Sydney, Australia – fans of United States Women’s National Team they will get a sour taste in their mouth while watching world Cup last sunday

The obvious reason is that they expected the Americans to play in the game – there are plenty of people in Sydney still proudly walking around wearing their USWNT jerseys and gear because they bought tickets long ago based on the assumption that their team would consistently Will fight for the third title. ,

However, perhaps the less obvious reason is that England And spainThe two European nations will face off at Stadium Australia here (Coverage begins at 5am ET Kickoff at 6PM ET on Fox and the Fox Sports App), vivid examples of what America was before and what it can be again.

Football purists will love this matchup. Two technically and tactically strong teams with exciting star players. Both sides are well organized and look to get the ball back when they lose it. They are merciless in their attack, fearless in front of the target and use physical attack when necessary.

They are resilient, and both have overcome all kinds of obstacles to get here (England with injuries, Spain with near-rebellion). They are also loaded with depth and look set to dominate for years to come.

USWNT, who lost Sweden In their debut round of 16 in World Cup history, they were leading in these areas. But for too long, Americans have relied on being bigger, faster and stronger and applying an “we want it more” mentality that has helped them garner so many trophies.

While former players like carli lloyd Having publicly stated that he has seen the fall of the United States over the years, it is also worth noting that all dynasties in sports usually come to an end.

But what Lloyd and others are saying is that the success of the senior national team over the past decade has masked underlying and systemic issues that had been emerging at the youth level for years. Yes, Vlatko Andonovski’s resignation as USWNT coach this week means US Soccer sporting director Matt Crocker can officially go out and fix a myriad of problems ahead of next summer’s Paris Olympics and the next World Cup in 2027. You can find the right coach for But one of the reasons England and Spain are playing in the final and the US is not is because of what these countries have been doing at the lower level for a long time.

FIFA Women’s World Cup final preview: Spain vs England

Spain, ranked sixth in the world by FIFA, have been a rising force in the sport for some time now and have made it to the final for the third time here. this red The round-of-16 match posed the biggest threat to the USWNT, but the Americans won thanks to two penalty kicks. megan rapino,

Despite the tumultuous relationship between players and the federation that has been hitting the headlines, Spain’s youth teams are hitting it off. This is because Spain exposes top young talent to a professional environment at an early age, helping to accelerate development.

Take the 19-year-old to Barcelona Salma Parluelo, She was in the Spanish team that won the Under-17 World Cup in 2018 and the Under-20 World Cup in 2022. He made his senior team debut in November 2022, scoring a hat-trick in that friendly. Argentina, and has been a true X-factor ever since. At this summer’s World Cup, he scored crucial goals in the quarterfinals and semi-finals (he also helped club team Barcelona win the Champions League title earlier this year).

Spain, the youngest team to reach the final since 1995 (average age 25.3), is the first team in history to have made the senior World Cup finals, as well as the under-17 and under-20 tournaments Is ruling Champions.

The U.S. has never won the U-17 World Cup since its founding in 2008. When was the last time he won the Under-20 title? that was in 2012 when Julie Ertz (then Johnson) and crystal dunn Was part of the squad.

Alexi Lalas reacts to England’s stunning semi-final win

Meanwhile, England are a team that has had to deal with a number of injuries this summer. One of the Most Common Excuses for USWNT Performances Here Was a Possible Debut mallory swanson, Catherine Macario, Sam Mavis, becky sauerbrunn and others were unavailable as they were still recovering from injuries. Andonovski failed to remedy his absence and paid the price.

No.4-Rank Lioness Missing big players like captain in world cup Leah Williamson2022 Ballon d’Or Finalist beth meadand further fran kirby, They were even without the 21-year-old phenom Lauren James He was shown a red card in the last two matches after the Round-16 win Nigeria, James will return for the final, but the reigning European champion has not lost a single win and looks like the favorite going into the tournament.

The English defender said, “The strength of this team is that we stick together. We have an incredibly strong bond. We have a strong team.” Lucy Bronze said this week. “Winning the Euro has given us a lot of confidence, but this year we have had a few losses in terms of big players, there is a lot of noise outside and it has brought us closer to each other.

“Before the tournament, people booed us to be out of the group or something, and now we’re in the final.”

Spain beat Sweden to enter World Cup final for the first time

So, why couldn’t America overcome its own failures in real time? Certainly, Andonovski was criticized for his tactical approach, tactics around substitutions and his inability to adapt correctly to issues in the middle of the game. But England and Spain are proof that the USWNT’s current problems run much deeper.

And it will be on full display in Sunday’s World Cup final.

Lecon Littman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for Fox Sports. He previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of “Strong Like a Woman” to be published in spring 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow him on Twitter @LakenLitman.

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