LONDON: United States coach Pia Sundhage insists her team’s Olympic final victory over Japan in the women’s football event is only the start of a golden era for the Americans which will peak with success at the 2015 World Cup.
Sundhage’s side avenged last year’s World Cup final defeat against Japan with a 2-1 win in the Olympic final at Wembley as two goals from Carli Lloyd and a superb display from US goal-keeper Hope Solo kept the Asians at bay.
It was a sweet moment for Sundhage’s players, who had been so devastated by their failure to win the World Cup for the first time since 1999.
But while many teams would see a gold medal as the defining moment of their careers, Swedish-born coach Sundhage is convinced the emergence of several talented youngsters suggests the best is yet to come.
“In 2015 there is a World Cup in Canada and I think the US could be unstoppable,” said Sundhage.
“We have young players like Tobin Heath who have come in and showed great composure and skill during this tournament. We always said the US had a great attitude and competed really well, but if you had technique it is very exciting when you look ahead to 2015.”
“A lot of credit goes to Japan. Our game-plan was to keep the ball away from them but that didn’t work and Japan were too good for us in possession until we changed.”
Not only did Sundhage’s squad bring home the gold yet again, they also earned a $1.5 million team bonus from the US Olympic Committee.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2012.