The Women’s World Cup stars are aligning…will the reign of the ‘strongest’ USA continue?

The highly anticipated FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia-New Zealand 2023 kicks off on Tuesday with the opening match between New Zealand and Norway. While the reigning women’s soccer champions, the United States, will be challenged by some of Europe’s top teams, the South Korean women’s national team, led by Colleen Bell, will also be looking to achieve their best-ever finish.

Looking ahead to the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the British public broadcaster BBC on Sunday asked the question, “Is the United States still a team that (opponents) can beat?” That’s how dominant the U.S. is.

The U.S., ranked No. 1 in women’s soccer by FIFA, has won the tournament four times, starting with the inaugural edition in China in 1991. They have long been the most dominant team in women’s soccer, winning back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2019.

The U.S. will be looking to win their fifth title and third consecutive World Cup. Superstars like Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe have put the U.S. in an unassailable position.

However, the U.S. will face a strong challenge in this tournament. For starters, the team itself has undergone major changes. With Morgan now in her mid-30s and Rapinoe struggling with injuries, it’s questionable whether she’ll be able to replicate her previous form on the field. Midfielder Carli Lloyd, who led the U.S. to back-to-back titles at the 2019 tournament, is not retiring. A whopping 14 of the 23-player squad are making their first World Cup appearance.

The U.S. dropped a series of exhibition games last October and November against European powerhouses like England (1-2), Spain (0-2), and Germany (1-2). It’s clear that the U.S. dominance is under threat at this tournament. The US was placed in Group E with Vietnam, the Netherlands, and Portugal, and will likely face a tough battle with the Netherlands for first place in the group.

The US’s opponents are eager to take advantage of this opportunity to finally knock the Americans off their perch. Alongside the Americans, FIFA’s No. 2 ranked Germany, 토토사이트 the ‘freak’ back-to-back World Cup winners (2003-2007), England, last year’s Women’s Euro 2022 champions, and the 2019 tournament runners-up, the Netherlands, are among the favorites. Spain, with Alexia Putejas, the best player in women’s soccer today, who won the 2021 and 2022 Women’s Ballon d’Or, FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, and European Women’s Player of the Year in back-to-back years, and Canada, the Tokyo Olympic gold medalist, are also favorites.

South Korea will also be looking for its best-ever quarterfinal finish at the tournament. South Korea was drawn in Group H with Germany, Colombia and Morocco. Bell has been preparing for the tournament since the team was called up on March 18, with intense training sessions to maximize the players’ fitness and resilience. This was evident in their exhibition match against Haiti on Aug. 8, where they conceded an early goal before storming back to win 2-1. South Korea arrived in Australia on Nov. 11 and completed its final tune-up on Nov. 16 against the Netherlands behind closed doors.

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