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2023 Women's World Cup

Even a nervous Sophia Smith looks unstoppable

Sophia Smith scored a goal and assisted another in her World Cup debut. And that was her playing nervous, something she rarely feels.

Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports

Reporting from Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.

What is there left to say in praise of Sophia Smith? Any astute observer of the National Women’s Soccer League or the United States women’s national team will have nodded along (or perhaps screamed and texted, “I told you so!” to anyone who might listen) during Saturday’s 3-0 U.S. victory over Vietnam.

It took only 14 minutes into Smith’s World Cup debut for her to score, finishing off a beautiful passing combination. Just before halftime, she scored again. None of this was surprising for the 2022 NWSL MVP and the U.S. forward widely considered to be the key to a U.S. threepeat at this World Cup but was necessary.

“I don’t usually get nervous, but I was nervous,” Smith said. “I was nervous before this game.”

“Once we get touches, once we start stringing passes, that’s when we settle down and feel a little more confident.”

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