The United States Women’s National Team has been drawn into Group D for the Women’s World Cup in Canada this summer, the hardest group of the entire competition. Followers of the United States Men’s National Team will remember the U.S. being drawn into a similar "Group of Death" in Brazil. This time, however, things are a bit different.
The United States Women are the #1 team in the world according to FIFA’s international points ranking. They are joined in the aptly designated Group D by #5 Sweden, #10 Australia, and #35 Nigeria - who take the last spot as the likely punching bag of the group.
This past summer in Brazil, people, usually fans of the United States, would passionately state that 2014’s Group of Death earned its title because the United States were in it. This was not wrong, but when you realize that the rest of that Group of Death consisted of eventual winner Germany, fifth ranked at the time Portugal, and USMNT-killer Ghana, you begin to realize the hyperbole involved in such a statement.
Saying the presence of the United States made Brazil’s Group of Death what it was is like saying Carrot Cake is what it is because of carrots: sure, carrots are indeed one of the final flavors that stand out in the experience, but if it wasn’t for all that sugar, butter, and flour, you would just have carrots.
The United States Women make Group D the Group of Death, because they are the tournament’s Grim Reaper. Every single team in that group is cursing their luck that they were drawn with the USWNT. They are not thinking about which star players they can rest against the U.S. in order to better deal with other teams in the group. No, they are gathering up the steel to believe that they can beat them.
This is not to say that the USWNT has nothing to prove. They lost the last World Cup to Japan on penalties, and you can bet every single player has had that embarrassment at the front of their mind for some time now. A team doesn’t miss its first 3 penalties of a shoot-out like the U.S. did and simply let it go like water under the bridge. That loss is motivation at its cruel finest.
The manner in which the USWNT lost the 2011 Women’s World Cup should be the one factor above all else that galvanizes the American women, and strikes fear into all of their opponents. Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, and Alex Morgan are not going to let any single player give anything less than their best, because they remember when 3 moments of neglect cost them the title of “World’s Best.”
Honestly, we here at The18 cannot wait for the Women’s World Cup this summer. Anyone who watched the last iteration, or its sister competition at London 2012, knows the level at which the game is played when these women take the field, and those who don’t will get a chance to feel the electricity for the first time. But everyone better enjoy it while they can, because the USWNT is going to shut down the competition.
If you liked this, you might also like…