The noise across the USWNT has reached a fever pitch this week, however captain Lindsey Horan is not letting it get to her head.
« Individuals are all the time going to have opinions, and so they’re entitled to them, » she instructed FIFA after her crew’s 0-0 draw with Portugal earlier this week. « We now have the very best of expectations. We wish to maintain it that means… I’ve stated it loads to the crew and to the press: strain is a privilege. »
The strain on the USWNT is stronger than it has been in years. After a joyous however comparatively unbothered journey to World Cup victory in 2019, the crew is struggling — in opposition to its personal demons within the type of an injury-rattled lineup, but additionally in opposition to a stronger girls’s soccer subject. Conventional « massive » groups like England, Japan and Australia have improved considerably to problem the USWNT’s dominance. In the meantime, conventional « small » groups akin to Jamaica, Colombia and South Africa are proper behind them.
In a World Cup stuffed with challenges, the largest one lies forward: an important, do-or-die Spherical of 16 matchup with Sweden on Sunday. Because the third-best crew on the planet, Sweden is essentially the most troublesome opponent the USWNT may have drawn within the knockout rounds. It is absolutely able to an upset.