Well that was a pretty good day for the U.S. women.
A day that began with Megan Rapinoe receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom ended with the USWNT qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Three years to the day after winning their second consecutive World Cup title, and fourth overall, the Americans clinched their spot in the 2023 tournament after Haiti stunned host Mexico, 3-0.
The top two teams in each group at the Concacaf championship qualify for the World Cup, and the Americans are all but assured of finishing atop Group A. The USWNT is the only team in the group to win its first two games, and the Americans have a whopping plus-eight edge in goal differential.
They finish group play Monday against Mexico.
Because the field is expanding for the 2023 World Cup, from 24 to 32 teams, there was little doubt of the Americans qualifying. Its 5-0 rout of Jamaica earlier in the night extended its consecutive shutout streak in Olympic and World Cup qualifiers to 30 games.
Still, securing a World Cup berth is an important step for what is a relatively young U.S. squad.
“The younger players have never experienced being outside the U.S. and playing games in front of 30,000, 40,000 people,” U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said when asked about the upcoming match with host Mexico. “That’s something we’re looking forward to and hopefully we get a good result … because this will be the best preparation, the best experience going into the World Cup.”
The World Cup is July 20-Aug. 20, 2023. It will be played in nine cities across Australia and New Zealand, with the final in Sydney.
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The USWNT will be looking to become the first women’s or men’s team to win three consecutive World Cup titles. Another title would give the Americans five overall, tying them with the Brazil men for most at the World Cup.
Though the Americans’ spot in the World Cup is now secure, there is still another significant prize at stake in the Concacaf championship. The winner of the tournament gets a spot at the 2024 Olympics in Paris, while the second- and third-place finishers will go to a playoff for Concacaf’s second automatic berth.
“2023 bound baby! We want 2024 too so we have some work to do these next games,” Alex Morgan said on Twitter.