The Women’s World Cup is set to be begin this summer on June 26th and will run through July 17th and the good news for us Yanks is that the United States will be participating in the event as expected, but the bad news was that the qualifiers would be anything but overpowering for the two time champions.
The United States Women have never missed a World Cup final during the tournament’s brief duration and the club has only lost two matches since 2007. Despite these impressive statistics, the United States nearly missed the qualification into the World Cup final this season due to a shock early loss, but the club won a few critical matches of late to assure their last spot in the tournament.
Following a loss to Mexico in the CONCACAF quarterfinals, the United States won over Costa Rica 1-0 for third place honors and then defeated European wildcard candidate Italy 2-0 in a two match aggregate to seal their World Cup berth for this summer. Their most recent victory would come with via the lone score in the 40th minute thanks to a rebound goal by Amy Rodriquez. The home victory over the Azzurre and qualifier in general lacked the dominant victories that have become the USA women’s trademark, but former star Julie Foudy believes that most people overlook the growing competitive team from around the rest of the world in the sport of women’s soccer:
I think the country always thinks, ‘Oh, the U.S. always goes, they’re so good. When we stumble, they don’t realize the rest of the world is getting much better.
And considering that the women’s World Cup has only been around for about one to two generations of players, the trends of dominance will continue to change and the game will continue to evolve around the world. The USA women were off to a hot start and just because they struggled to make the World Cup final doesn’t mean the soccer has gotten any worse over here, it just means it is improving elsewhere.
The good news for the USA is that they qualified because that is all that really matters when it comes to such a short tournament where ever team plays on equal ground in a group bracket. Once the tournament begins they will have as good a chance as anyone to win this summer.