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2019 Women's World Cup

Alyssa Naeher had her defining moment

Photo Copyright Lewis Gettier for The Equalizer

LYON, France — At every stage of the 2019 World Cup, the questions about Alyssa Naeher have come. Questions about her confidence. Questions about being untested. Questions about the questions.

And for good measure, peppered in every few days, someone asks a question about Hope Solo.

It’s an exhausting exercise, certainly for her teammates and coaches, and even some in the media—especially for how long this narrative has existed, going all the way back to 2017 when head coach Jill Ellis settled in on Naeher as her No. 1 in the net.

Most of the questions aren’t unfair, and some are even deserved. Naeher whiffed on a set piece delivery against Chile that was called offside as the ball was rolling into the United States’ net. Against Spain, in the round of 16, she bungled a clearance which deflected off a Spanish defender, off Naeher’s chest and out for a corner kick.

Forgotten in the criticism, however, has been a diving stop against Sweden, a second half against Spain in which she repeatedly went up in traffic to punch away or catch services in the box, and two second-half saves against France that kept the U.S. in the game.

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