The Thunder Down Under: 2023 Women’s World Cup News & Discussion (no spoilers)

Eastchop

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So uh…. Where’s this roster, Vlatko?

To me the only question is the back line behind Sauerbrunn/ Girma/ Fox/ Dunn which looks to be really solid, and I don’t know who he takes from the Huerta/ Krueger/ O’Hara/ Sonnett group. I’d take Krueger for some flexibility. Have to imagine Kelley is probably out. Davidson surprisingly might be bubble too with the club season she’s having... Everything else seems pretty clear cut at this point.

edit: I think Cook is obviously in as the first CB sub
 
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Jimy Hendrix

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Bonkers that as many as six of those Barca players and fifteen top choice players overall are, as far as I am aware of, still blackballed from the Spanish team.
 

Eastchop

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Sauerbrunn out is a big blow to this roster. Demelo lighting up club, but in with no caps is a surprise and I’m hoping it doesn’t mean Lavelles injury is also a problem. This team will sorely miss Swanson, Sauerbrunn, Macario and even Sam Mewis

My kid in her new #4 splatter kit is crushed
 

67YAZ

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Sauerbrunn out is a big blow to this roster. Demelo lighting up club, but in with no caps is a surprise and I’m hoping it doesn’t mean Lavelles injury is also a problem. This team will sorely miss Swanson, Sauerbrunn, Macario and even Sam Mewis

My kid in her new #4 splatter kit is crushed
Ugh. Sauerbrunn was pushing so hard to get back for the WC. I hope she hasn’t reinjured or permanently hurt herself. She was out last weekend.What a blow for a true role model.

Demelo and Kingsbury are real surprises. I doubt Kingsbury sees the pitch as 3rd keeper, but Vlatko hasn’t figured out the midfield yet. It’s going to a helluva first cap if Demelo plays in the WC. Welcome to the show, kid.
 

Eastchop

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Roster is up and the instagram announcement is fun

That back line of Fox, Girma, Cook, Dunn with O’Hara, Sonnett, and Huerta presumably off the bench is really not ideal. Bad injury luck, what can you do.

Thompson must’ve really impressed at camp. Good for her.
 

Batman Likes The Sox

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Full roster:

U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS) – 2023 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP

GOALKEEPERS (3): Aubrey Kingsbury* (Washington Spirit; 1), Casey Murphy* (North Carolina Courage; 14), Alyssa Naeher*** (Chicago Red Stars; 90)

DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook* (OL Reign; 24/1), Crystal Dunn** (Portland Thorns FC; 131/24), Emily Fox* (North Carolina Courage; 28/1), Naomi Girma* (San Diego Wave FC; 15/0), Sofia Huerta* (OL Reign; 29/0), Kelley O’Hara**** (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 157/3), Emily Sonnett** (OL Reign; 74/1)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Savannah DeMelo* (Racing Louisville FC; 0/0), Julie Ertz*** (Angel City FC; 118/20), Lindsey Horan** (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 128/27), Rose Lavelle** (OL Reign; 88/24), Kristie Mewis* (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 51/7), Ashley Sanchez* (Washington Spirit; 24/3), Andi Sullivan* (Washington Spirit; 44/3)

FORWARDS (6): Alex Morgan**** (San Diego Wave FC; 206/121), Megan Rapinoe**** (OL Reign; 199/63), Trinity Rodman* (Washington Spirit; 17/2), Sophia Smith* (Portland Thorns FC; 29/12), Alyssa Thompson* (Angel City FC; 3/0), Lynn Williams* (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 52/15)

* First Women’s World Cup
** Second Women’s World Cup
*** Third Women’s World Cup
**** Fourth Women’s World Cup
 

SocrManiac

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Rapinoe looked like she was doing a farewell tour four years ago. Has she bounced back or is she still valuable as a leader?
 

Ale Xander

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Please stay healthy Rose, Lindsey, Crystal, and the Emilys

I can’t believe Megan is still on the team
 

67YAZ

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Wow, Thompson! Plus Kingsbury and Demelo - it’s like Vlatko heard all the criticism from the past 3 years that he’s too wedded to veterans and is saying, “oh yeah?!?!”

But these are end of the roster decisions, they don’t really change the big picture.

Agree that the defense isn’t as strong as it could be and Krueger might have been a good CB depth option, but the Red Stars are a wreck this season; Krueger‘s performance is dragged down by her club. But I think Girma is already one of the best CB in the world, so her and a healthy Dunn are enough to get it done.

In the end, this all comes down to Ertz. The attack is still stellar, probably the best collection of forwards in the world even without Swanson. The defense is good enough to win the tournament.

But the midfield has been this squad’s Achilles heel against top opponents. They haven’t had that stopper to hold down the center of the pitch and allow everyone ahead to play with freedom. They could go 4-2-3-1 with Ertz playing a more traditional 6 and Lavelle playing a deeper 8, but that blunts Lavelle’s creative powers. 4-3-3 is the best set up for the talent here and that is going to put Ertz on the spot.
 
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67YAZ

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Rapinoe looked like she was doing a farewell tour four years ago. Has she bounced back or is she still valuable as a leader?
The leadership is a big piece of it as well as all the attention she soaks up. Pinoe allows the younger and more media-shy players to stay out of the spotlight.

She does have a role as a late sub to chase a goal against a packed defense. The creativity, technique, and dead ball prowess are as good as ever. It’s that Pinoe is a training cone on defense and lacks the legs to press or stretch the opponent.

Vlatko could start Pinoe against Vietnam to rotate and as a valedictory for a legend.
 

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USA's results in Women's World Cups:

1991: 1st (over Norway 2-1)
1995: 3rd (behind Norway and Germany)
1999: 1st (over China on PKs)
2003: 3rd (behind Germany and Sweden)
2007: 3rd (behind Germany and Brazil)
2011: 2nd (behind Japan, on PKs)
2015: 1st (over Japan 5-2)
2019: 1st (over Netherlands 2-0)

My point for reiterating this is: I hope we win. But if our roster is a little too banged up and as a result we stumble to 3rd or even worse, it will probably be a good thing for the women's game in general.

If we don't win, I think my rooting interest (among reasonable contenders) goes Brazil, France, Australia, Canada. Yes, Brazil leads my list even despite being coached by Pia Sundhage, I think them winning would just be a great thing for women's football and the popularity of the game in their home country where they're pretty badly mistreated.

With the expansion from 24 to 32 teams, there are also 8 teams making their WWC debuts next month. By ranking, they are Portugal (21), Ireland (22), Vietnam (32), Philippines (46), Panama (52), Haiti (53), Morocco (72) and Zambia (77). We of course will face two of those (Vietnam in our opener on 7/22, and Portugal on 8/1) in the group stage. 8 debuts (and 3 competitors from 2019 failing to qualify) suggests a game whose competitiveness and depth is growing at a pretty healthy pace. I doubt we see anything like USA-vs-Thailand from last time around.

The other great storyline I know about is Jamaica. Getting disbanded by a bunch of chauvinists in the JFF in 2014, then resurrected with the help of Cedella Marley, then their funding getting pulled in 2016 and they basically self-funded for a few years - uniforms, training camps, even the coach was a volunteer. That they qualified at all in 2019 was a miracle - edging Costa Rica in group stage 1-0 on a Bunny Shaw worldie, then twice having the lead and losing it in the 3rd-place play-off before winning on PKs to qualify. With 32 teams now, CONCACAF gets 6 bids rather than 3, so they qualified easily.

I suspect a lot of the other lower-ranked, non-UEFA teams have similar stories of lack of support and overcoming adversity - post 'em if you got 'em! I'm not sure if any of them feature a charismatic and brilliant player like Bunny Shaw, but Ireland does have a roster that is chock full of WSL players, with a touch of NWSL and others. Zambia has two players on Real Madrid, and then mostly domestic otherwise. Morocco is kind of a stars-and-semipros bifurcated roster, too.
 

67YAZ

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If we don't win, I think my rooting interest (among reasonable contenders) goes Brazil, France, Australia, Canada. Yes, Brazil leads my list even despite being coached by Pia Sundhage, I think them winning would just be a great thing for women's football and the popularity of the game in their home country where they're pretty badly mistreated.
A Brazil win would be seismic, but so unlikely.

It’s tough for viewers in many places to catch these matches Down Under, but the global audiences should be the largest ever. Some new stars will emerge, and if the trend from the men’s game holds, a Black European star will become mega in a lot of Africa. That’s good for the game, too.

I’m on the Aussie bandwagon (after the US, natch). It’s a solid squad fronted by the best striker in the world. And Kerr has a knack for big goals in big moments. I feel like she’s going to rise to the occasion and this squad is going to ride the public’s enthusiasm.

Spain won’t announce its final roster until June 30, so we won’t know if they’ve settled their internal issues until then. If they come with their best 23, even if Putellas is limited to super-sub role, they are the favorite in my book. It’s shades of the Spanish men in 2010 with the bulk of the squad playing together at Barca & coming into the tournament on the heels of huge club success.

Germany is being a bit underrated by many. They have an uber-athletic team that can press hard, swarm in the midfield, and wear down opponents. They’re going to be a really tough out.

And France under new management? They have the talent. If they can get it all pulling in the same direction during the group stage, watch out.

England’s biggest edge is Wiegman - she’s the best. But I think losing Mead and Williamson really hurts. This squad might have peaked at the Euros.

FWIW, the current odds at bet365

2023 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS
 

67YAZ

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England 0-0 Portugal. A bit of an eye opener. The English did take 23 shots, but they came up empty. Not sure if this is more of a troublesome sign for England or a warning shot from Portugal.

Portugal is in the US’ group - if they can hold the Americans to a scoreless draw like this, they’ll fang their chance against a weakened Dutch side.
 

67YAZ

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Korea has called up 16yo Casey Phair. Phair, who plays high school soccer in New Jersey, has repped both SK and the US at youth levels. She is mixed race - white dad, Korean mom. If she plays, Phair would be the first mixed race athlete to feature for Korea in an international sporting event.
 

67YAZ

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Pino retiring at the end of the NWSL season. Her career has arced the massive transformation of women’s soccer in the US and its rise in global prominence. Oh, and she’s an absolute legend.

 

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USWNT starting now vs Wales, on TNT and Telemundo.

This guy co-streams every USWNT and USMNT match (plus a lot of NWSL), if you want to catch it with some live commentary.
 

InstaFace

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18yo Alyssa Thompson with a flying headbutt that would be an orange card in a competitive match... don't think she ever saw the defender who was in a better position to make the header.
 

Ale Xander

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Pino retiring at the end of the NWSL season. Her career has arced the massive transformation of women’s soccer in the US and its rise in global prominence. Oh, and she’s an absolute legend.

Kind of wish she retired 2-3 years ago.

Hope she doesn't take any minutes away from the young'ins or Alex.
 

Eastchop

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A totally different offense with Lynn and Rodman subbed in with Smith. They looked great after an uninspiring start

Rodmans second goal was really nice
 
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ifmanis5

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Ticket sales a bit disappointing.
https://www.espn.com/soccer/story/_/id/38004391/fifa-offers-free-women-world-cup-tickets-amid-poor-sales
FIFA said it is giving away 20,000 free tickets for Women's World Cup games in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin amid concerns about the slow pace of sales in New Zealand.

Co-hosts Australia have snapped up the lion's share of the 1 million tickets sold so far, with their Matildas team seen as contenders to win the tournament.

FIFA chief women's football officer Sarai Bareman said it was more difficult to attract fans to football stadiums in New Zealand due to the sport's lower profile in the country, while the Football Ferns have yet to win a match in five previous appearances at the World Cup.
 

StupendousMan

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The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that FIFA has not been able to sell TV rights to the Women's World Cup for nearly as much as they were hoping to receive.
 

67YAZ

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Australia beat France 1-0 today and looked comfortable doing it.

I’m seeing Australia odds in the +1000-1300 range. That’s a very attractive proposition. The Matildas can win this thing at home.
 

OCST

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Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw has said her players "feared for their bodies" during a Women's World Cup warm-up match with Colombia that was called off after 20 minutes following a series of robust challenges.

The Irish Football Association confirmed midfielder Denise O'Sullivan was taken to hospital for treatment on a shin injury during the friendly at Meakin Park in Brisbane, Australia, but was found not to have suffered a fracture and could still play for Ireland at the tournament.
 

OCST

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No one watching? Unfortunately I had an ER visit with Mrs O at 3:30 am ( all is well, no worries) so I caught some of NZL-NOR. Kiwis were up for it.

AUS-IRL at 10’. AUS has the ball as you’d expect but the Irish are defending with vigor, certainly don’t mind a tackle with some mustard on it.
 

SocrManiac

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This will be an awkward one to watch in anything approaching real-time without spoilers. I suspect many folks that would have watched during the day won’t if they see a “boring” scoreline.
 

67YAZ

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No one watching? Unfortunately I had an ER visit with Mrs O at 3:30 am ( all is well, no worries) so I caught some of NZL-NOR. Kiwis were up for it.

AUS-IRL at 10’. AUS has the ball as you’d expect but the Irish are defending with vigor, certainly don’t mind a tackle with some mustard on it.
Just tuning in. Ireland are a spicy side, and Oz without Kerr is not so fearsome. Should be fun here.

Incredible win by NZ over a team many pundits were calling a dark horse. Not all the NZ players are pro, and Norway has some players at the biggest clubs. The WC always produces wild moments.

And that match was also in the wake of the shooting in Auckland. This could be a moment where sports helps galvanize and connect people.

Glad all is well with you & the Mrs. the ER is always a fun place to catch a match.
 

67YAZ

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Ireland with a free kick on the edge of the box in 90th minute…
 

67YAZ

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Tough for Ireland not to take a point. They dominated the last quarter of that match.

the Aussies really need Kerr back and fit. She’s all the difference for them.
 

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I just caught the youtube 5-minute highlights packages, and even though Ireland didn't get a point, I enjoyed seeing McCabe "get her Irish up" at some overly-aggressive Aussie play, and of course the exciting moments at the end. Looked like a great match.

Next up (times ET):

10:30pm: Nigeria vs Canada. Gotta root for the Super Eagles here. The African teams are the easiest to root for as a neutral at the WWC imo - their mottos all seem to be "fuck it let's just run directly at goal"
01:00am: Philippines vs Switzerland. The team is 2/3s Filipina-Americans, most of them semipro, so go them. Their only good result against a fully professional opponent in the last 18 months was a 2-1 win over Vietnam in May, though they managed 1-1 draws at Chile and at Costa Rica last fall.
03:30am: Spain vs Costa Rica. Snatching the mantle of "most dysfunctional team with internal turmoil" from France is hard to do, but damn if Spain haven't managed to do it.

I will probably watch most of Nigeria/Canada before falling asleep, def gonna catch the rest on highlights.
 

swiftaw

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FYI, Brendan Hunt and Rebecca Lowe brought back their World Cup podcast for the WWC.
 

SoxJox

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I was wondering what colleges are represented on the team. This is from the NCAA 7/18/23. Stanford leading the pack with 4. PAC-12 with 8 and 3 others from CA schools.


[TH]ATHLETE[/TH] [TH]SCHOOL[/TH] [TH]POSITION[/TH] [TH]NCAA YEARS[/TH]
Casey Murphy Rutgers Goalkeeper 2014-17
Alyssa Naeher Penn State Goalkeeper 2006-09
Alana Cook Stanford Defender 2015-18
Crystal Dunn North Carolina Defender 2010-13
Emily Fox North Carolina Defender 2017-20
Naomi Girma Stanford Defender 2018-21
Sofia Huerta Santa Clara Defender 2006-09
Kelley O'Hara Stanford Defender 2011-14
Emily Sonnett Virginia Defender 2012-15
Savannah DeMelo Southern California Defender 2017-21
Julie Ertz Santa Clara Midfielder 2010-13
Rose Lavelle Wisconsin Midfielder 2013-15
Kristie Mewis Boston College Midfielder 2009-12
Ashley Sanchez UCLA Midfielder 2017-19
Andi Sullivan Stanford Midfielder 2014-17
Alex Morgan California Forward 2007-10
Megan Rapinoe Portland Forward 2005-08
Sophia Smith Stanford Forward 2018-19
Lynn Williams Pepperdine Forward 2011-14
Aubrey Kingsbury Wake Forest Goalkeeper 2010-13
 

Joe D Reid

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Australia are being really cagey about Kerr's injury. I don't think we see much this tournament.