If you need me for the next month, I will be watching the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The tournament takes place in Australia and New Zealand this summer (winter for those down under).
The Americans are the favorites and they hope to complete a three-peat, but this is a tall task. They would be the first team in men’s or women’s World Cup history to capture three consecutive titles. Three-peats are tough to accomplish and take an intense amount of determination, especially when the competition has ramped up.
Fans may also be wary of the team’s previous bronze medal performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under head coach Vlatko Andonovski. There are high expectations for the U.S. women to do well, but 31 other countries are not going to make it easy for them.
Major contenders like the Netherlands, Spain, England, Sweden and host country Australia are looking to bust up the party and claim the trophy.
New Zealand who is co-hosting the World Cup, is already proving to be a strong underdog after defeating Group A favorite Norway, 1-0. An upset in the first game of the tournament is a good sign for what‘s to come in this year’s World Cup.
The U.S. will focus on their own group for now in order to advance to the knockout round. In Group E, the teams are the Netherlands, Vietnam, Portugal and of course us. The USWNT and the Orange are the two favorites to advance out of the group, and they will face off in a rematch from the 2019 World Cup. Vietnam and Portugal are World Cup newbies who hope to make some magic in their debuts.
USWNT vs. Vietnam Preview
The number one team in the world is looking to defend their title, but they have to go through Vietnam first. The U.S. women will face Vietnam tonight, July 21 at 9 p.m. ET. The U.S. is the clear favorite, and they will not hold back in exercising dominance over smaller teams.
The Stars and Stripes are missing strong players like Christen Press, Becky Sauerbrunn, Mallory Swanson and Sam Mewis due to injury. Tobin Heath, the team’s talented forward, is also missing from the roster.
Young players like rising star Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman, Alyssa Thompson and Naomi Girma are ready to show their stuff. Veterans Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan return to lead the team to a title with their previous World Cup experience.
Vietnam is the 32nd ranked team in the world and have three AFF Women’s Championships. Despite success in the ASEAN Football Federation, the team has lost its last five games and is 0-0-4 against World Cup teams in 2023.
Despite this stark contrast from the USWNT’s 7-0-0 record, Vietnam is still a wild card who other teams need to keep an eye on.
Soccer is a tricky game, and your opponents can blow by you if you underestimate them. Huỳnh Nhu is Vietnam’s top scorer and has five Vietnamese Golden Ball awards to prove it. Nhur has 105 goals with Ho Chi Minh City I Women’s Football Club from 2007 to 2022. She made history as the first Vietnamese women’s footballer to play abroad in Europe. She has seven goals in 14 appearances for her current Portuguese club, Länk FC Vilaverdense.
Nhur and the Vietnam squad will have to put the USWNT on their heels and take control to have a shot at doing some damage. The rookie team could secure a spot in the round of 16 if they take down Portugal and either of the favorites.
The USWNT Roster
Crystal Dunn returns to the U.S. roster to bolster the team’s defense alongside veteran Kelly O’hara and World Cup rookie, Naomi Girma. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher will continue to be a brick wall in hopes of earning the Golden Glove.
Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan welcome back Julie Ertz to create a scary midfield that wheels and deals. Kristie Mewis and Andi Sullivan won’t offer much room to breathe either.
The front line is stacked. It features a healthy mix of veterans Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Lynn Williams with the talented, young trio Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman and Alyssa Thompson.
Rematch against the Netherlands
The Stars and Stripes will play the Netherlands on Wednesday, July 26 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox. The game will be a tough battle between two strong teams, and should be exciting to the end.
The Americans are not the only team with injuries. The Dutch are missing their star forward, Vivienne Miedema, due to an ACL injury and hope to prove to be a contender without her.
There is much anticipation to see how it all plays out for the U.S. Women and for the rest of the countries competing in the 2023 Women’s World Cup.