What’s next for Team USA after a most disappointing World Cup?


A departure within the knockout spherical was thought of one thing to construct upon for the youthful U.S. Males’s Nationwide Staff final fall on the World Cup in Qatar.

For a lot of causes, such encouragement shouldn’t be the case on the ladies’s facet. An exit in the same stage Sunday in Australia is being construed as a colossal failure for the two-time defending champions.

In fact, a portion of Individuals are elated — for political or private causes — that the ladies had been eradicated prematurely. A couple of large soccer followers that I do know, in truth, brazenly had been rooting for the U.S. facet to get bounced.

The hullabaloo about a number of beginning gamers not singing the nationwide anthem earlier than video games was a contrived and selective criticism. You hardly ever see politicians or athletes in different sports activities getting ripped for not singing alongside, even whereas representing the nation in worldwide competitors.

The place was the uproar, for example, over similarly silent U.S. players throughout the World Baseball Basic earlier this yr?

Julie Ertz (R) of USA talks with her teammates Naomi Girma (L) and Andi Sullivan (C) after fouled during the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Round of 16 match between Sweden and USA at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on August 06, 2023 in Melbourne / Naarm, Australia.
The U.S. group tried to mix its championship core with a brand new era of rising abilities and ended up with its earliest World Cup exit ever.
FIFA through Getty Pictures

From purely a soccer perspective, there is plenty to dissect as U.S. Soccer contemplates vital modifications for 2027 and past.

Sunday’s shootout loss to Sweden really was the Individuals’ most full efficiency of the match, which included just one aim scored over its remaining three matches.

Swedish goalkeeper Zecira Musovic simply was the lady of the match with 11 saves Sunday in 120 minutes of recreation motion, even when she didn’t technically add one other in seven rounds of penalty kicks.

Retiring star Megan Rapinoe and World Cup first-timer Sophia Smith missed the frame entirely, whereas veteran Kelley O’Hara hit the publish to set the stage for Lina Hurtig’s winner that know-how confirmed barely crossed U.S. keeper Alyssa Naeher’s aim line.

Anybody who’s performed or coached soccer at a excessive stage understands the “merciless” nature of requiring PKs, and several other gamers and coach Vlatko Andonovski invoked that phrase after the USWNT’s earliest exit in additional than three many years of World Cup play.

Zecira Musovic #1 of Sweden makes a save during extra time of the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Round of 16 match between Sweden and the United States at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on August 06, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia.
Zecira Musovic’s 11 saves stymied Staff USA’s high-powered assault and set the stage for Sweden’s penalty-kick victory.
Getty Pictures for USSF

In fact, the Mia Hamm-led U.S. squad received the title in 1999 on Brandi Chastain’s sudden-death penalty kick towards China.

It’s straightforward to neglect now that the Individuals didn’t get again to the rostrum once more till 2015, with Germany copping back-to-back titles in 2003 and ’07 and Japan upending the U.S. in penalties within the 2011 finals.

The core of Rapinoe, Naeher, O’Hara, Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz had been holdovers of the World Cup-winning groups in ’15 and ’19, and it’s definitely conceivable that all were making their final appearances at this stage.

Fourteen of the 23 rostered gamers had been making their World Cup debuts, however Andonovski wasn’t capable of thread the needle of totally transitioning the group, particularly up entrance.

The 34-year-old Morgan — the fifth-leading goal-scorer in U.S. historical past with 121 — didn’t add to that complete in a four-start private shutout. And the 38-year-old Rapinoe performed sparingly and largely ineffectually in three appearances off the bench.

Alex Morgan #13 of the United States plays the ball under pressure from Nathalie Björn #14 of Sweden during extra time of the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Round of 16 match between Sweden and the United States at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on August 06, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia.
Alex Morgan got here shut however wasn’t capable of get the ball previous anybody in 4 World Cup Video games this yr.
Getty Pictures for USSF

The 22-year-old Smith scored twice within the opener towards Vietnam, however was quiet for the rest of the slate. Trinity Rodman, 21, had some good moments, particularly in Sunday’s first half, however in the end didn’t discover the again of the online within the 4 video games.

These are gamers the U.S. will look to reload round within the coming seasons, together with 18-year-old Alyssa Thompson, spectacular heart again Naomi Girma and sure returning injured stars Mallory Swanson and Catarina Macario.

One other factor to contemplate shifting ahead is that the depth of the ladies’s recreation has improved all over the world, as evidenced by the No. 1 (USA), No. 2 (Germany), No. 7 (Canada) and No. 8 (Brazil) groups within the FIFA World Rankings all eradicated earlier than the quarterfinals within the first yr the sector was expanded to 32 groups.

No. 3 Sweden is now the highest-ranked squad remaining, however Team USA’s scoreless draw in pool play final week towards No. 21 Portugal confirmed their crisp play and air of invincibility are issues they’ll must rediscover earlier than the Olympics subsequent yr and the subsequent World Cup 4 years from now.

Immediately’s again web page

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Clear the benches

Jose Ramirez #11 of the Cleveland Guardians and Tim Anderson #7 of the Chicago White Sox start to fight as umpire Malachi Moore #44 gets between them during the sixth inning at Progressive Field on August 05, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio.
The brawl between Jose Ramirez and Tim Anderson on Saturday night time might have been the most effective battle in sports activities in weeks, with or with out boxing gloves.
Getty Pictures

Baseball brawls was once much more frequent and action-packed, Saturday’s one-punch knockout of Tim Anderson by Jose Ramirez however.
I’ve undoubtedly coated a couple of good ones in my many years as a New York baseball author, with my most memorable nonetheless the one 25 years in the past this previous Might, between the Yankees and the Orioles in 1998 on the Stadium.

After Bernie Williams homered, Tino Martinez was drilled between the two and the 4 on his jersey by an Armando Benitez fastball, and Darryl Strawberry ended up preventing folks within the visiting dugout.

One other loopy brawl I coated, in fact, was the Don Zimmer-Pedro Martinez melee within the 2003 ALCS at Fenway Park, with the 72-year-old bench coach ushered out of the ballpark on a stretcher.

Robin Ventura charging the mound and getting pounded by 46-year-old pitcher Nolan Ryan additionally made the rounds on social media final week for its thirtieth anniversary.

A lot of the benches-clearing incidents these days don’t contain many punches thrown, however Saturday’s battle between the White Sox and Guardians was extra memorable than Jake Paul’s bout towards Nate Diaz later that night time. (A minimum of, in line with a buddy who really watched the latter.)

Biles is again

Simone Biles competes in the uneven bars during the Core Hydration Classic at Now Arena on August 05, 2023 in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
After successful within the all-around, steadiness beam and ground excercises over the weekend, Simone Biles mentioned her return to competitors “went fairly effectively.”
Getty Pictures

Simone Biles was back to being the gold standard in her first gymnastics competitors since withdrawing from a number of occasions on the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo for mental-health causes.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist received the all-around, the ground train and the steadiness beam competitions this weekend on the Core Hydration Basic exterior Chicago.

“The whole lot has fallen into place,” the 26-year-old Biles instructed reporters after the meet. “I really feel actually good about the place I’m proper now, mentally and bodily. There are some issues to work on in my routines, however for the primary meet again, I’d say it went fairly effectively. I’m very shocked and shocked.

“I all the time form of knew [I’d return] as quickly as the whole lot that occurred in Tokyo. So, this time I’m doing it for me, I labored quite a bit on myself, and I imagine in myself a bit bit extra, simply coming again out right here and beginning the primary steps once more.”

Biles now can flip her consideration to the U.S. Championships in San Jose on Aug. 24-27, and the potential for qualifying for the World Championships in Belgium in October.


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