on WWC. Brilliant to see Germans embracing their women's team and packing stadiums. Fan mile in Frankfurt amazing.

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