Vlatko Andonovski’s U.S. women’s national team defeated Spain 1-0 in a cracker of a match on Sunday afternoon, setting themselves up as the heavy favorites to finish the 2020 SheBelieves Cup at the top of the group. The match had quite a bit of end-to-end action, with good things to absorb from both teams. Here are three takeaways:
Whole new world, same old story
It feels safe to say that the tenor of this particular clash with Spain felt different than all other iterations of the two teams playing each other. With no other countries quite reaching the heights of challenging the World Champions (as exemplified in England’s struggles on Thursday), Spain has risen to the occasion with more consistency. They arguably presented the USWNT with their greatest test in the 2019 World Cup, and on Sunday afternoon they went toe to toe with the hosts, making deft passing plays through the midfield and disrupting the American press.
But Spain couldn’t capitalize on their exceptional work on the ball, and were never able to come up with enough quality shots to find a breakthrough to put themselves ahead. This has been a criticism of Spain for a number of years now, that they can pass rings around other teams but struggle to come up with the necessary results to put them in the top tier.
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