For the first time in the competition’s history, the United States women’s national team was booted out before the semifinal stage by being ousted from the 2023 Women’s World Cup in the round of 16. In a terribly depressing manner, the USA lost the penalty shootout to Sweden in the round of 16. They missed three attempts without forcing a save, and then Sweden scored on a rebound after Alyssa Naeher made the initial save.
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In the competition’s group stage, the United States performed poorly, placing second in the group for only the second time ever. It was the first time the Americans failed to sweep their group, and their poor play in the last third was glaring. Despite giving it their best effort against Sweden, the team eventually fell short. The attention is now on head coach Vlatko Andonovski.
Andonovski’s Career with USWNT
As the head coach, Andonovski has had success winning games, but he has struggled in international events. In the Tokyo Olympics, Sweden interrupted the USWNT‘s historically long unbeaten run.
The team finished the competition with a bronze medal after losing to Canada in the semifinal. This World Cup round-of-16 exit, which was intended to be a quest for a three-peat, is yet another letdown for Andonovski.
The Future of Andonovski in USWNT
Andonovski’s contract expires after 2023, and under his leadership, the team has not made the anticipated progress. Despite the combination of experienced players and rookies on this USA lineup, it was still expected that they would advance to the semifinals and challenge for the championship. The Americans fell well short of it. Trinity Rodman, Sophia Smith, and Andi Sullivan, three important young players, performed poorly.
Although Emily Fox and Naomi Girma performed well, the United States finally fell short in the decisive third. Although they were good, Alex Morgan and Lindsey Horan often fell short of their potential. Julie Ertz performed well and was perhaps the only veteran to maintain consistency throughout the competition. Megan Rapinoe was a replacement who then dropped a critical penalty when the Americans needed her most.
Individual incidents are difficult to attribute to Andonovski, and even though the USA didn’t win, his strategies against Sweden were effective. It’s difficult to comprehend, however, why he insisted on playing with the same lineup and formation throughout most of the group stage. Andonovski’s future is really at risk when you take the team’s history into account along with the recent match outcomes.