After defating Japan 5-2 in the World Cup final in 2015, the US Women’s National Team claimed their first title since 1999 and affirmed their status as the best team on the planet.
For their heroics, New York City honored them with a ticker tape parade, and they received the keys to the city from Mayor Bill de Blasio.
— Duke Castiglione (@DukeCastiglione) July 10, 2015
Now, they look to do it again.
The USWNT kicks off their 2019 FIFA World Cup campaign in Reims, France this afternoon at 3 PM against Thailand.
At the start of the tournament, the US were betting favorites to win it all again. They are the No. 1 ranked team in the world, according to FIFA, and they won all of their qualification games en route to France.
The pressure is on, and the team knows it. Star forward Alex Morgan spoke about the team’s past success and what it means for this World Cup.
The US did not lose a game in their last campaign. In fact, they have not lost a World Cup game since 2011. Carli Lloyd was the standout player of that 2015 tournament, notably scoring a hat-trick in the final against Japan. Now 36, Lloyd will have a reduced role in 2019 as younger players attempt to make their marks on the team, like midfielder Rose Lavelle.
The last team to win two World Cups in a row was the Germany women in 2003 and 2007.
“At any point, any team could win,” said US midfielder and defender Kelly O’Hara.
O’Hara was part of the team that raised the trophy in 2015, but she knows a repeat title will not be gifted to them this time around. She spoke about the growing level of competition in women’s soccer globally. South Africa, Chile, Scotland, and Jamaica are all making World Cup debuts in France.
The USWNT is in group F with Thailand, Chile, and Sweden. Sweden, ranked no. 9 in the world, knocked the US out of the Olympics in 2016. For an in-depth breakdown of America’s match with Thailand, make sure to check out Marco Martinez’s article here:
— ESPN 98.1/ 850 WRUF (@ESPNGainesville) June 11, 2019