After three lackluster matches, U.S. World Cup begins knockout stage

MELBOURNE — Good has so far been barely good enough for the United States women’s soccer team, as its quest to win a third straight World Cup has been marred by uncharacteristically mediocre play.

MELBOURNE – The United States women’s team has struggled to play well, despite their best efforts. Their quest for a third consecutive World Cup is marred by mediocre performances.

Two weeks of competition have not produced the one-sided scores or dominating play USWNT supporters have grown accustomed to. This has led observers to question if U.S. control of women’s football is over.

Vlatko andonovski, the U.S. head coach, said that he understands what is at stake ahead of Sunday’s match between America and Sweden.

He told reporters in Melbourne that he had to decide if this was the most significant game of his career. But it is certainly the most crucial game of the entire tournament.

It’s knockout stage, and mistakes are not allowed. We must be at our best to win this match.

The Americans will pay a high price for failing to win the Group E. They now have to play Sweden, ranked No. Sweden, ranked No. 3, will face the Americans in Melbourne’s round of 16.

The Swedes won Group G by 9-1 over their opponents and earned a meeting with the struggling Americans.

The U.S. saved itself from the worst possible outcome by the goalpost during a stoppage-time shot in the 0-0 draw with Portugal on Tuesday. This could have been the end of the U.S. in the group.

Alex Morgan, a veteran U.S. player, said: “There is no sugarcoating. We had a poor game against Portugal. We are lucky that we have moved past it and are looking ahead to this match.”

The United States, by winning once and drawing two times in group play, has outshot Vietnam and the Netherlands by a total of 53-8. They have also put more effort on the net, 19-1 and won more corners, 26-2.

These numbers may seem impressive, but they are down on the three victories that America had in group play of 2019, when it outshot Thailand by a total of 73-8. It also put more effort into the net (32-4) and won more corners (30-3).

The Americans must find a way to attack without Rose Lavelle. She was suspended from the match against Sweden after receiving a second yellow.

Andonovski stated, “She’s one the best players on the planet and without her, it will definitely change how we approach the game, or at the very least, some of our ways.”

“But at the same time, we also have a roster of great players who are ready to step up in moments such as this.”

In this upset-filled tournament, Germany has been eliminated early. Brazil and Canada have also suffered the same fate. Morgan expressed her disappointment at the loss of three of America’s most formidable opponents.

Morgan stated that it was “crazy” to see teams such as Germany, Brazil and Canada not make it through to the knockout stages. Morgan said: “It just shows the growth of the game, and that you want to keep on top. But you need to prove it time and again. You have to be able show back tomorrow.”

If the Americans were to crash out of the tournament on Sunday, it would be the first time in history that the U.S. Women’s Program has been eliminated from international competition.

Even though winning the world title is not a guarantee, the United States has always been close, even if they fall short.

  • United States fell to eventual winner Canada 1-0 in the semifinals of the Covid-delayed Olympics 2021.
  • In penalties, the Americans were eliminated from the quarterfinals at the 2016 Rio Olympics .
  • Japan won the World Cupafter beating the United States on penalties in the title match in 2011.
  • Then there was the embarrassing World Cup semi-final loss to Brazil, in 2007. U.S. Coach Greg Ryan strangely chose veteran Briana Sccurry over Hope Solo as the goalkeepers.

All those American disappointments pale in comparison with a U.S. ejection on Sunday.

Morgan stated, “I believe we hold ourselves to high standards and I think that in the U.S. and the rest of world, they hold us to high standards which are valid.”

We have had a lot of success in this team for many decades. We have high expectations for ourselves, and we are determined to keep proving ourselves right.


Susan Archer, Molly Hunter and David K. Li reported from Melbourne.

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