The U.S. women’s national team remains the favorite to win the 2023 Women’s World Cup, and the field looks as wide open as ever after a wild international window.

While the USWNT looked shaky in its two wins against Ireland, several of its competitors did not fair any better.

England fell 2-0 to World Cup co-host Australia, snapping its 30-match unbeaten streak, while Germany lost to Brazil for the first time since the 2008 Olympics. Sweden tied with long shot Norway, and France bested Olympic gold medal-winner Canada.

After the break, the USWNT leads all odds at +275 to win its third straight World Cup, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

England follows with +350 odds. That represents a slight change from January, when both England and the USWNT were tied with odds of +300 to win the World Cup trophy. At that time, Spain stood in third with +600 odds, while France and Germany tied for fourth at +700.

Spain and Germany now are tied for third at +650, while France is fourth at +750.

Sweden’s odds have slipped to +1400, while Australia remains at +1400 and is now tied for fifth. The Netherlands (+1600), Canada (+2500) and Brazil (+2500) also remain the same.

The international window represented the last chance to see national teams in action before World Cup rosters are finalized. The USWNT next takes the pitch at 4 p.m. ET Sunday, July 9, in San Jose, California, for a World Cup send-off match against Wales.

The U.S. women’s national team was staring down a possible four-game losing streak when they faced Germany on Sunday for the second time in four days. With second-half goals from Sophia Smith and Mallory Pugh, the USWNT won 2-1, snapping their first three-game losing streak since 1993 and salvaging a historically bad skid.

A game-winning goal from Pugh was nothing new, but the reason the team was able to build up to that goal in the first place certainly was.

Under head coach Vlatko Andonovski, the U.S. has implemented a 4-3-3 formation in which Andi Sullivan plays as the lone six and Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle push higher up in the midfield. The structure has left the USWNT vulnerable to breakdowns in defending and controlling the play while they await the return of Julie Ertz, the team’s longtime staple at holding midfield.

On Sunday, however, Horan dropped lower into the midfield in the second half, allowing Sullivan to be more involved in the play and try for more tackles.

“At that point, we started taking the game over,” head coach Vlatko Andonovski said of the change.

Pugh’s goal was a direct result of that adjustment. A minute after Smith scored in the 54th minute, Sullivan controlled the ball in the midfield while Horan covered the space to her left. Sullivan then sent a long ball to the top of Germany’s 18-yard box, where Pugh ran onto it, blasted by two players and put the U.S. up 2-1.

The play before that, Sullivan had missed a tackle and Pugh didn’t hesitate to let her know.

“That woke me up, and I was like, ‘I need to do better, I need to make the tackle,’” Sullivan said.

The team had talked at halftime about needing to force more turnovers as a unit.

“I think we did a good job at looking at each other and demanding more from each other,” Sullivan added.

The USWNT came alive in the second half, and the midfield began to play more consistently than it had in recent losses to England, Spain and Germany on Thursday.

Despite a head-on collision in the 21st minute that kept Sullivan down for nearly four minutes and resulted in a bloody nose, the 26-year-old served as the defensive anchor through all 83 minutes she played.

“I think what’s been building for us is a little bit more fluidity and being able to rotate and me feeling more confident in stepping out, whether that’s to get on the ball, or defensively trusting that they’re going to fill in behind me, or vice versa,” Sullivan said. “I think we have a really good relationship.”

Andonovski wouldn’t say whether he would experiment with playing two midfielders defensively in future games, but he recognized the immediate return they saw from the change.

“Obviously we are going to do our analysis and see why that worked and what was the response on the opponent,” the coach said.

The USWNT won’t return to the field until January, when they travel to New Zealand for a pair of friendlies and expect several reinforcements to work their way back into the lineup.

Jessa Braun is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering the NWSL and USWNT. Follow her on Twitter @jessabraun.

U.S. women’s national team coach Vlatko Andonovski once again criticized the refereeing his team saw in its friendlies against Germany.

After first taking issue with the officiating in Thursday’s loss, the head coach complained about a no-call from the Sunday’s 2-1 win against Germany.

Germany goalkeeper Almuth Schult collided with USWNT midfielder Taylor Kornieck late in the match, but the official declined to call a foul. In Andonovski’s view, Schult deserved “a clear red card.”

“On the collision, for me it’s a clear red card,” Andonovski said. “We saw the referee made a lot of mistakes in the last game, which in this game, I thought there was one very obvious mistake that they made and should have sanctioned it.”

Andonovski was vocal after the team’s loss to Germany about the impact of the officiating, saying the referees “took some things away from us.” He also noted that he thought that the game “was a little bit too much for them.”

On Sunday, Andonovski said the issues with the officiating are part of the learning process in the lead-up to next summer’s World Cup.

“We understand that, sometimes we’re going to have to deal with bad calls,” he said. “And it’s part of the preparation process, how we have to be mentally strong to deal with adversity.”

The U.S. women’s national team avoided catastrophe Sunday with a 2-1 comeback win against Germany in the second of two friendlies between the squads.

A defeat Sunday would have secured the USWNT its first-ever four-game losing streak. The team avoided that fate by responding to Thursday’s loss in resounding fashion to close out 2022.

The USWNT was outplayed in the first half at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., with Germany’s Jule Brand notching the game’s first goal to put her team ahead 1-0 in the 18th minute.

But the second half brought new life for the home team. Sophia Smith scored first for the United States, capping off what has been a career year for the forward.

The goal was her team-leading 11th of the year for the USWNT and the 12th of her international career. The 22-year-old forward also had 14 goals for the Portland Thorns during the NWSL season.

Less than a minute after Smith put the USWNT on the scoreboard, Mallory Pugh found the back of the net to put the team in the lead.

Each goal marked a major milestone for the scorer.

With her goal, Smith became just the second player to record 11 or more goals both internationally and in the NWSL in the same calendar year.

Pugh, meanwhile, became just the sixth player in USWNT history to record more than 25 goals and 25 assists (she has 27) before the age of 25. The 24-year-old forward joins current teammate Alex Morgan on the list, as well as Cindy Parlow Cone, Mia Hamm, Tiffeny Milbrett and Kristine Lilly.

The victory closes out the 2022 schedule for the USWNT and marks the team’s first since a Sept. 6 win against Nigeria.

For a moment, it looked like it might be a vintage U.S. women’s national team result.

A cross from Alex Morgan. Megan Rapinoe streaking to the net. A well-placed shot. A goal. A celebration.

After going down 1-0 to Germany, the United States tied things up with a goal from one veteran to another. Morgan and Rapinoe: two names soccer fans have become accustomed to hearing.

Something they aren’t accustomed to? The collapse that happened four minutes after Rapinoe tied things up.

The goal at the 84th minute seemed enough for the U.S. to end the contest with a tie and prevent a three-game losing streak — something the team hadn’t experienced since 1993.

Instead, at the 89-minute mark, it was Germany that celebrated. And when the final whistle blew, the Americans had broken a streak they never wanted to see in the first place. On Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Germany came away with a 2-1 victory, and the USWNT left with a lot of unanswered questions.

Here’s one of those questions: What happened?

A foul at midfield led to a quick free kick from Germany. It sailed to the feet of Jule Brand, who took a touch that forced goaltender Casey Murphy to challenge. When Murphy dove, it left a wide-open goal and no U.S. defenders to back her up. Germany’s Paulina Krumbiegel then tapped it home for the game-winning goal at the 89th minute.

It was a dramatic moment that pointed to a larger, more concerning trend. In the toughest moments on Thursday, the USWNT lacked poise and composure. A USWNT that can’t seem to handle the pressure isn’t a concept the soccer world has encountered for many, many years.

And the pressure is about to build, as the team plays Germany again on Sunday in the final friendly on the 2022 calendar. After losing an unprecedented three in a row, that game has the feel of a must-win.

But coach Vlatko Andonovski, in his comments after the game, didn’t seem to see a lack of poise or an inability to finish in key moments from his team. Instead, he chalked it up to bad luck.

“We didn’t see the final touch. That is what we were missing,” he said. “Even though I do want to say that we were a little bit unlucky a couple of times. I think Lindsey (Horan) hit the crossbar, hit the post. So that was positive, but not quite good enough to make a difference.”

Horan did have two shots narrowly miss after connecting with metal instead of net. And she wasn’t the only one whose quality opportunities came up short. The United States had 18 shots but finished with just one goal.

Andonovski also cited the officiating as a factor that worked against his team Thursday. Germany was assessed 13 fouls in the game, while the U.S. was whistled for seven, and there were no yellow or red cards handed out.

“I think the referees took some things away from us,” he said. “I don’t want to comment a lot on it, but I feel like the game was a little bit too much for them.”

The USWNT had eight corner kicks in the game, but they were unable to capitalize on the opportunities.

Despite the three-game slide, the multiple goals given up in each contest and just two scores in the last three games, Andonovski isn’t worried. He’d like to see more goals, he admits, but the coach remained positive following Thursday’s defeat.

“I don’t want to say I’m concerned, because I’m not,” he said. “I trust these players. I believe that these players are capable of scoring goals … I’m not concerned, but I for sure wanted to score more goals.”

In the last month, the USWNT has lost to top-ranked European clubs England, Spain and Germany. They dropped a home contest for the first time in over five years. And in the big moments, like the final minutes of Thursday’s match, they faded away, failing to capitalize when they needed to.

These matches are friendlies, yes. But given the current set of circumstances and the mounting pressure, Sunday’s game against Germany is about to be a lot less friendly, and a lot more of a must-win.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

The U.S. women’s national team had been knocking on the door of a goal in Thursday night’s 2-1 loss against Germany at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Scratch that: Lindsey Horan was knocking on the goal frame, repeatedly. The 28-year-old midfielder banged a shot off the crossbar late in the first half, then slammed a ball into the post with a bicycle kick early in the second.

Both of Horan’s chances ricocheted away from the net. The second turned into a counterattack for Germany, which then turned into their own shot off the post. The visiting team, though, proved luckier than Horan.

German forward Klara Bühl’s shot knocked off the left post, then off the back of U.S. goalkeeper Casey Murphy and into the net to give the visitors the lead and the momentum, which they carried to a victory.

Murphy, despite being credited with an own goal, made several key saves playing in place of regular starter Alyssa Naeher.

Among position players, Rose Lavelle provided a bright spot. The midfielder helped the team control the pace in the first have and nutmegged a defender to set up Horan’s first close call off the crossbar.

Yet while the U.S. looked strong at times, particularly in the middle of the field, they struggled on set plays and in transition, which doomed them in the final minutes.

The USWNT tied the score in the 85th minute, as Alex Morgan fed the ball to a wide open Megan Rapinoe, who snapped it into the goal. But Germany responded three minutes later, turning a transition opportunity into a goal from Paulina Krumbiegel to take the win.

The loss marks the third in a row for the USWNT, which fell in back-to-back games against England and Spain in October. The team previously had not lost three consecutive games since 1993, when it lost to Norway and then twice in a row to Germany.

Since its founding in 1985, the USWNT never has lost four matches in a row, though the team did kick off its existence with a four-match winless streak (three losses and a tie). The squad will look to avoid that ignominious first when it faces Germany again at 5 p.m. ET Sunday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

The U.S. women’s national team will face Germany in two matches in four days, starting Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

German coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, though, was not sold on the merits of the international trip for her team.

Speaking after her team’s Oct. 7 friendly against France, the coach cited the stress of travel and the wear on players’ bodies as concerns, per German Women’s Football. All but one of the 26 players on Germany’s roster for the two friendlies play in European leagues, which are in the middle of their seasons, as opposed to the U.S.-based NWSL, which ended its season on Oct. 29.

A native of Germany, Voss-Tecklenburg has coached her home country’s national team since 2019 after a six-year stint with the Switzerland national team. She led Germany to a runner-up finish at the Euros this summer.

Germany holds the No. 3 spot in the FIFA world ranking, behind the United States at No. 1 and Sweden at No. 2.

While Voss-Tecklenburg said her team is excited to face the USWNT, she wants to “do everything to ensure that our players stay healthy,” per a translation from German Women’s Football.

The German team agreed to the matches because of a contractual obligation with the U.S. squad, Voss-Tecklenburg said.

Both sides engaged in talks, and the coach “wouldn’t have have minded” an alternate arrangement — just one game, or two games with more time between them, she said. But they ended up with the two-game trip to the United States.

“We’ll now try to make the best of it,” said the coach, according to the translation from German Women’s Football.

Florida is under a hurricane watch as Tropical Storm Nicole approaches, but U.S. women’s national team coach Vlatko Andonovski doesn’t expect the weather conditions to affect his team’s friendly with Germany.

The match is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET Thursday at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, which is under a hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning through early Thursday morning.

The USWNT released a statement Wednesday via Twitter addressing the possible impact of inclement weather on the match.

“The safety of the players, staff and fans is always of paramount importance,” the statement reads. “U.S. Soccer has been monitoring the situation for several days and the current weather forecast indicates that the USWNT vs. Germany match in Fort Lauderdale will be able to proceed as planned on Thursday night.”

The statement also said U.S. Soccer, Inter Miami CF and local authorities will be monitoring the forecast on an hourly basis.

Andonovski echoed the statement and added that, despite heavy rain, his team’s training session Wednesday morning went well.

“We were able to get the training in, and I thought we made the most of it,” he said. “I’m very happy with the way training went, and the preparation went.

“The weather did not quite cooperate with us as much as we wanted, but we did have great training. Everybody is in the right mindset.”

That mindset is important for the squad, which is coming off back-to-back friendly losses at the hands of England and a depleted Spanish National Team. The European trip marked the first time the team was defeated in two consecutive matches since 2017.

The USWNT will play two friendlies with Germany, the first coming Thursday in Florida and the second at 5 p.m. ET Sunday at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.

The U.S. women’s national team will end its year with two friendlies against Germany, the first on Thursday and the second on Sunday.

Thursday will mark the first time the two teams have played since 2018, and the first time they’ve played in a friendly since April 2013, a match that ended in a 3-3 tie.

In total, the teams have met 33 times, the most for the United States against any European team other than Norway (50) and Sweden (42). The USWNT holds a 22-4-7 advantage (W-L-D), including a victory in the 2015 World Cup semifinals and in the 1999 World Cup quarterfinals.

Germany is fresh off a runner-up finish at the 2022 UEFA Women’s Euros this summer, while the USWNT won the Concacaf W Championship weeks earlier. But the U.S. is coming off consecutive losses to England and Spain in October.

“Playing Germany in the final matches of the year will be ideal for our World Cup preparations for all of our players and coaching staff, but it’s also fantastic for all the fans,” USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “USA-Germany is always one of the most entertaining match-ups in women’s international soccer and it’s a rivalry that has some wonderful history as well.”

Ahead of Thursday’s match, Just Women’s Sports hit the rewind button. Take look back at three key matches in the history of the rivalry — going back to the USWNT’s most recent loss to Germany in 2003.

March 1, 2018 – SheBelieves Cup
USA 1 – Germany 0

The USWNT opened up its 2018 SheBelieves Cup championship run with a 1-0 win over Germany. It marked the third year in a row that the U.S. beat Germany in the tournament, including a gold-medal win over Germany in 2016, but the teams have not played since then.

Megan Rapinoe scored the game’s lone goal – the 35th of her career at the time – and was assisted by Alex Morgan. Fittingly, the two players will feature once again for the USWNT on Thursday.

June 30, 2015 – World Cup semifinal
USA 2 – Germany 0

The 2015 Women’s World Cup featured Germany as the top-ranked team in the world, but USWNT pulled out the upset win in the semifinal round.

Carli Lloyd and Kelley O’Hara each scored, and Hope Solo set the record for the longest shutout streak in U.S. World Cup history. Her 10th clean sheet also set the FIFA Women’s World Cup record.

But the game wasn’t without controversy, as Lloyd’s goal came on a penalty kick after a questionable call outside the box. O’Hara, though, provided a second goal to quiet the complaints and send her team to the final.

The USWNT would go on to win its third title, defeating Japan 5-2 in the final after Lloyd recorded her historic hat trick. Lloyd was named the tournament’s best player, tying for top scorer with Germany’s Célia Šašić at six goals apiece.

Carli Lloyd (right) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Germany at the 2015 World Cup. (Michael Chow/USA TODAY Sports)

Oct. 5, 2003: World Cup semifinal
USA 0 – Germany 3

Germany got the best of the USWNT in the World Cup semifinal in 2003 — and got revenge for its loss to the USWNT in the 1999 World Cup tournament.

German players gave credit in part to the eight-team WUSA, as the professional league gave them the opportunity to play with and against some of the best U.S. players outside of international competitions.

“This time, we knew we could play against them,” three-time FIFA World Player of the Year and all-time leading scorer Birgit Prinz told reporters after the game. “We knew that they are not better than us.”

In the 16th minute, Kerstin Garefrekes struck first. Two more stoppage time goals were added later as German goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg recorded the clean sheet.

Germany would go on to win the World Cup, defeating Sweden 2-1, and Prinz would be named Player of the Tournament after scoring a tournament-high seven goals.

Since that World Cup defeat, the USWNT hasn’t lost to Germany, going 10-0-5 in the last 19 years. (Full disclosure: That does include one regulation tie but shootout loss to Germany at the 2006 Algarve Cup, but the USWNT still has had the clear upper hand.)

The USWNT will face Germany at 7 p.m. ET Thursday at DRV Pink Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and at 5 p.m. ET Sunday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. Thursday’s game will air on Fox Sports 1, and Sunday’s game will air on ESPN.

The U.S. women’s national team will face off against Germany in its final matches of 2022, the team announced Tuesday.

The USWNT, which holds the top spot in the FIFA world rankings, will host Germany, the second-ranked team, for a pair of friendlies: on Nov. 10 at DRV Pink Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and on Nov. 13 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

The announcement of the matches comes one day after the team announced a friendly against Spain to finish a two-match European swing in October.

“Playing Germany in the final matches of the year will be ideal for our World Cup preparations for all of our players and coaching staff, but it’s also fantastic for all the fans,” coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “USA-Germany is always one of the most entertaining matchups in women’s international soccer and it’s a rivalry that has some wonderful history as well.”

The opening clash of the top two teams in the world will mark their first meeting since the 2018 SheBelieves Cup. The USWNT won that game 1-0 in Columbus, Ohio.

The USWNT is fresh off a Concacaf W Championship win this summer, while Germany finished as the runner-up to England in the European Championship.

Germany qualified for the 2023 World Cup with a 3-0 win over Turkey in October, which put them in the top spot in Group H in UEFA qualifying. In qualifying competition, Germany scored 47 goals while allowing just five.

For USWNT, a set of matches against Germany following after two top-10 matchups in October should help the team ramp up for next year’s World Cup. Andonovski has hammered home the need for preparation, noting during the Concacaf tournament that the team was not ready for the World Cup — but would be.

“We are not coaching with an eye toward the next game, we’re actually coaching with an eye toward the World Cup,” Andonovski said. “Everything we do now is a preparation for the World Cup.”