USA set to battle Germany again, this time in opening match of FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup
Just over a month after the men's senior squad chased glory in Brazil, another US national team is about to go hunting for hardware in a FIFA championship tournament, as the US Under-20 women's national team kick off the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Canada on Tuesday.
And just like their USMNT counterparts, these young Yanks have been dropped into yet another Group of Death.
The US U-20s have been drawn into a fearsome Group B lineup alongside Germany, Brazil and the People's Republic of China, and must open their campaign against Germany, the team they narrowly defeated to claim the last U-20 Women's World Cup two years ago in Japan.
USA-Germany kicks off at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium at 7 pm ET, with WatchESPN's broadcast set to begin at 6:45 pm ET.
Not only is it a rematch of the last U-20 WWC final and the summer's second huge clash between these countries, it's also a meeting of the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked women's programs in the world, based on the latest FIFA Women's World Rankings. And Brazil (No. 3) and China (No. 6) aren't far behind.
“Obviously, it’s the first game and you always want to start well,” US striker Lindsey Horan told FIFA.com. “There’s a little bit more pressure because Germany are such a great team, but no matter which team we play first we need to come out and set a standard and do whatever we can to win.
“That’s a given, but we respect the fact that Germany are a great team and we know they’ll be super motivated to play us as well.”
Unlike the USMNT, Horan – who became the first-ever American woman to bypass NCAA soccer and sign with a European professional club when she joined French power Paris St-Germain right out of high school two years ago – and her teammates enter their World Cup as favorites.
The US have won three of the six U-20 Women's World Cups and head coach Michelle French has taken a talent-packed squad north of the border. They'll meet Brazil in Edmonton on Friday, then close out group play against China in Moncton next Tuesday.