The USA clinched the 16th and final spot in next year’s Women’s World Cup by beating Italy for the second time in a week.
A less than impressive 1-0 win gave the USA a 2-0 aggregate victory over their Italian counterparts.
“We have to stay together and put it together a little bit better,” U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said. “Winning the gold medal, we’ll have to play very, very well because it’ll be very competitive.”
The World Cup will be played June 26 to July 17 in Germany. The draw is Monday in Frankfurt.
Carrying a 1-0 aggregate lead after last weekend’s victory in Padova, Italy, and needing only a win or a draw to advance, the Americans looked nervous in the first 20 minutes.
“First of all, I want to apologize for the first 20 minutes. It was crap,” Sundhage said. “The second half, we did a better job. I’m very happy with the way they played. Eventually.”
“Their expectations were very high with the way we were going to play but we couldn’t put it together. Then we got nervous,” Sundhage added. “We made some bad decisions, technical errors I’ve never seen before from experienced players. But the beauty of all this is, we won the game 1-0 and they picked it up again. It’s winners that can do that. I’m very proud of the team the way they did it.”