There's a television commercial aired as the Women's World Cup unfolds featuring several members of the U.S. national team in a dentist's office, all facing the grim prospect of fillings. German goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg has seen it and says she thinks it's quite good.
Rottenberg should know -- she has her own commercial. And before she joined the national team full time, she worked for a dentist.
Today, as Germany plays the United States in a 7 p.m. quarterfinal match at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, Rottenberg's job will be to keep the Americans from smiling.
To do that, she and her defense will have to shut down the prolific U.S. attack (13 first-round goals, tied with Norway for the tournament lead) and shut out memories of Sunday's 3-3 tie against Brazil.
In that game, also at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, Germany gave up a goal four minutes into second-half injury time. Maicon scored the goal for Brazil after Sissi lofted a free kick into the penalty area and the German defenders failed to clear the ball.
Rottenberg had no chance to make a save on that play, but if the Brazilians hadn't scored, Germany would have won Group B and avoided a quarterfinal matchup with the United States.
"It was hectic in front of the goal, and I think it was too fast to see everything," said Rottenberg, 27. "We were all a little sad about it, because we gave everything in that game. But after a few minutes, we said, `Okay, we have qualified for the quarterfinals and we are happy about it.' "
Of the four goals Rottenberg has allowed in the World Cup, three have come off free kicks. Italy scored once, and Brazil twice (Rottenberg shut out Mexico, 6-0, in between those games).
On the final goal, Rottenberg "couldn't do anything," Germany defender Stephanie Ann Jones said. "We have to try not to [commit] as many fouls so she's not getting in trouble again."
Rottenberg was working for a dentist when her national team career began, but as she improved and the training required more and more time, she was forced to choose between work and soccer. She joined the army three years ago and is an officer in a "sports company," where her duties are entirely centered on her training.
"I got the chance to go to the army, and they said after my [soccer] career was over, I could work for a dentist in the army," Rottenberg said. "It was no big risk for me."
Rottenberg did not play in the 1996 Olympics or the 1995 Women's World Cup, but is considered one of the world's top goalkeepers. In her television commercial, a toddler parries balls tossed to her in a playpen. Then Rottenberg herself is shown doing the same thing in front of a soccer goal.
Adidas flew Rottenberg to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for three days to make the ad, so it's no wonder she enjoys it so.
"It is very nice that the U.S. makes so many commercials to help bring people to the games," she said. "It is very positive."
Beside watching the U.S. players ham it up in commercials, Rottenberg apparently has been scouting the Americans through the media.
"I think the U.S. is maybe expecting penalty kicks, because they were practicing penalty kicks" Tuesday, she said, adding she had read about it in a newspaper.
Has she been preparing likewise?
"No," she said with a smile that would make any orthodontist proud. "Because we want to win earlier."
CAPTION: The task tonight for German goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg, center, is to stop the prolific U.S. attack and erase memories of Sunday's 3-3 tie against Brazil.