Carli Lloyd wants to see the US Men's National Team show a 'burning desire' to win the Qatar World Cup
- The US Men's National Soccer Team is embarking on its first World Cup in nearly a decade.
- Two-time World Cup champion Carli Lloyd told Insider the advice she'd offer the men's team.
The United States Men's National Team is embarking on its first World Cup appearance in nearly a decade.
After failing to qualify for Russia 2018, head coach Gregg Berhalter and his young squad are hoping to make a splash this year in Qatar. Stars like Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Weston McKennie are hoping to help the US survive a group stage that features matchups against three of the world's top-20 teams.
But the Americans' lofty ambitions aren't commensurate with their performances leading up to the World Cup.
In their final two matches before heading to this year's World Cup, the Stars and Stripes lost a 2-0 decision to Japan before drawing against Saudi Arabia. The neutral-site matchups against FIFA's 24th- and 51st-ranked teams, respectively, didn't exactly result in the "confidence boost" they had hoped for ahead of their biggest tournament in decades, two-time World Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Carli Lloyd told Insider.
"It's unfortunate these last several results and games that they've had — you want those games to be that confidence boost where you are feeling good, the team's gelling, and then you go into this World Cup firing on all cylinders," the retired US Women's National Team legend told Insider. "Now they have to wait to get to Qatar. They've got these past results still in the back of their mind. And it's just, it's tough."
The US now has to face No. 19 Wales, No. 5 England, and No. 20 Iran in succession half a world away. But sitting at No. 16 in FIFA's rankings themselves, the Americans certainly have enough talent to challenge their upcoming rivals.
It's their mindset that concerns Lloyd, who says she's "been watching their games" and "just quietly observing."
"Obviously I've been a player, so I do always know that there's a lot more dynamics than what people realize," Lloyd said. "There are the pressures of making a roster. There are the pressures of not having been at the previous World Cup, and really having that burden. Obviously they qualified, so they should be all happy, but there's still that in the back of their mind that the expectations that everybody has on them is pretty high. And so there's a lot of dynamics, but there's teams that have other dynamics too."
"But I do, I feel for the guys," she added. "It's a very tough, stressful environment."
Lloyd has achieved unparalleled success in tough, stressful environments just like the one the US men are facing. She scored the gold medal-winning goals at the 2008 Olympics and, nearly a decade later, recorded a hat trick during a World Cup final.
Needless to say, she knows a thing or two about thriving under the brightest lights the soccer world has to offer. And her advice to the USMNT players is twofold; focus on "controlling what you can control" and "believe when everybody else doesn't believe."
"You can control your work ethic, your attitude, your own game, being critical when needed, and figuring out things that you need to improve upon," Lloyd said. "I would love to just be able to see it in their eyes that they believe. I think that the belief that they have in themselves is missing. And you can't go into a World Cup and not believe that you can actually win a World Cup, because anything is possible."
"And whatever's going on from a coaching perspective or a player's perspective, at the end of the day, you just gotta bring that burning desire to believe and wanna win," she added. "That's what I wanna see. I wanna see a team and literally will do everything and anything to get the job done."
The USMNT begins its World Cup journey against Wales on Monday, followed by games against England on Friday and Iran on November 29. All games will air on FOX and kick off at 2 p.m. ET.
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