CHICAGO (CBS) – The Eagles and the Bears aren’t the only big football game in town this weekend. The U.S. Women’s soccer team is taking on Italy Saturday at Toyota Park with a spot in next year’s World Cup at stake.
As CBS 2’s Megan Mawicke reports, failure to qualify might be the biggest upset in the history of women’s sports.
The U.S. women’s team has been dominating soccer for over two decades, but they are in unfamiliar territory now and fighting for a spot just to get into the World Cup.
“This team is great playing under pressure, if we are known for something it is that, so we’ll respond and hopefully put on a good game together,” said Crystal Lake native and Team USA member Amy LePeilbert.
The U.S. beat Italy 1-0 last week on their home turf so they need a win or draw Saturday against the Italians to make the 16-team World Cup next summer. They don’t want to be the first U.S. team not to make it.
“We might have gotten the fear out. Truth be told, there is a lot of pressure having never lost a CONCACAF qualifying tournament ever, and I think there is some embarrassment not wanting to be that one team that doesn’t qualify,” said Team USA veteran Abby Wambach.
The U.S. team never thought they would be playing for their lives in chilly Chicago in November. They’re in this position because they were stunned by Mexico in the semifinals, but they are using that loss as a wake-up call.
“We’re taking a different road to the World Cup and I like the road,” said Head Coach Pia Sundhage. “Hopefully, when we are in Germany for the World Cup, if we win Saturday, we will look back and realize we loved that road, and that we’ve had a great attitude and we can deal with any type of pressure.”
“In order for us to learn and grow as a team, sometimes losing is the best thing. Moving forward, I think this will make us a better team in the long run,” adds Wambach.
Tickets are still available for Saturday’s match starting at $10. They are available at the stadium, and also online by clicking here.