Women’s World Cup: USA Captain Abby Wambach Says 2011 Final Loss To Japan Still Stings
USA Women’s team captain and taliswoman Abby Wambach has admitted that losing the 2011 World Cup final to Japan still haunts her to this very day.
“I have my silver medal in my closet and I see it very often. It’s a reminder of what I didn’t get,” Wambach, 34, said in an interview published on FIFA.com.
And with the second women’s edition taking place in Canada this year, the USA women’s team are shaping themselves up to seek revenge – and win the tournament.
“We absolutely have what it takes, but it’s going to be the hardest World Cup ever. There are more teams, more games and longer travel. Canada is a huge country. It’s going to be difficult, no matter what team you are, whether you’re number one in the world or the tenth-placed team in the world. To win a championship you have to have a little bit of luck on your side.”
Meanwhile, Wambach has also singled out three players to look out for in the summer tournament. “We have a lot of great up-and-coming players like Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux or Christen Press,” she said. “I’m very focused on our forward line. I’m the older player, kind of the mother, so to speak. I’m trying to get them all as confident as possible.”
Although the USA side will be facing off against Sweden in Group D, whose coach is none other than Pia Sundhage, Wambach insisted that all emotions will be left aside. Other opponents include Nigeria and Australia.
“It’s going to be a normal game actually. We try to normalise it as much as possible. Pia knows all of us players inside-out and backwards. But our system, our coaching and the way we’re going to play is different. And Pia has a team she’s going to be worrying about, so she won’t worry about us too much. She doesn’t need anybody to scout us – she knows us as personalities on the field. It’s always really fun. If you beat a team Pia is coaching you’ve done a good job. She’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had and I respect her. But in that specific game, I hope we beat her.”
Wambach admitted that 2014 was a tough year for her as she had injured her knee and it dealt a blow to her confidence. She was unsure if she would ever get back to her best.
“2014 was physically a tough year because I injured my knee, and you know how that goes with your emotions and the mentality. You ask yourself: will I ever be back playing as well as I used to? Right now I feel 100 per cent fit, healthy and excited. To win a World Cup we all have to sacrifice everything possible so we end up one day standing on top of that podium.”