Beyond World Cup, US Team Hopes for Greater Support for Women's Game

Sweden's Kosovare Asllani center and Chile's Karen Araya right challenge for the ball during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between Chile and Sweden at the Roazhon Park in Rennes France Tuesday

With the 2019 FIFA World Cup in full swing, the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team begins its quest to defend its 2015 win.

A large American presence in Reims ensured that the match was one of 13 confirmed sell-outs in the competition, Federation Internationale de Football Association revealed on Tuesday as they said that more than a million tickets had now been sold for the tournament.

"Of course we have additional things outside this team that people are going to try to distract us with, or things that we have put on hold that we'll continue to do after the World Cup but for right now this is our sole focus", USA forward Alex Morgan said at a press conference on Monday.

The U.S. team brings a squad replete with talent and experience, but it also must shoulder sky-high expectations.

This year, however, the spotlight is on as France hosts the women's World Cup.

"I'm very relieved, of course", said the Dutch coach, Sarina Wiegman, after her team dominated proceedings but were nearly forced to settle for a point. "I think we feel prepared".

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Substitute Madelen Janogy then ran through and smashed in the second goal in injury time to wrap up the win for the Swedes, the 2003 World Cup runners-up and beaten Olympic finalists in 2016. Though it was nearly three years ago, there is a history between the two teams. That would be an increase of over 30 percent from the 2015 women's World Cup, held in Canada. Lloyd, who had a hat trick against Japan in the 2015 final, will be called off the bench at clutch moments as she plays in her fourth World Cup.

Sweden got their campaign off to a winning start with a 2-0 win over Chile.

The Thai squad has two US -born members who have played for American colleges: Goalkeeper Tiffany Sornpao plays at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, and forward Miranda Nild played at UC Berkeley - Morgan's alma mater.

"For right now we really haven't talked about any of our opponents other than Thailand", Morgan said.

It remains to be seen how friendly that fire will seem when the US team takes the pitch Tuesday, ready to show the world all that it can do.

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