When the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) was eliminated from the World Cup by Sweden, Netherlands forward Lineth Beerensteyn had a blunt reaction: “Yes, bye.” This marked a significant moment in the tournament as the USWNT’s hopes of securing three consecutive World Cup wins were shattered. The team’s exit was confirmed after Lina Hurtig’s penalty shootout goal was initially saved by Alyssa Naeher but was later ruled to have crossed the goal line by millimeters.
This defeat compounded what has been a month to forget for the U.S. It not only marked the first time in their history that they failed to make it to the semifinals but also extended their winless run at the tournament to a record three games. Furthermore, thanks to Zećira Mušović’s outstanding performance, the USWNT endured a scoring drought Down Under that lasted for 238 minutes, the longest in the team’s history on this stage.
The USWNT’s winless streak in the tournament began during the group stage in a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands, who eventually topped the group and advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating South Africa. Despite still having respect for the American team’s achievements, Beerensteyn showed little sympathy for their elimination.
“From the first moment I heard they were out, I was just like, ‘Yes! Bye!'” the Juventus attacker expressed. “From the start of the tournament, they had really big mouths and were already talking about the final. I was thinking you first have to show it on the pitch before you talk [big].”
Beerensteyn’s comments highlight the importance of demonstrating performance rather than making premature claims. Although she acknowledged having respect for the USWNT, their exit from the tournament brought her relief, and she believes it is something they must learn from moving forward.
As the USWNT looks to the future, a period of renewal is expected. Coach Vlatko Andonovski is unlikely to remain in his position, and seasoned players like Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz have already announced their retirements, with others expected to follow suit.
Young talents such as Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman, Alyssa Thompson, Naomi Girma, and Catarina Macario will be at the forefront of this new chapter. Macario, who was unavailable for selection in the World Cup squad due to an ACL injury, holds great promise. However, there is a sense of urgency for the USWNT to ensure they keep up with the rising tide of global women’s football.
Sweden’s Magdalena Eriksson recognized the USWNT’s potential after their elimination, stating, “They proved today, they’re still an amazing team. They’re definitely the toughest team we’ve faced so far in the tournament. They have amazing players. The youngsters really impressed me today. I think both Girma and Smith had an amazing game. So the future is bright.”
Eriksson’s words of praise highlight that the USWNT remains a powerhouse in women’s football, poised to maintain their prominence for years to come.
The USWNT’s unexpected exit from the World Cup left many with mixed feelings. While Beerensteyn expressed her relief, acknowledging the team’s talent, there is no doubt that the U.S. will rise again with a renewed squad and fresh faces leading the charge. The future remains bright for the USWNT, and it’s only a matter of time before they prove their dominance on the pitch once again.