By: Ben Brady, KCOU Sports
On July 1st, 2014 the United States Men’s International Soccer Team fell to Belgium 2-1 in extra time in the Round of 16. The U.S. defied many critics by not just getting to the Knockout Stage, but getting through the infamous “Group of Death”. Since that disappointing day in July, America has gone on thinking they won’t be able to watch another US World Cup match until 2018. What they do not realize is the 2015 Women’s World Cup is this summer.
While the men’s team is clearly not on par with the powerhouse teams such as Germany, Spain, or Brazil, the women’s international team is the powerhouse team. They are currently ranked as the number one team in the world by FIFA. While many critics picked the US men’s team to not even win a game, many critics are picking the US women’s team to win it all.
Like the men’s team, the women’s team drew into the infamous “Group of Death” with Sweden, Australia, and Nigeria in Group D. With the U.S. ranked number one, Sweden ranked fifth, Australia tenth, and Nigeria thirty-fifth, this is obviously the most stacked group. Even with this unlucky draw the US is predicted to come out on top.
This Women’s World Cup has expanded, adding eight more teams to the tournament to have 24 countries participating unlike in 2011 when they had 16. With these four teams they will be able to expand the Knockout Phase to include Round of 16 matchups.
There will be six groups with four countries in each group. The teams all play each other once like in the men’s World Cup, with the top two countries from the group getting an automatic bid to the Knockout Phase. To expand to 16 teams getting into the Knockout phase the top four third place finishers in their respective groups will make it the next stage.
It should be an exciting tournament with stars Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, and Hope Solo leading the way for the highly esteemed US squad. Looking to overcome a disappointing lost to Japan in the 2011 Women’s World Cup final where they fell in a penalty shootout, they have revenge on their minds. The one-month tournament will begin June 5th when Canada takes on China and New Zealand plays the Netherlands.
The US team will open up play on June 8th when they will face Australia. So with the men’s World Cup already done, we Americans should be sporting our red, white, and blue come June 8th.