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U.S Women’s National Team World Cup preview

The United States Women’s National Team plays Tuesday, June 11, against Thailand.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup commenced on Friday, June 7, with host nation France defeating South Korea 4-0. The United States Women’s National Team begins playing on Tuesday, June 11 against Thailand.

The competition is divided into six groups labeled A to F. The USWNT is in Group F with Chile, Sweden and Thailand.

Each team in the group will play each other once. The two teams with the most points from each group will move on to the Round of 16.

No match will be easy for the United States, but experts have the USWNT as the favorites to top Group F and hoist the trophy, July 7.

Ranked first in the official FIFA rankings, the USWNT has three World Cup titles coming into the 2019 WWC.

“If you look back at World Cup champions historically, it is not a smooth ride, it is not a perfect ride,” USWNT Manager Jill Ellis said. “One of the biggest takeaways from 2015 is that it is okay not to look perfect, it is okay to make sure that your players remain in that bubble stay focused, stay true to who we and keep the belief internally. It is not a straight shot {to win the World Cup.” (Reuters)

Ones to watch: USWNT

Forward, Megan Rapinoe

The 2015 world champion makes yet another return to the highest competition on the national stage.

The shifty winger brings a bit of flair to the typically intense and physical-oriented American style of play.

She is one of the three captains selected by Jill Ellis. Her leadership and resiliency on the pitch will be vital this summer.

The 33-year-old made her first appearance for the USWNT in 2006 and made her breakthrough at the 2011 World Cup in Germany. She has 44 goals through 153 appearances for the United States.

Midfielder, Lindsey Horan

The 2019 FIFA World cup is almost like a homecoming for the 25-year-old playmaker.

She opted to forgo a college scholarship, at the University of North Carolina, and became the first American female soccer player to sign a professional contract out of high school. Horan, at the age of 18, signed for one of the most prestigious clubs in Europe, Paris Saint-Germain.

She had a successful career at PSG, scoring 46 goals through 58 appearances. Horan returned to her native country and now plays for the Portland Thorns FC of the National Women’s Soccer League. She is the reigning NWSL MVP.

Horan uses her height and strength to overwhelm the opposition’s midfield. She possesses an array of passes in her arsenal. She is also a shooting threat from outside the box.

Forward, Alex Morgan

The 29-year-old forward is widely regarded as one of the top players in women’s soccer. By the end of career, she will likely go down as one of the best soccer players in history.

Morgan made her mark in the 2011 Women’s World Cup. She was the youngest player on the U.S. roster and became the first player to record a goal and assist in the final.

She was injured in the April leading up to the 2015 Women’s World cup, but was able to power through the pain and make vital contributions in the knockout rounds.

Morgan has 101 goals through 163 appearances for the national team

The veteran brings experience to the current U.S. roster and will be a leader both vocally and with her play. She has a more direct style of play, taking on defenders and looking to feed off of one-two passing.

Goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher

The 31-year-old resided in Hope Solo’s shadow for the majority of her international career. Now she gets her well-deserved opportunity to anchor the U.S. defense between the pipes.

The goalkeeper position on this star-studded U.S. roster is perhaps the most talked about position leading up to the World Cup. Naeher has not had a chance to show her talents that often on the national stage, but her teammates trust in her abilities.

“No one’s given her time yet,” teammate Julie Ertz said. “We know who she is. We train with her every day. We know how good she is.” (USA Today)

Where and when to watch:

Game one: USA vs. Thailand

· Date: Tuesday, June 11

· Time: 2 p.m. CT

· Location: Stade Auguste-Delaune II — Reims, France

· TV channel: Fox and Telemundo

Written by: Caleb Hilliard

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