The United States Women’s National Team is facing an absolutely massive match on Sunday when they take on Sweden, needing a win to keep their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup run alive.
They’ll have to do so without two legendary players—Tobin Heath and Christen Press—who are both sidelined with injuries but have been extremely vocal about the team’s shortcomings thus far. After winning back-to-back World Cups with the team in 2015 and 2019, Heath and Press are spectators, watching their team go through the motions, as they’ve failed to meet expectations through their first three games of the tournament.
While the U.S. Women have advanced to the Round of 16, Press pointed out that they should still be performing at a higher level than they currently are. She and Heath recently sat down with People Magazine to talk about their thoughts on the current state of the 2o23 squad. Here is an excerpt from that exclusive interview People:
“We’re still the USWNT,” Press says. “If every other top team in the world lost in the first round, we’re still not going to feel good about losing the first round. We’re going to win no matter what the path is. We’re always going to expect that from ourselves, and the world is always going to expect that from the team. Where we are now, it’s true, we expect better.”
Heath says it’s “worrisome” to hear others say the USWNT should celebrate the fact it advanced to the knockout round this week after tying 0-0 with Portugal. “That kind of makes me stumble a little bit as a USWNT player and a fan,” she says. “That shouldn’t even be a thought that we’re glad to have made the Round of 16. That is the bottom bar. I mean, I don’t even know if that’s even an expectation. That’s where you should be.”
Ultimately, Heath concludes: “I don’t think there’s a lot of positive momentum that you can really take from the group stages in terms of performance.”
The U.S. women have to make sure their performance is a lot better than the one we saw through the group stage, otherwise, Sunday’s match against Sweden will make a premature end to their World Cup.