USWNT wants to continue dominant history at World Cup

Hope Solo Alyssa Naeher

Enlarge Image Hope Solo Alyssa Naeher Getty Images

"For me, personally, I feel over the past five years I've made a lot of important decisions and I have processes to make those decisions, and I own those processes".

While bookmakers are backing the U.S.to defend its title, the main topic of discourse in front of the opening fixture on Tuesday was a former player-Hope Solo. Solo, who is working as a World Cup commentator for the BBC, told the British network that Ellis "cracks under pressure quite a bit" and often refused to let her players review video of their defensive mistakes because she was anxious it would damage their confidence.

Solo, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, has been outspoken about her time on the national time. "She relies heavily on her assistant coaches".

"Back in 2015 I said that that would be the hardest World Cup to win because obviously the number of teams entering grew", Ellis said. That means of the seven World Cup tournaments the USA has competed in, the team has finished in the top three each time.

Solo, so often a distraction during her time with the team, proved she can still fill that role admirably away from the group this week, making incendiary comments about Ellis during her role as a pundit for the BBC.

Solo made 202 appearances with the national team with 153 wins and an international-record 102 shutouts. Solo played under Ellis and was in goal for the 2015 World Cup in Canada. The goalkeeper was suspended for six months by U.S. Soccer following the 2016 Olympics after calling Sweden "a bunch of cowards" following a quarterfinal in which the opponent used a defensive approach to earn a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes and then advance to the semifinals in a penalty shootout.

They go into this year's World Cup as favourites and the number-one ranked team. There was also an off-field altercation with family members in 2014, although charges in that case were dismissed. Asked Sunday about the BBC interview, Naeher said she hadn't heard the comments.

"I mean, comments are comments", Ellis told USA Today.

"The first two games I could see her scoring several goals just because of the quality of the opposition and that could be a really great way for her to start off with a lot of confidence", said Wahl. "I am very private about the good times and the bad times of things that happened throughout national team".

It's something US national teams have done in the past, with veteran players teaching the newcomers how to eliminate distractions.

"Jill is not the leader I wish her to be", she said.

"We've basically created a bubble for ourselves", midfielder Julie Ertz said.

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