The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup began four days ago in France and fans of the United States patiently waited for their team to suit up and begin group play. On Tuesday, the wait is finally over as the Lady Yanks take on Thailand for their first game in Group F.
USWNT begins the tournament ranked No. 1 in the latest FIFA world rankings and some pundits feel that their spot is threatened despite a strong qualifying campaign. In a year of preparation leading up the World Cup, the Americans won 18 games and scored 65 goals in route to France. Despite those statistics, some feel that head coach Jill Ellis might not be able to lead the United States to another World Championship.
Believe it or not, soccer fans in Columbus will have strong ties to this early matchup. The first and only time that Thailand and United States competed against each other took place at MAPFRE Stadium on a chilly night in September of 2016.
The Stars and Stripes cruised to a 9-0 victory in the final international match for Heather O’Reilly. Carli Lloyd registered a hat trick and the U.S. received sizable contributions from Christen Press, Tobin Heath and Crystal Dunn. Seventeen players who featured in that match are available for selection in France on Tuesday afternoon.
Look for the United States to create overloads on the right side of the pitch but they are capable of switching fields at anytime on the attack. With quality wingers such as Tobin Heath and Megan Rapinoe running down the wings, Jill Ellis and her staff have an embarrassment of riches that will keep opposing coaches up at night throughout the tournament.
Ohio’s own Rose Lavelle will serve as the creative playmaker for the Stars & Stripes, backing up the front three consisting of the aforementioned Rapinoe, Heath and striker Alex Morgan. If the U.S.’s three-headed monster can’t get a quality scoring opportunity, expect to see Lavelle try her luck from outside of the 18-yard box to force the opposing goalkeeper into an uncomfortable save.
How to watch:
Date/Time: Tuesday June 11th, 3:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Stade Auguste-Delaune II — Reims, France
Stream: Fox Sports GO