Becky Sauerbrunn said the disappointment suffered by the U.S. Women’s National Team at the Rio 2016 Olympics was a motivation for the team ahead of the Tokyo Games.
Five years ago in Brazil, the United States lost to Sweden on penalties in the quarter-finals after Stina Blackstenius and Alex Morgan’s second-half goals left the game tied. “I think what happened in 2016 was one of the worst results the senior national team had in a major tournament and after playing in that game I know how disappointed we were all “said Sauerbrunn, who will captain the team in Tokyo. “For me it lit a fire ahead of the 2019 World Cup and also here for 2020.”
Fittingly, America’s first game this time around is against Sweden on Wednesday with the World Cup winners and World Cup bronze medalists reunited in Group G. dynamic forwards, they are also quite physical, they have I have a good size, so I can’t wait to fight, ”said Sauerbrunn. “Every time we face Sweden, especially for our back line, it’s a battle. Blackstenius and Sofia Jakobsson are quality strikers so it’s going to be a test and I like challenges.
An advantage the United States has over any other team in the tournament is that the team played 12 times in 2021, more than any other team in the competition. “I would say that our team is very lucky to have played so many games as we have, because it is very difficult to reproduce a game scenario,” said Sauerbrunn.
“You can train as much as you want and you can play against each other, but it’s not quite the same as having an international game. It allowed us to form chemistry, to work on tactics, and to really dig into those details that are so important. So that gives us an advantage, but I would also say that by entering a tournament, you never know what’s going to happen.
There are unknowns in tournament football, but the strong defensive unit that coach Vlatko Andonovski has built since taking over from Jill Ellis means the United States has fewer surprises. Since winning the World Cup in 2019, the team have scored just four goals. The secret, Sauerbrunn said, is that “every player who plays has to make a defensive change”.
“So it’s not just the back line and the goalie, it starts at the top, it’s our first defenders. The work we have done in all facets of defense, be it high block, low block, defense in the box, we have reviewed it over and over again and we have also seen many PowerPoint presentations at this. subject. We are looking at the smallest details and I think that’s what has helped so much. We haven’t given up much, but when we do, we watch it, we break it down, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.