Team USA will play Spain in their next game on Monday, June 24th at 12 p.m. Eastern in Reims, France as the Group F winner. Team USA already punched their ticket to the Knockout Round of the 2019 Women’s World Cup prior to their match against Sweden. The question was whether they would advance as the Group F winner or runner-up.
Heading into the match, the USWNT’s possible opponents were Spain or Canada. The USWNT was able to win the group thanks to a 2-0 victory over Sweden.
The USWNT would have squared off with Canada if the team ended up in second place in the group. This match would also have been on Monday, June 24 at 3 p.m. Eastern in Paris, France.
There was some talk the U.S. would try to lose the group to keep them away from the same side of the bracket as France. USA manager Jill Ellis noted prior to the Sweden match that the team wanted no part of this philosophy.
“If our team can focus on our performance and play at the level we can, we are a challenge and a handful for any team,” Ellis told The Seattle Times. “You can’t handpick who you want to play in this tournament; the team in front of you becomes the priority.”
The U.S. Will Now Begin Their World Cup Title Defense
After winning the first two matches with relative ease, the USWNT faced much more of a test in their third match against Sweden. The U.S. was not in the most challenging group and will face better competition moving forward in the tournament.
While the U.S. may not have had the most challenging schedule, the hope for USWNT supporters is that the first three games allowed the team to build confidence with nearly every player on the roster seeing the field. Sweden defeated the U.S. in the 2016 Olympics and several USWNT players admitted that they wanted to get a bit of revenge at the World Cup.
“I definitely look upon that for motivation and encouragement because I never want to feel the way that I felt after that tournament,” Alex Morgan explained to ESPN. “Looking ahead now, this team, the personnel is more from ’16. So we have to look at how we can turn around and continue to hold that No. 1 ranking and really prove what we’ve been working on.”
The only down note about the USA’s victory over Sweden was a potential injury to Alex Morgan. The star forward appeared to sustain an injury in the first half against Sweden. Morgan remained in the game but was substituted out for Carli Lloyd after halftime.