Suddenly, an Amazing Soccer Streak Is at Risk

US women have always advanced past the first round, but it's not sure thing this year
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2023 6:00 PM CDT
Suddenly, an Amazing Soccer Streak Is at Risk
United States' Trinity Rodman, left, reacts after a missed shot on goal against the Netherlands in Wellington, New Zealand, Thursday, July 27, 2023.   (AP Photo/Andrew Cornaga)

After its first two games in the World Cup, the US women's team finds itself in an unusual position: Needing at least a draw in the next game to advance. Typically, the long-dominant team has things locked up after two games, but that's not the case this year after a draw against the Netherlands following its win over Vietnam, writes Nancy Armour at USA Today. The bottom line: If the US loses to Portugal on Tuesday in the third and final game of the opening round, the Americans will likely be exiting the tournament after the first stage for the first time in history.

"Think about that," writes Armour. "The World Cup began in 1991, the Olympic tournament five years later, and not once has the USWNT failed to make it out of the group stage." And with the sole exception of the 2016 Olympics, the team has gotten to at least the semifinals at every major tournament." That streak is now at risk, but "such is life when a team is loaded with talent and short on experience," writes Armour. However, it's not time for fans to panic, writes Chris Branch at the Athletic. The team is still in a great position to advance, he notes. "If the Americans struggle against No. 21 Portugal, then everyone can really worry." (More US women's soccer stories.)

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