USA’s Women’s World Cup woes: Three numbers that explain USWNT’s underwhelming run ahead of Sweden game



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The Women’s World Cup rolls on as the round of 16 begins this weekend, with all eyes on Sunday morning when the Americans take on their longtime rival Sweden in the round of 16. I’m Mike Goodman and I’m here to get you caught up with everything you need to know.

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???? Footy Fix

Saturday, Aug. 5

  • Switzerland vs. Spain, 1 a.m. ➡️ FS1
  • Japan vs. Norway, 4 a.m. ➡️ FS1
  • Netherlands vs. South Africa, 10 p.m. ➡️ Fox

⚽ World Cup today: What to know


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While the knockout stage might kick off tomorrow, all eyes are on the round’s marquee matchup scheduled for the wee hours of Sunday morning when the United States women’s national team face Sweden. It’s an unexpected path for the Americans after finishing second in their group, thus handing them a difficult first knockout stage matchup against one of the best teams in the tournament. Let’s take a look at three numbers that help explain why the USWNT have gotten here.

Possession – 51.3%: If there is one basic stat that serves as a massive flashing warning sign for the USWNT, then this is it. In the 32-team field, the Americans are 15th when it comes to possession, barely possessing the ball more than their opponents. This is beyond startling for the pre-tournament favorites in a competition in which the best teams can hold the ball for significantly longer than their opponents. Three teams in the group stage had over 70% possession, four more were between 60% and 70%. Now, it’s important to point out that possession doesn’t necessarily lead to success. In fact, one of the more shocking developments of the group stage is that of those seven high-percentage teams, three (Germany, Brazil, Canada) were eliminated from the tournament. Still, being a mediocre possession side, either unable or unwilling to possess the ball for long stretches is a strange place for the United States to find itself.

Expected goals – 7.8: This is perhaps the most shocking number for folks who have watched the lackluster performances of the United States. Over three games, they’ve created chances that would have been scored on average 7.8 times. Now, an astute observer might notice they have only four goals. Scoring 3.8 less goals than expected is the highest difference in the tournament. It certainly suggests that as sluggish as they might have been in the group stage, the biggest problem was that they simply didn’t finish enough of the chances created. That’s not to say nothing is wrong with this team — the low possession number already indicates concern. It’s to say that with a few better bounces in front of net, it probably wouldn’t have cost them any results.

Shots conceded – 11: The good news for the USWNT is that, despite their attacking struggles, their defense has been by far the best in the tournament. Not only is the 11 shots they’ve conceded the least of any of the 32 teams, so is the one shot on target and the 0.7 xG that opponents have mustered. But even this statistical record is, to put it bluntly, weird. Usually, strong defensive teams that don’t dominate the ball build a defensive record by forcing opponents into taking bad shots, and defensive dominance dictated by suppressing opponents shots is reserved for teams that defend largely by keeping their opponents from having the ball. So the fact that the Americans don’t dominate the ball and also don’t give up shots is something extremely uncommon. What exactly does this mean going forward is unclear, but it sure seems like something’s got to give. 

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Here are some more headlines from the World Cup:

???? Despite the challenging group stage, the USWNT aren’t panicking, writes Pardeep Cattry.
???? Expanding the tournament’s group stage was a success, Cattry writes.
???? The Morning Footy crew looked at what changes they’d like to see ahead of the Sweden match.
???? After the group stage, bookmakers now have England as the favorite to win the tournament.
???? Morning Footy celebrate the underdogs at this year’s World Cup.




Summarize this content to 300 words The Women’s World Cup rolls on as the round of 16 begins this weekend, with all eyes on Sunday morning when the Americans take on their longtime rival Sweden in the round of 16. I’m Mike Goodman and I’m here to get you caught up with everything you need to know.New to the Golazo Starting XI newsletter? Get yourself the best deal in soccer and subscribe now to ensure you receive updates every day during the Women’s World Cup. Please check the opt-in box to acknowledge that you would like to subscribe. Thanks for signing up! Keep an eye on your inbox. Sorry! There was an error processing your subscription. ???? Footy FixSaturday, Aug. 5Switzerland vs. Spain, 1 a.m. ➡️ FS1Japan vs. Norway, 4 a.m. ➡️ FS1Netherlands vs. South Africa, 10 p.m. ➡️ Fox⚽ World Cup today: What to know Getty Images While the knockout stage might kick off tomorrow, all eyes are on the round’s marquee matchup scheduled for the wee hours of Sunday morning when the United States women’s national team face Sweden. It’s an unexpected path for the Americans after finishing second in their group, thus handing them a difficult first knockout stage matchup against one of the best teams in the tournament. Let’s take a look at three numbers that help explain why the USWNT have gotten here.Possession – 51.3%: If there is one basic stat that serves as a massive flashing warning sign for the USWNT, then this is it. In the 32-team field, the Americans are 15th when it comes to possession, barely possessing the ball more than their opponents. This is beyond startling for the pre-tournament favorites in a competition in which the best teams can hold the ball for significantly longer than their opponents. Three teams in the group stage had over 70% possession, four more were between 60% and 70%. Now, it’s important to point out that possession doesn’t necessarily lead to success. In fact, one of the more shocking developments of the group stage is that of those seven high-percentage teams, three (Germany, Brazil, Canada) were eliminated from the tournament. Still, being a mediocre possession side, either unable or unwilling to possess the ball for long stretches is a strange place for the United States to find itself. Expected goals – 7.8: This is perhaps the most shocking number for folks who have watched the lackluster performances of the United States. Over three games, they’ve created chances that would have been scored on average 7.8 times. Now, an astute observer might notice they have only four goals. Scoring 3.8 less goals than expected is the highest difference in the tournament. It certainly suggests that as sluggish as they might have been in the group stage, the biggest problem was that they simply didn’t finish enough of the chances created. That’s not to say nothing is wrong with this team — the low possession number already indicates concern. It’s to say that with a few better bounces in front of net, it probably wouldn’t have cost them any results.Shots conceded – 11: The good news for the USWNT is that, despite their attacking struggles, their defense has been by far the best in the tournament. Not only is the 11 shots they’ve conceded the least of any of the 32 teams, so is the one shot on target and the 0.7 xG that opponents have mustered. But even this statistical record is, to put it bluntly, weird. Usually, strong defensive teams that don’t dominate the ball build a defensive record by forcing opponents into taking bad shots, and defensive dominance dictated by suppressing opponents shots is reserved for teams that defend largely by keeping their opponents from having the ball. So the fact that the Americans don’t dominate the ball and also don’t give up shots is something extremely uncommon. What exactly does this mean going forward is unclear, but it sure seems like something’s got to give. Sponsored by Paramount+ Sponsored by Paramount- ???? Link PlayHere are some more headlines from the World Cup: ???? Despite the challenging group stage, the USWNT aren’t panicking, writes Pardeep Cattry.???? Expanding the tournament’s group stage was a success, Cattry writes.???? The Morning Footy crew looked at what changes they’d like to see ahead of the Sweden match.???? After the group stage, bookmakers now have England as the favorite to win the tournament.???? Morning Footy celebrate the underdogs at this year’s World Cup. 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