FIFA Women's World Cup 2019: Five reasons why USWNT will repeat as champions in France
The United States women's national team is the No. 1 ranked team in the world by FIFA
The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup kicked off this month, and the tournament favorite is, unsurprisingly, the United States women's national team. The U.S. entered the competition as defending champions and returns 12 players from the 2015 team, including Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe. Here's a complete look at the 23-player squad. Since the first Women's World Cup in 1991, the United States has never finished worse than third place. Below are five reasons why they will repeat as champs. For a devil's advocate look at why they won't defend their title, .
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1. This team has the leadership
The United States will not go with a traditional one-captain system, instead the team is led by three captains: Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, all players who are among the most decorated in the history of the country. Lloyd is ranked in the top 10 in caps, goals and assists for the USWNT and was the Golden Ball winner in the 2015 World Cup. Alex Morgan has scored the sixth most goals in USWNT history, and only two players ahead of her have scored at a higher rate per game (Abby Wambach and Michelle Akers). Rapinoe's 57 assists are the fifth most in USWNT history, including possibly the most famous assist in the history of the country when she found Abby Wambach's head in the 122nd minute of the 2011 World Cup quarterfinals.
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2. They also have the experience
The United States have 12 players returning from the 2015 World Cup-winning team, including eight starters from the final match. Eleven players on the roster have at least 80 caps to their name, and eight of those have eight players have hit the century mark for the red white and blue. The combined 1,893 caps that the U.S. side has is more than any other team in the tournament. The team's average age of 29 years old and zero months is the oldest in the tournament by seven months.
3. Two 100-goal scorers on the roster
Only 16 women in international history have scored 100 goals for their country and two of them will be suiting up for the United States in this World Cup.during a tune-up game against Australia -- Morgan has 101 and Lloyd has 110. The U.S. also have three other players who have scored at least 29 goals in their international career, Christen Press (47), Megan Rapinoe (44) and Tobin Heath (29).
4. Familiarity coming from the domestic league
All 23 players on the U.S. squad play in the National Women's Soccer League. It is the only team at the World Cup to have every player come from the same league. This could be a huge benefit to the United States as there is a similar style of play in the league that everyone is already accustomed to. The 23 players come from eight of the nine NWSL teams. Portland Thorns FC, North Carolina Courage and the Chicago Red Stars all have four players represented, while the Utah Royals and Orlando Pride have three players each. Reign FC and the Washington Spirit both have two players and Sky Blue FC has one.
5. They're completely in-form heading into France
The United States heads into its opening match against Thailand on June 11 -- stream on fuboTV (Try for free) -- with a six-game winning streak. The U.S. has outscored its opponents 23-3 in that span, with shutouts in five of those matches. Tobin Heath, Mallory Pugh, Carli Lloyd and Sam Mewis have been playing some of the best soccer of their in the lead up to the World Cup.
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