Pressure on US squad, coach as World Cup title defence begins

Pressure on US squad, coach as World Cup title defence begins

The United States will begin their World Cup campaign against Vietnam on Saturday, marking a crucial test for head coach Vlatko Andonovski. Under the leadership of previous manager Jill Ellis, the American team achieved great success, winning their third and fourth titles in 2015 and 2019. However, replicating this feat will not be easy, as no country has ever won three consecutive World Cups. Nevertheless, the U.S. fans have high expectations for their top-ranked team.

Andonovski, who took over the coaching position after the U.S. defeated the Netherlands in the 2019 final, acknowledged the pressure that comes with the job. He embraced the expectations and turned the pressure into excitement, using it to fuel his preparation. In his squad for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand, Andonovski has included 14 World Cup first-timers, relying on a new generation of talent.

Although the Americans secured a bronze medal at the Tokyo Games in 2021, Andonovski fell short in his first major tournament as head coach. However, he remains confident in his team’s abilities, highlighting the mix of young, energetic players and experienced veterans who know how to win big tournaments.

Their first opponent, Vietnam, may be considered massive underdogs, but Andonovski has cautioned against underestimating them. He believes that the days of lopsided victories, like the 13-0 win against Thailand in the 2019 opener, are behind them. Andonovski expects to face the best Vietnam team ever and is prepared for a tough match.

The surprising upset by New Zealand over former champions Norway in the tournament opener serves as a reminder that anything can happen on soccer’s biggest stage. Andonovski is focused on the first game against Vietnam and is determined to field a team that gives them the best chance to win every match.

After their match against Vietnam, the United States will face the Netherlands in their second Group E match. The team is taking each game as it comes and remains fully focused on the challenges ahead.

Reporting from Auckland, Amy Tennery; Editing by Peter Rutherford

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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