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USWNT: Hayes says players ready to move on from 2023 World Cup failure

Hayes' team take on South Korea again on Tuesday night


Emma Hayes believes the United States needed the setback of their failed 2023 World Cup campaign to move forward.

Englishwoman Hayes is in her first few weeks in charge of the USWNT following her move from Chelsea but enjoyed a solid start at the weekend with a 4-0 rout of South Korea.

Her longer-term target is to improve on the team’s showing last year when they exited the World Cup in the round of 16 – their worst ever performance on the global stage.

“I think the group is ready to move on,” Hayes said. “That’s what it feels like to me.

“There’s been a lot of learnings since [the] last World Cup.

“We always like to look at it externally, like these really fatal moments. From my perspective, I don’t believe they can grow without that. You need those setbacks. Sometimes, on the biggest stages, it’s not ideal, but the team wasn’t ready.

“But the expectation in this country is win every game, every week, every tournament, every trophy. It just isn’t going to work like that, I’m afraid. We have to adapt a little bit to that.”

All eyes on the Olympics

The US take on South Korea again on Tuesday night in the final game before Hayes has to select her 18-strong group for the Olympics.

She added: “The connections might be different, so those reference points might start again first before we can build to the next place.

“But I believe it’s essential because we need a squad to select first for the Olympics, so I need to know where everybody’s at within that.”

It’s a balancing act for Hayes at this early stage, a point she happily accepts.

She joked: ”It feels like I’m a heart surgeon in the middle of emergency surgery. 

“Not because anything is wrong, but the reality is it’s really, really hard for me to be on the wards or on the clinics and teaching everyone and do surgery at the same time in such a limited amount of time.

“Between now and the next camp, it’s about bringing everybody up to that level where everybody can do the surgery, if you know what I mean.”

Picture of Jon Fisher

Jon Fisher

Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.