USWNT finally starts defense of World Cup title with match against Thailand



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United States Rose Lavelle, right, is congratulated by Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath, left, after scoring in the first half of a friendly football match against New Zealand on Thursday, May 16, 2019 , in Saint-Louis. (AP Photo / Jeff Roberson)

REIMS, France – The wait is finally over. After four years, the US Women's National Team will start defending the World Cup title.

"This team is united as I have never seen it before … and I feel rather excluded that we are the last day," said American striker Alex Morgan, highlighting his joy at the Olympics. a press conference Monday afternoon.

The United States and Thailand are in the final game of the opening group stage of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, which began four days earlier in Paris. The coup de send is scheduled for 15h. HE Tuesday at the Stade Auguste-Delaune, which should attract more than 21,000 spectators.

Americans should pass easily through Thailand in this first test of Group F. They are ranked first in the world. Thailand is 34th. They are trying to win a second consecutive World Cup title. Thailand makes its second appearance in World Cup.

The only other time the United States and Thailand clashed was in 2016 and the Americans won 9-0. The United States have never lost their first World Cup match.

The American players, who arrived in Reims on Friday, trained locally and explored the historic city about an hour north-east of Paris.

"We feel prepared. The process has been long, but I think the players we have selected and the preparation has been excellent, and we are ready to focus on tomorrow's game, "said Ellis on Monday.

After Thailand, the United States will play Chile number 39 on June 16 in Paris, then number 9 Sweden on June 20 in Le Havre.

Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath lead an unparalleled front line. And Ellis has an extremely motivated and experienced veteran at Carli Lloyd on the bench. Lloyd was the star of the 2015 World Cup, scoring a hat trick in the final and is known to be very popular in major tournaments.

Lloyd, 36, is also the oldest player in the oldest formation – the average age being just over 28.5 years – in the World Cup. Tierna Davidson, 20, is the youngest US player.

One of the perceived weaknesses is the back line of the Americans. In the event of a breakdown, the last line of defense is Alyssa Naeher, who makes her World Cup debut as a starting goaltender after already supporting Hope Solo.

"I'm excited to participate in the tournament," said Naeher, 31. "I'm feeling good, I'm confident, ready to go, my teammates make me feel every day.

Morgan, 29, will face another student from the University of California at Berkeley in Thailand, striker Suchawadee Nildhamrong, 22, better known as Miranda Nild. The two men crossed in the hallway of the stadium between their pre-match press conferences. Nild was named Gold Bears' offensive player of the year as a junior and scored 13 goals in four years at the university.

"I just met her in the hallway, so it's already a friendly fire. I introduced myself to her. I was proactive, so I already have an advantage on it, "said Morgan jokingly. "She's a very successful player with the Thai team, and I can not wait to see him."

Ellis answers

Former US goalkeeper Hope Solo criticized Ellis' leadership in a preliminary interview with the BBC for the World Cup, saying Ellis was cracking under pressure and relying on his assistants.

Asked about Solo's remarks, Ellis replied that "comments are comments".

She continued, "For me personally, in the last five years, I feel that I have made many important decisions and that I have processes to take them, and that I own them. At this point everything is focused on this group of players who are here and now. The experts are part of that. And part of the message is always to make sure that the focus is on the inner part of the game. And that's where we are. "

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