USA midfielder Lori Chalupny believes the Americans must not
lose sight of their own strengths when they take on Brazil in
Thursday's FIFA Women's World Cup semi-final. Chalupny said
that after finding their best form against England, USA should be
careful "not to get too wrapped up" on what Brazil's
talented forwards can do - a mistake she admitted they had made in
their group games.
"Preparing for them is different from other teams as far as keeping the focus on defending and individual defending because they are so good on the ball," she told FIFA.com. "But that's the challenge - not to get too wrapped up on them and to focus on what we do best." Describing the 3-0 quarter-final win over England as a "turning point", the 23-year-old added: "We started just playing together, just playing our game. I think we looked a little tentative in the first couple of games and I think hopefully now we've got that behind us and the confidence is pretty high for the team right now.
"I don't know what it was, we had some talks with the team and we decided not to worry what the other team did and just focus on what we do best. That finally came out - it took some time, I guess. We were focused so much on what the other team was doing and how we were going to respond to them instead of just playing the way that we always have."
Chalupny, who struck the only goal of USA's 1-0 victory over
Nigeria in their last group fixture, was quick to praise Brazil for
their attacking quality, citing in particular the star duo of
Cristiane and Marta. "I've seen a couple of clips of their
games during the World Cup and they're both just amazingly
skilful and we'll have to be on top of our game
defensively," she said. "Our team defending has got to be
really good - they might beat the first players but the covering
player will be key to the team."
However, she added that Americans had noted the "weaknesses" that helped Australia score twice against Brazil in the South Americans' 3-2 quarter-final win on Sunday. "It was the first time I think in this tournament that some of their weaknesses showed a little bit and hopefully we'll be able to capitalise."