Wednesday, June 17, 2015

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015: The Downfall of US Dominance?

For several years now the US Women's National Team has been the standard bearer in terms of Women's International Football.  They have not always won the World Cup, but they're more often than not in the Finals and they are always considered among the top 3 favorites to win the thing coming out of group play.

This year?

Not so much.

Yes, they won their group, despite not looking terribly impressive in all three games, and they are through to the knock-out rounds.  Their defense is looking fairly solid and they have, in Wambach, Rapinoe and Morgan, three pretty good offensive options. And they have Hope Solo, who is just about the most unlikable person in the tournament but who does a very good job keeping the opponents from putting the ball in net. (Although much of the credit for that should go to defenders Johnston and Saurbrunn.)

The most important takeaway from the group play was that the US may not be in the top 3 for title contention.  They may not even be in the top five.

Who would be better?

Germany, Norway and Brazil for a start.  If you want to expand that list you could include Japan and possibly (but not likely) Colombia who have been a pleasant surprise so far.

All of this doesn't mean that the US doesn't have a chance to win. They do because they still have talent at every position and a handful of players who are among the best at their position.

But they also have holes.  And an offensive attack that's proving to be less creative and dangerous every game.

At this point my pick for the Finals is Japan and Germany, with Germany getting the title to pull off the Men's/Women's double.

Right now, the way the USWNT is playing, I don't think a match up with either team would be particularly close.

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