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USWNT vs. Germany rewind: Looking back at the history of the rivalry

Megan Rapinoe and the USWNT celebrate after beating Germany in the semifinals of the 2015 World Cup. (Lars Baron/FIFA via Getty Images)

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.

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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.

New Washington Spirit Head Coach Jonatan Giráldez Arrivin DC

head coach Jonatan Giráldez
Jonatan Giráldez joins the NWSL from FC Barcelona Femení. (Ramsey Cardy/UEFA via Getty Images)

Five months after announcing that the Washington Spirit had hired Barcelona Femení coach Jonatan Giráldez as the team's new head coach, Giráldez has joined the club in Washington, DC.

Giráldez is coming off of a successful season with the Spanish side, having won UEFA Women's Champions League, Copa de la Reina, Supercopa, and Liga F in his final season to complete a lauded Quadruple.

While Giráldez was finishing out his tenure in Europe, Adrián González filled in as Spirit interim head coach. González has also seen success, leading the team to its third-place standing with a 9-3-1 record through 13 games.

“I’m thrilled to join the Spirit and begin this next chapter with the club,” Giráldez said in an official team statement. “To be part of the vision Michele Kang has for the Spirit and women’s soccer globally is an exciting opportunity.”

Giráldez has worked at Barcelona since 2019, initially coming on as an assistant coach before moving up to head coach in 2021. The team went 30-0-0 on the season under Giráldez during his first year as manager.

He brings along with him Andrés González and Toni Gordo, who will serve as the Spirit's Fitness Coach and Club Analyst, respectively.

US Track & Field Olympic Trials Touch Down in Oregon

Sha’Carri Richardson competes in the women’s 200-meter preliminary round during the USATF Outdoor Championships
Sha’Carri Richardson will have some competition this week as athletes vie for an Olympic berth. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The US Olympic Track & Field Trials begin on June 21st, kicking off a 10-day quest to determine who will represent the US in Paris this summer.

The crucial meet will take place in Eugene, Oregon, where the top three finishers in each event will punch their ticket to the 2024 Olympics. As with this past week's US Swimming Trials, even the most decorated athletes must work to earn their spot — and one bad performance could undermine four years of preparation.

Reigning 100-meter World Champion Sha'Carri Richardson headlines this year's field, as the 24-year-old looks to qualify for her second Olympic Games and compete in her first. Richardson is a world champion in both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprint, but missed the Tokyo Olympics due to testing positive for THC shortly after the last US Olympic Trials.

Other standouts include 400-meter Olympic gold medal-winning hurdler Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, who's currently the most decorated athlete in the active women's US Track & Field pool. McLaughlin-Levrone qualified to run in the 200-meter and 400-meter flat races alongside the 400-meter hurdles at the Olympic Trials, but opted to focus solely on her signature event.

800-meter specialist Athing Mu will also be a huge draw this week, as the Olympic gold medalist looks to shake off a lingering hamstring injury while pursuing her second Summer Games. Gold medal-winning pole vaulter Katie Moon will also attempt to qualify for her second-straight Olympic Games.

Ole Miss star McKenzie Long could be Richardson's greatest competition in the 100-meter and 200-meter events, as well as Richardson's Worlds teammate Gabby Thomas in the 200-meter. In field events, watch for Oregon senior Jaida Ross going head-to-head with reigning world champion Chase Jackson in the shot put, as both push for their first Olympic team berth.

Regardless of why you tune in, the US Olympic Trials are a perpetually thrilling and sometimes brutal qualification process. If you're able to make your way to the head of the pack, a shot at Olympic glory might just be waiting at the finish line.

Fans can catch live coverage throughout the Trials via NBC, USA, and Peacock.

Top Teams Square Off in NWSL Weekend Slate

NWSL Orlando Pride forward Barbra Banda
Orlando Pride, led by forward Barbra Banda, will take on Utah in this weekend's NWSL action. (Nicholas Faulkner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

As the NWSL season continues, a few top-performing clubs will have a chance to boost their standings this weekend.

First-place Kansas City will travel to Providence Park to take on fifth-place Portland, as the Current look to keep their unbeaten streak intact. And in New Jersey, third-place Washington will take on fourth-place Gotham FC, with both teams attempting to extend multi-game unbeaten streaks.

A six-point gap has opened between the fifth and sixth spot on the NWSL table — with just six points also separating the league's top five. Kansas City, Orlando, Washington, Gotham, and Portland have recently proven themselves to be a cut above the rest of the competition. With eight postseason spots up for grabs and half the season behind us, a pattern is forming that indicates the playoff race could come down to spots six through eight on the NWSL table.

Of those top five teams, only Orlando faces an opponent in the bottom half of the league this weekend: The Pride will take on 14th-place Utah, who nonetheless are coming off a win — just their second of the season — over Bay FC last weekend.

But despite Kansas City and Orlando having yet to lose a game, Gotham might be the squad coming into the weekend with the most momentum.

Clutch goals from Rose Lavelle and rookie Maycee Bell gave the Bats a 2-0 midweek win over San Diego on Wednesday, in a rematch of the 2024 Challenge Cup. Gotham's unbeaten streak dates all the way back to April, as rising availability and sharpened form have honed this year's superteam into a contender.

Bottom line? As the NWSL season passes the halfway mark, some matches might begin to feel more like playoff previews than mere regular season battles.

Chelsea Gray Returns From Injury in Aces Win Over Seattle

las vegas aces chelsea gray and kelsey plum celebrate a win over the seattle storm
Gray has been sidelined with a foot injury since the 2023 WNBA Finals. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Chelsea Gray made her return to the basketball court on Wednesday, helping the Aces to a 94-83 win over the Seattle Storm. 

The lauded point guard missed the first 12 games of the season, having been injured in last year’s WNBA Finals. The left foot injury caused her to miss Game 4 of the championship series, and she’s continued to rehab it through the beginning of the 2024 season. 

Her return on Wednesday was capitalized by the fact that she needed just 20 seconds to make an impact and record her first assist. While she finished with just one point, she had seven assists, four rebounds, and two blocks to go alongside it in 15:30 minutes. Gray's contributions on the night brought her career assist record up to 1,500.

"I probably went through every emotion leading up to today," Gray said after the game. "I was a little anxious all day. It's been a long time since I've been out on that court. But the fans were amazing from the time I came out to warm up to the time I checked in the game. It was a rush and a feeling I missed a lot."

It’s been a roller coaster of a season so far for Las Vegas, who have lost five of their last seven games. Gray, who averaged 15.3 points, 7.3 assists, and 4.0 rebounds in 2023, has proven herself a much-needed addition to the team’s lineup.

"Felt like my heart," Aces coach Becky Hammon said when asked how she felt hearing the crowd erupt for Gray's return. "She's the leader of our team. I thought she did a wonderful job too."

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