The United States has achieved the remarkable feat of winning the Women’s World Cup two times consecutively, first in 2015 against Japan and then in 2019 when they defeated the Netherlands in the final. Now, they have their sights set on an even more unprecedented accomplishment: becoming the first team, male or female, to secure three consecutive World Cup victories if they emerge triumphant in Sydney on August 20.
However, the path ahead is filled with challenges. As women’s football has become increasingly competitive, the US team’s preparations have been labeled as “unconvincing,” raising concerns. Europe, in particular, has witnessed a surge in strength, making the competition tougher than ever before.
Despite the doubts surrounding their preparations, Alex Morgan, a veteran player who has been part of the US team’s recent World Cup triumphs, remains optimistic. She believes that the current squad is the strongest they have ever had. However, Morgan acknowledges the threat posed by their rivals and highlights England as the team to watch out for. England, the reigning European champions, have made significant progress in recent years, fueled by improvements in their domestic league, increased focus on women’s football, fair compensation for players, and a shift in mentality.
The US and England have crossed paths on numerous occasions in significant matches. In the 2019 World Cup semifinal in Lyon, the US narrowly defeated England with crucial goals from Alex Morgan and Christen Press, along with a penalty save from Alyssa Naeher. More recently, England secured a 2-1 victory against the US at Wembley in October 2022, witnessed by a record-breaking crowd.
Morgan has closely observed England’s rise and attributes their success to several factors, including the development of their domestic league, improved support from the federation, and a shift in mentality within the team. Individually, Morgan feels she is currently in the best form of her life, finding support both as a player and as a mother, as the US Soccer has taken significant steps to accommodate and support moms within the national team setup.
With two World Cup titles already in their possession, Morgan understands the requirements for clinching another victory. She believes that the team possesses the necessary talent, quality, coaching, camaraderie, and mentality to succeed. Although there have been setbacks in the lead-up to this year’s World Cup, including a string of losses in friendly matches, Morgan sees these challenges as opportunities for growth and learning, emphasizing that overcoming failure has been a driving force behind the team’s previous success.
The US team’s last World Cup defeat dates back over a decade, but they have encountered their fair share of losses during that time. Despite the absence of their in-form forward, Mallory Swanson, the US remains one of the top contenders for the World Cup. However, for Morgan and her teammates, anything short of winning the tournament will be considered a failure. They understand that they need to prove their worth and demonstrate their deservingness of the title, regardless of the circumstances they face.
As the World Cup approaches, the US team’s journey promises to be filled with excitement and challenges, as they aim to etch their names in history by achieving an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup victory.