Three questions USWNT needs to answer after winning 4th title

With Sunday's 2-0 win over the Netherlands, the U.S. set a record for the most World Cup titles won by a nation. To put that in perspective, Germany is the only other country to have earned more than one win. 

The U.S. earned its spot in the finals with a dominant 2-1 win over England to face the Netherlands.    -  Getty Images

The Americans keep making history. 

With Sunday's 2-0 win over the Netherlands, the U.S. set a record for the most World Cup titles won by a nation. To put that in perspective, Germany is the only other country to have earned more than one win. 

The U.S. made it through the group stage easily with a convincing 13-0 win over Thailand, then secured a 3-0 victory over Chile before earning a 2-0 win against Sweden. It faced Spain in the round of 16 — which gave USA a bit of a scare — before taking on France in a highly-anticipated quarterfinal match. The national team earned its spot in the finals with a dominant 2-1 win over England to face the Netherlands. 

With another title behind them, it's time to look at what's next for the national team. 

THREE QUESTIONS THE USWNT WILL NEED TO ANSWER:

WHO WILL REPLACE CARLI LLOYD?

We may have seen the last of Carli Lloyd after the 2019 Women's World Cup. The veteran indicated before the tournament started that it would likely be the last time she plays for the USWNT. At 36 years old, Lloyd became one of the most decorated players in U.S. Soccer history, with France marking her fourth World Cup. She's made 281 caps and scored 113 goals during her 14 years on the national team.

READ: Women's World Cup: Megan Rapinoe wins Golden Boot, Golden Ball

Her impact on the game ⁠— whether she's a starter or a super-sub coming off the bench ⁠— simply is undeniable. But just as any legacy comes to an end, younger players have to step up and fill the void. 

Will it be Alex Morgan, who has shown promise? Samantha Mewis, who flourished into her role in France? Tierna Davidson, who is young but powerful?

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At 36 years old, Carli Lloyd became one of the most decorated players in U.S. Soccer history, with France marking her fourth World Cup.   -  Getty Images

 

The most likely answer will be Morgan. She's shown that she's one of the best forwards in the world. She can step up in big games and she's scored 107 international goals. In France, she scored six goals alone with three assists.

She'll be 34 at the next World Cup, which puts her in position to carry the national team on her back. Her experience combined with her athleticism will allow her to further cement her career and leave a lasting legacy that we're predicting will be similar to Lloyd's.

HOW MUCH LONGER DOES COACH JILL ELLIS HAVE WITH USWNT?

Jill Ellis took over the national team in 2014 and months later led the U.S. to a 2015 World Cup title. Sunday's final game against the Netherlands marked Ellis' 127th game at the helm of the national team. During the tournament, Ellis passed April Heinrichs for the most games coached with the USWNT.

"I'm not aware of that,” Ellis told reporters when asked about the record. “I don’t pay attention to that. It’s one game at a time literally and that’s kind of how I’ve coached my career.”

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Jill Ellis, head coach of USA looks on during the final match between USNWT and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon.   -  Getty Images

 

After Sunday's victory, Ellis has now made it through two World Cup cycles. Most international coaches generally move on after two tournaments, so it wouldn't be unrealistic to wonder when Ellis will make the decision to move on. She's been linked to a U.S. Soccer front-office role, but she remains mum about her future. 

Her time as head coach has been met with controversy at times with the U.S. facing an unprecedented failure at the 2016 Olympics, falling to Sweden in the quarterfinals. That led to experimenting with the roster and different starting lineups, which led to criticism.

ALSO READ: Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle lead USWNT to fourth title

Despite what the pundits say, it's hard to deny the success Ellis has brought to the national team after making history in France.

WHAT LINEUP CHANGES WILL THE U.S. MAKE?

After every World Cup, some new players come onto the scene while some veterans start to retire from the sport. Knowing Lloyd has already hinted it will be her last World Cup, it begs the question: what will the 2023 World Cup starting lineup look like? 

In addition to Lloyd, it's not likely Megan Rapinoe will be back as she'll turn 39 when the next tournament rolls around. She'll likely end her career on a high note with the incredible success she saw in France, leading the U.S. throughout the entire tournament

Some other questions to address: Will Becky Sauerbrunn (who also will be 39 in four years) be back? Will Morgan be a super-sub? Will Tobin Heath be back? 

All of these questions will have to be answered before the next World Cup, but for now, the U.S. is just happy to be celebrating yet another World Cup title.