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Women’s World Cup Group Play: What We Learned from USWNT

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USWNT move on into the knockout rounds, but what did we learn from the group stage?

Sweden v USA: Group F - 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

The World Cup’s group stages are now complete and the round of 16 has been sorted. For the U.S. Women’s National Team they showed dominant performances during their group stage. So what could we have possibly learned about this team from these last three matches? Here’s a few things that stood out from the games.

USA v Thailand

While USWNT went ahead a set a record for most goals ever scored in a World Cup match, as they won 13-0. However we learned much more about the team after the match.

In the days following the historic match, the range of coverage around the win varied. With issues of sportsmanship, goal celebrations, and attention on teams with federation support and those without. USWNT players were being asked about all of those aspects, and at times were able to give reasonable answers.

Ultimately showing us that on top of being soccer players trying to perform at the highest level, they recognize that the different roles they have to wear sometimes. That of soccer player, of good sport, ambassador of sport, and more. It seems unfair to ask that of players, but these athletes have shown they can excel in either role.

USA v Chile

While facing some mixed perceptions on their 13-0 win over Thailand, USA entered the match against Chile as favorites again.

The score line was much different due to the brilliant goalkeeping of Chile’s Christiane Endler. But what they lacked in goals against a lower seeded team, the USWNT showed a bit of a power flex in personnel instead. The coaching staff rotated out several players for the second group match, a total of players over all, giving the perception of a ‘B’ team.

USA won 3-0, showing no matter the players, they are a team with ridiculous depth, capable of adjusting on the fly.

USA v Sweden

During the final group match, USA faced off against a familiar international foe in Sweden. It was their toughest challenge of the group to date, and yet managed to win the game, 2-0.

It was a match with lessons, as we saw some small lapses in play, with Sweden often exposing the left flank - leaving players typically dominant on side in Rapinoe and Dunn looking less at ease than their previous two matches.

While they dominated possession, and pressured Sweden’s backline, the goals didn’t come as easily - with even one of their two goals being changed by FIFA and credited as an own goal on Sweden.

Moving On

USWNT enter the round of 16 facing Spain, a team that has tried to dominate their games through possession, and will likely try to do the same against USA as they attempt to counter. Spain has a draw and a win from group play as they enter this match against the USA, with the higher ranked USWNT as favorites. The teams play their knockout match on Monday, June 24.