U.S. Women's National Team legend Mia Hamm spoke to Yahoo Sports about the Americans' outlook for this month's tournament in Qatar - including why Christian Pulisic, Matt Turner and Tyler Adams will play a big role in the squad's success.
Mia joined Yahoo Sports on behalf of TIAA to promote the importance of gender equality in retirement. Learn more about how TIAA is working to encourage pay equality in sport by visiting www.retireinequality.com.
MIA HAMM: This World Cup kind of has a different feel just because, you know, a lot of these guys just had games this past weekend. And that just makes it strange because the buildup is so short. And all we've been talking about is making sure guys are healthy. So it'll be interesting this time of year how it goes.
But considering the fact that we didn't qualify four years ago, I think there's just a renewed kind of excitement for US fans and hopeful for what this young group can kind of do in this tournament. And I think that the teams we're playing, with Wales and England, we match up well against. And that gives us an opportunity to move to the second round.
I think we're all focused on Pulisic and to see how he does. You know, he's talked about the disappointment from four years ago, like a lot of players. I just hope he doesn't put too much pressure on himself. You know, he wants to do so well. And he loves representing the USA. And just to really enjoy the tournament, you go out and play hard.
But I think what's key is Tyler Adams and how he and McKennie and holding and securing that defensive midfield is so important. And seeing how disciplined our back four is. Do they get stretched?
Does a Harry Kane kind of-- what does he do to their shape up top? Does he draw more attention from both center backs? Or are they gonna rely on one player just to mark him? You know, I think our defensive organization is gonna be really key.
And how adept and how flexible are we if we're trying to play out of the back, play out of the back, and it's not working? Are we able to kind of shift that style of play and maybe bypass the midfield line and see if we can create more chances?
Whoever's in goal-- you know, Matt Turner is going to be huge. They have to come up with those big stops when we need them. And on the attacking side, you might not see a lot of looks. And you have to be able to put one away.