By Ryan Rosenblatt / VOAO
The Women’s World Cup has been played eight times.
The United States has been in the final five times.
The semifinal round of the tournament has featured the U.S. in every single tournament.
And if the Americans can beat the Netherlands on Sunday, they will be champions of exactly half of the Women’s World Cups ever played.
It’s easy to think about just *this* World Cup (when 13-0 feels like a lifetime ago), the celebration controversies (imagine being a person who got mad about other people’s harmless fun), who will win the Golden Boot (Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe both have chances to take it) or any number of things, but it’s worth taking a step back and looking at what the U.S. has a chance to do in the entire context of the national team, and world soccer.
Never before, in the men’s or women’s international game, has a country been as dominant as the U.S. Only three men’s teams have won at least four World Cups, and that’s a history that goes back to 1932 – not 1991 like the women. And Brazil, the quickest to four world championships, needed 36 years to do it.
The U.S. have a chance to double up the rest of the women’s soccer world, winning as many World Cups as the rest of the globe combined and two times as many as the next closest nation – Germany. And they are the only other country with multiple titles.
The #TourDeFour, the quest for the fourth star, it is often viewed as just another title. Another star. Another trophy. Four more years to claim global superiority. But it isn’t just another – it is the fourth, and it comes with the other three.
A legacy that goes back to Carin Jennings, the first-ever Best Player at a Women’s World Cup, to the iconic 99ers, the women who reigned supreme in Canada and now some holdovers of that squad with a handful of the brightest young talents in the world pushing the team to new heights at a time when the sport is better than ever. Interspersed in there is four Olympic golds and also plenty of heartbreak – from Norway in 1995, to the humiliation in China in 2007, to Sweden giving the U.S. an uppercut to the jaw just three years ago.
As the Americans step onto the field in Lyon on Sunday, they will be chasing a singular World Cup title. A chance to write this team, these players, this run into history. But they will also be a part of U.S. women’s national team history – one with a chance to leave no doubt that they are the greatest international soccer team the sport of soccer has ever seen.