Olympic Journal: 'It's Going To be a Battle'

Former star Illini soccer player Emily Zurrer sends back her latest update as part of our ongoing Big Ten Olympic Journals for the 2012 Summer Olympics. In this post, she describes how she had a great vantage point for a big win for Team Canada.

Here’s what Zurrer wrote Sunday night.

“Not much has happened since the last time I wrote….oh wait maybe one just thing. WE’RE IN THE OLYMPIC SEMI-FINALS!!!

Former Illinois soccer All-American Emily Zurrer is playing for Canada in the 2012 London Olympics. The three-time All Big Ten player chronicles her journey here for BTN.com. Read all of our Olympic journals.

“My team played exceptionally well vs. Great Britain the other night in a sold out stadium in Coventry, beating the hosts 2-0. We have really come a long way since the beginning of the year and especially over these past few months. Our hard work is proving to pay off and it is showing on the field, especially in our last two games. We are gaining confidence as the tournament progresses and it feels like we are peaking at just the right time.

[The U.S.-Canada match will be streamed live on NBCOlympics.com.]

“Tomorrow we will take on the USA in the semi-finals at Old Trafford stadium, where Manchester United plays. We have a long history with our southern friends, and it does not bode well in our favor. Although we have come close many times, including the last Olympics in Beijing where we lost a heartbreaker in extra time (a four- hour marathon game due to lightning delays), the U.S. always seems to pull it out in the end, and we have yet to beat them since 2001. (I just looked it up). The all time record is 43-3-5.

“Just from reading the stats, one would think that we must dread playing the Americans. Loss, loss, tie, loss, loss…. It must get tiring after a while, you’re probably thinking. Well, yes it does. We don’t particularly enjoy losing to our North American friends. In fact, we hate it. But there is no other team in the world I would personally rather play. Hands down.

“It is a David vs. Goliath matchup of sorts on paper, but we are OK with that. All that really matters is what happens on that field tomorrow night.

“It is going to be a battle and we will be ready.

“Dreaming big tonight from Manchester…

“Winner of our game will play the winner of France/Japan in the gold medal match at Wembley stadium in London, loser will play the loser of France/Japan in the bronze medal match in Coventry. Both games are Aug. 9.”

Editor’s note: Look back at Zurrer’s Illinois bio page at FightingIllini.com and find her entries from London on her Big Ten Olympic archive page. Find her on Twitter @emme_z.

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Tim Lord on 8/7/2012 @ 3:34am EST Said:

Like I said….cheated and robbed of a game you know we won..What an incredible sick joke of a ref. Worst I’ve ever seen….and ,believe me , I’ve seen and experienced a few in 60 plus years of soccer….criminal…O.C.