News / USA

US Women Gear Up for World Cup

US players Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath and Abby Wambach, from left, react after Morgan scored her second goal against Finland during their women's soccer Algarve Cup match, March 7 2011, in Quarteira, Portugal.
US players Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath and Abby Wambach, from left, react after Morgan scored her second goal against Finland during their women's soccer Algarve Cup match, March 7 2011, in Quarteira, Portugal.
Parke Brewer

The sixth FIFA Women's World Cup kicks off in Germany in June, with the team from the host nation as the two-time defending champion.  The United States women's soccer team won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is ranked number-one in the world.  But the American team named this week will face a difficult challenge in its quest for the title.

When the first World Cup for women was played in China in 1991, the United States was clearly a dominant team.  Four years later at the second World Cup in Sweden, the USA came in third, then recaptured the crown at home in 1999 with a stirring final shootout victory over China.

But during the past decade, women's football teams around the globe have made huge improvements to where next month's World Cup in Germany is expected to be the most tightly contested ever.

U.S. coach Pia Sundhage says that is good for the sport.  Sundhage is a former player from Sweden and was hired after the U.S. finished a disappointing third at the 2007 World Cup in China.  She says she has brought a different philosophy to the team that helped lead to Olympic gold in 2008.

"Coming from the fact that U.S. Soccer was brave enough to hire a coach from Sweden and try to get that gold medal, and the fact that the players embraced that change made the difference," said Sundhage.  "Now we are working on certain things, and now we are talking about change again.  It's a different way.  It's a different road to Germany."

Sundhage says more changes were needed because the Americans nearly missed qualifying for this year's World Cup.  They were beaten by Mexico in regional qualifying, 2-1, failing to gain an automatic berth.  They had to survive a tight two-game playoff with Italy to earn their spot in Germany.

"If we can deal with that pressure, which we did against Italy - and that was amazing - and we came out stronger after those games," added Sundhage.  "And the other thing is I think it is so important to look at whatever the game teaches us.  So I look back and there are a lot of chances to bring up certain things and tell the team, 'You know what, we made it.'  And I think that's a good feeling."

Coach Sundhage says it was difficult selecting the 21 players who will represent the United States at next month's tournament in Germany.  Twelve have no World Cup experience.  And only one, captain Christie Rampone, a defender, played on the 1999 U.S. team that won the World Cup.

Star forward Abby Wambach, who missed the Beijing Olympics with a broken leg, is expected to lead the offense.

"It's not going to be easy," said Wambach.  "It's going to be the most difficult world championship to win - World Cup or Olympics - and I'm excited to get started.  It's going to be an amazing tournament.  But what is it going to take?  It's going to take some guts.  It's going to take some luck.  It's going to take some skill, some goals, some defending.  You have to do everything."

The U.S. women begin the last of their World Cup warm-up matches on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, against fourth ranked Japan.  They will also face the Japanese May 18 in Cary, North Carolina, and will have their send-off match June 5 against Mexico in Harrison, New Jersey.

Coach Sundhage says that although they are friendly matches and offer a chance to experiment with line-ups, winning is a priority.

"Games are very important," Sundhage explained.  "We talk about the gold medal.  We talk about this and that.  For me, it's to win the next game, and win it in such a way that you learn from that game and you have a bigger chance to win the next game."

For the World Cup in Germany, which runs from June 26 to July 17, the United States women are drawn in Group C for the opening round and will face North Korea, Colombia and Sweden.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs