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Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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What happened in the Women’s World Cup?

Phil Walter/Getty Images/TNS
The United States’ Megan Rapinoe (15) on the field against Vietnam in a World Cup group match at Eden Park on Saturday, July 22, 2023, in Auckland, New Zealand.

The 2023 Women’s World Cup Tournament brought a roller coaster of emotions to many players and fans, having some of the greatest upsets and improvements in history.

For U.S fans the road ended early in the tournament while Spain fans got to see their team win its very first World Cup. 

For the first time in history, the U.S. Women’s National Team didn’t finish in the top three, losing to Sweden in an underperforming Round of Sixteen game. 

Many could blame it on lack of experience because it was a young team, but the USWNT had all the potential to win its third straight World Cup, so what went wrong? 

Throughout the tournament forwards Alex Morgan, Trinity Rodman, Sophia Smith and Lynn Williams never played at their fullest potential. Several games were played sloppy and slowly, not  holding possession and having a lack of aggression on defense.

Yet all the blame isn’t on the players. A big part of the USWNT’s failure was because of Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski. His poor field setup along with bad substitutions prompted the worst performing tournament by the USWNT. 

Forward Megan Rapinoe had three appearances throughout the tournament but wasn’t performing her best . Despite not playing well, in the game against Sweden, Andonovski made the decision to sub-out Morgan for Rapinoe going into penalty kicks.

This bad coaching call ultimately gave the loss to USWNT, as Rapinoe overshot the goal to go down in the penalty kick battle. 

Not making any substitutions throughout the tournament was an issue in itself, while no adjustments were made on the field when players were consistently having bad games. 

Andonovski told ESPN why he didn’t make the substitutions that were needed. 

“I just didn’t want to disrupt the rhythm at that point because sometimes a substitute comes in and it might take a minute or two to get into a rhythm,” said Andonovski. 

In the end it didn’t show success with the USWNT having the worst turnout in history. 

Unlike the USA, Spain saw great success on the field winning its first ever World Cup title but it didn’t come easy. 

Prior to the tournament Spain lost one of its best players, midfielder Alexia Putellas to an ACL injury in 2022 that kept her out of the 2023 World Cup Tournament, which gave Spain opposing odds to success. 

The adversity continued for  Spain as they began the tournament looking rough, losing the first match to Japan, 4-0 in the group stage round. 

Despite having lost, adjustments were made that helped Spain make it to the end. It focused on its back line starting seven Barcelona players for the majority of the tournament.

In the final World Cup game, Spain dominated England, getting down the field very easily. The winning goal of the game was scored by left back Olga Carmona with a kick to the bottom corner.

Spain took on a 1-0 victory against England. Although Spain began the tournament struggling, it had its biggest growth to make its way into champions. 

The World Cup came to an end with many mixed emotions seeing history be made for the USWNT and Spain in different forms.          

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