The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is in full swing, already two weeks in, with a phenomenal tournament anticipated.
With the format of the Cup, 32 national teams were divided into eight groups of four nations. USA is in Group E along with Vietnam, Netherlands and Portugal. Teams in a group will play each other one time, and the top two teams will advance to the knockout rounds.
USA won their first game, ending with a 3-0 score. Vietnam didn’t stand a chance against the USA National team, who’ve won the last two Cups. The game was dominated by USA, who wouldn’t allow Vietnam a single shot on goal. With offense barely able to cross the half line, Vietnam’s defense was under fire the entire game. USA’s young offensive player, Sophia Smith, had the breakout game of her life by scoring the first two goals of the game, and of her World Cup career. Smith then assisted Lindsey Horan on USA’s third goal, proving what we already knew of her stellar game play.
“I think the first game showed us Sophia Smith is a force and someone to watch the rest of this World Cup,” Nicole Scudero, Hauppauge HS ‘17 and Binghamton Women’s Soccer alum, told The Messenger. “I don’t think the team as a whole played their best soccer, but they got the result and that’s what they need to win this World Cup!”
Twenty shots on net by USA should have driven up the score, and some mistakes were definitely made. A penalty kick inside the box should have been given, but instead it was given straight to Vietnam’s goalkeeper.
Being ranked number 1 in the world, according to FIFA, USAWNT is the team to beat. Nations have been training these last four years with one goal in mind: to beat USA. Some of the biggest alternative threats in this cup will be Spain and England.
“I think game 1 was a good representation of how the [USWNT] will do the rest of the cup,” said Kelly Meyer, of Massapequa, a collegiate women’s soccer player at Desales University. “They seem to play really well together, no matter who the competition.”
Spain has some of the best players in the world, even with only 23 players on their roster. USA struggled against Spain in the 2019 World Cup knockouts. “Spain is capable of upsetting the U.S. before they even reach the final,” said Doug MccIntyre, a soccer expert at Fox Sports. “They beat the USWNT in a friendly last year — without most of their first-choice starters.”
Last year, Spain’s national team also had some struggles with manager Jorge Vilda, resulting in 15 players protesting. Management was able to get some of their players back on board before the World Cup, and their best player, Alexia Putellas, back from injury.
In agreement with McIntyre is Nicole Scudero: “Spain has a lot of youth on their team and is coming off a great previous World Cup.”
After beating Costa Rica 3-0 in their first game, Spain seems to be back and better, coming for the USA’s title.
With the World Cup being hosted by Australia and New Zealand alike, games are at some late times for American soccer fans. USAWNT’s third cup game will be shown on FOX, Tuesday, August 1, at 3:00 a.m. Soccer fans, get your coffee ready.