The United States Women’s National team took the field in the 2018 Tournament of Nations this past week. They played other Women’s international soccer giant’s Japan, Brazil and Australia. The USWNT took care of business vs Japan. They followed their win up with a draw against a strong Australian side. The culmination of the tournament saw the US dismantle Brazil 4-1 in route to taking the title.
These same four nations competed in this competition last year. Australia took home the trophy. The Aussies were followed by USA in second, Japan in third on goal difference, and Brazil in fourth on goal difference.
This tournament is a great tune up for all four Nations ahead of next Summer’s Women’s World Cup. A run of games featuring four of the top 10 nations in World Soccer (USA -1st, Japan – 6th, Australia – 7th, and Brazil – 8th) is bound to be entertaining, and this one sure was.
Brazil: 1 Australia: 3
USA: 4 Japan: 2
On the first matchday of the tournament powerhouse Brazil met up-and-coming Australia. The match started off with an own-goal from Brazil to give Australia the lead. Australia added another before the first half ended. They picked up where they left off as the second half started adding a third goal. Brazil did find one goal late in the second half, but it was not enough to spark a comeback. The tournament started off well for defending champion’s Australia, and not so well for the talented Brazil side.
A rematch of the 2014 World Cup final between USA and Japan saw fireworks. Alex Morgan put the US up early, but Japan scored two minutes later to bring things back level. Morgan scored again to give the US the lead going into halftime. Alex Morgan completed a hat-trick early in the second half, and Megan Rapinoe scored as well to give the US a 4-1 lead. Japan scored a consolation goal to make their scoreline not look so bad. USA took all three points from Japan by a score of 4-2.
USA – 3 pts
Australia – 3 pts
Brazil – 0 pts
Japan – 0 pts
Japan: 1 Brazil: 2
USA: 1 Australia:1
In matchday two 6th ranked Japan took on 8th ranked Brazil. The first half produced a lot of chances but neither side could find a goal. Then Brazilian wizard Marta found the back of the net in the 76th minute. Brazil found a second goal in the 90th minute, that would end up being the winner. Japan scored a goal in second half stoppage time, but were too late to get a second. Brazil redeemed themselves after losing their first match, while Japan saw themselves eliminated from the tournament with their second loss.
Australia met the USWNT in a game that was a chess-match from start to finish. The flows of the game and position of both squads. Australia found the breakthrough in the 22nd minute, and they held the lead for the rest of the match, until the 90th minute. The US won a late corner and took advantage. Lindsey Horan headed home the corner to get the late equalizer. The matched ended 1-1 with both teams now tied for first place.
USA – 4 pts
Australia – 4 pts
Brazil – 3 pts
Japan – 0 pts
Australia: 2 Japan: 0
USA: 4 Brazil: 1
The final matchday would see a champion crowned. Australia played Japan with a chance at repeating as champions. They played well against Japan, but couldn’t find a goal in the first half. Right at the start of the second half Australia found their opening goal. As the game progressed Japan looked to get a goal, but failed to do so. Australia found their second goal late on to seal their victory. With their 2-0 win, the US would have to beat Brazil by two or more goals to claim the title from the Aussies.
In the finale of the Tournament of Nations, the US knew what they had to do, but their match didn’t start off well. Brazil were on the board first after an US own-goal. This lit a fire under the USWNT. They equalized, through Rose Lavelle, and went into halftime tied. USA came out in the second half Raring to go. In a span of 24 minutes the US score three goals; Julie Ertz, Tobin Heath and Alex Morgan scored the goals that helped the US take the championship away from Australia!
USA – 7 pts
Australia – 7 pts
Brazil – 3 pts
Japan – 0 pts
The USWNT moving forward:
Moving forward, the USWNT play two friendlies against Chile on August 31st and September 4th. After those matches the US will host the CONCACAF Championship in October. This championship tournament will determine who from the CONCACAF region makes it to the Women’s World Cup in 2019.
This team is worth paying attention to:
In the over-saturated landscape of American sports, Soccer usually gets laughed off, or even called “not a sport”. When it comes to the Women’s game, they are usually seen as an even further after thought. That should not be the case with the US Women’s National team.
They kick ass, and have done so since the nineties. They actually win trophies on the World Stage! The USWNT win consistently, their last loss was over a year ago. They have the most talented players in the world, and carry the torch for US Soccer, especially when their Men fall flat on their faces. They do all this, while getting paid a whole lot less than the Men’s team. Pay attention to this team, you’ll get sucked into how good they are!
We here at Philly Sports Network will be covering them more often, starting with their upcoming CONCACAF Championship in October. The USWNT will be the front-runners to win the tournament. Should they finish in either first, second or third in the tournament they’ll automatically qualify for the 2019 Women’s World Cup!
Be sure to come back to Philly Sports Network for more Philadelphia Union, Steel FC, and other soccer content!
Follow our writers on Twitter:
Peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports.