Women’s World Cup 2023 and Development: A Discussion Between Don Carlson and Simo Idrissi

Don Carlson: Welcome to our platform show, where we will talk about the Women’s World Cup 2023 and development or management and get some expert analysis and coaching insights. Joining us tonight is Simo Idrissi, a soccer game analyst for SCPPNews and a coach for elite and professional level soccer teams.

Simo, thank you for being with us. The Women’s World Cup 2023 has been full of unexpected results, with former champion Germany eliminated in the group stage and newcomers like Morocco advancing to the 16th knockouts stage. It seems that some important national teams have missed their opportunity to qualify for the knockout stage. What are your observations on the current situation? How do you explain these outcomes while we discuss the Women’s World Cup 2023 and Development?

Coach Simo Idrissi. Women’s World Cup 2023 and Development: A Discussion Between a Don Carlson and Simo Idrissi Don Carlson: Welcome to our platform show, where we will talk about the Women’s World Cup 2023 and player development or management and get some expert analysis and coaching insights. Joining us tonight is Simo Idrissi, a soccer game analyst for SCPPNews and a coach for elite and professional level soccer teams.

Simo Idrissi: It’s a pleasure to be here, Don. I agree that this World Cup has been full of surprises, especially in the group stage. Some of the teams that we expected to see in the knockouts stage have been eliminated, while some newcomers have shown great potential and qualified. Speaking about the US Women Soccer Team, the reigning champions 4 times, I think their performance has been unexpectedly surprising. A loss, two ties and one win can reflect their quality, but in this stage, their preparation is not enough for me compared to their opponents in the 16th knockouts stage. They did not handle the tactical situations well enough to proceed to the 16th knockouts stage and restart from there, things will be much more challenging for them. I don’t think they can make it with that strategy if the head coach does not change the way of playing. Eventhough, all of the USWNT games were played with confidence and skill, I mean players were able to function better. They have faced different opponents, and they have used their experience and maturity to overcome them and advance to the 16th knockouts stage.

A team that has surprised me positively is the Moroccan Women National Team, who are playing in this tournament for the first time. To understand Women soccer in Morocco please read “The Morocco Women’s Team Has Already Won” by NYTIMES. The Moroccan Women National Team managed to qualify for the 16th knockouts stage, even though they were in the same group as Germany, who won the previous World Cup. Germany beat Morocco 6-0 in their first game, but Morocco did not give up and won their next two games, securing their spot in the knockouts stage along with Colombia. Germany and South Korea, on the other hand, failed to qualify and had to go home early. So, this discussion titles Women’s World Cup 2023 and Development but I would also add the struggle of the women’s sports worldwide.

Don Carlson: You seem to enjoy watching the USWNT and the Moroccan Women National Team play.

Simo Idrissi: Yes, I enjoy watching all national teams play. The USWNT has shown great individual performance and the Moroccan Women National Team has shown courage. To answer the current situation and the outcomes that you represented at the first question, I think that as human beings, we are emotional and caring creatures who want to solve problems and improve our lives. We need to trust our abilities, value ourselves, and face challenges to grow and develop. I don’t want to use the term self-confidence, because it can lead to other topics that are not relevant right now. Let’s just say that “players trust their abilities”.

Don Carlson: Ok, that sounds reasonable to me.

Simo Idrissi: Soccer is one way to help players discover or trust their abilities, but it depends on the level of competition and the coaching-leadership styles. For example, let’s say I have four groups of players: A, B, C, and D, where A is the highest level and D is the lowest level. If the players in group D only play among themselves, they will never experience the higher levels of group C, B, or A. They will not learn from their mistakes or develop their physical and mental skills in a higher performance. The coaches in group D may work harder, but their efforts will be futile if they do not expose their players to new and stronger challenges. Some coaches in group D may say that they make it easy for the players and wait for them to develop.

Based on science and my own experience as a player and a coach, soccer players develop by facing genuine and random challenges. It is not about gradually increasing the intensity from easy to hard that makes players learn the real game, but about allowing randomness and surprises in the game. The real world is full of failures and successes, and coaches should not use comfort level to shield their players from these realities, but rather help them to face them with courage and bravery. Coaches should use both the autonomy interference and empowerment to help their players discover their own strengths, values, and motivations, and to challenge them to grow and improve. I believe that artificial success or comfort level in practices is meaningless, as it does not reflect the true abilities and self-worth of the players. Artificial success or comfort level means that a person does things that they are familiar with and feel calm, without trying new or challenging behaviors that could improve their performance or make them feel risky. This can create a false sense of self-worth and prevent the players from learning and growing. Therefore, I want to create an atmosphere that challenges the players and prepares them for new and stronger situations.

If group D faces group A and loses the game, there is nothing wrong with that because A is strong, and D needs to work harder. No one can deny that people have different levels of abilities, which are influenced by their natural gifts, their stage of growth, and their practice. Our genetic makeup affects our potential and also helps us understand our strengths and weaknesses. We have the innate ability to evaluate ourselves and seek opportunities to compete with others. If players don’t read or respect the level differences, they will build psychological issues that could prevent them from learning and developing correctly. The players in Group D will understand the differences and value each level. While grasping the meaning of performance and how it works, they can work very hard to reach other levels, and this is the first big step in enhancing motivation.

There is no such thing as young players playing soccer without losing games and learning from those who are stronger than them. All players aged 14 and under should play soccer for fun, and let them face their own challenges and be responsible for carrying on with what they have learned. Coaches, in this case, always mentor and monitor progression. Parents or coaches should not overprotect or feel emotional during the process, and they are not supposed to overthink that players could develop physical or psychological issues in the future. Instead, they will learn many things, and some of them can speed up their maturity development and reach higher levels. The split between groups is a matter of time because physical, psychological, and talent differences can force coaches to select the best players for their teams.

When I talk about fun and challenges, I mean that players should face all kinds of challenges. This is what I call Mental Toughness. I played soccer in group D and once played against group A level players. They beat us badly, but I never gave up training or felt like there was something wrong with me. Many of my friends did the same thing, we always trained hard to reach those high levels. Some of my teammates weren’t very talented and knew they couldn’t progress. They stayed in group D until they eventually stopped playing soccer because they realized it wasn’t for them. They switched to playing different sports that suited their physical and psychological capabilities. So, group C or B levels will not help untalented players develop due to genetics factors that vary between some who will develop and those they are limited. The talented players shine, especially those who had no life capacity or financial resources to pursue group A level.

I faced a big challenge when I was a young player. To play in group A level, players should have everything they need. But if players are talented and have not enough resources, they can start from group D to showcase their abilities to the world and definitely be selected and promoted to group A level, the same way as it happened with me.

Don Carlson: You have demonstrated that you are a passionate and determined soccer former player who overcame many challenges and achieved your goals. You have also expressed your strong belief in the value of facing all challenges and playing for fun which you summarized in mental toughness. I respect your opinion and I admire your experience.

However, I also wonder how you would respond to the idea that not everyone has the same needs, goals, preferences, and abilities when it comes to playing soccer. Some people may benefit from different levels of challenge and difficulty, based on their individual characteristics and circumstances. Some people may need more support, guidance, feedback, and encouragement from their coaches and peers. Some people may have different ways of coping with failure and success, as well as different sources of motivation and self-worth.

Do you think that there is a universal approach or solution that works for everyone in soccer development? Or do you think that we need to consider the diversity and complexity of human beings when we talk about soccer development? How do you balance your own personal style and preferences with the needs and expectations of others? I would love to hear your thoughts on these questions.

Simo Idrissi: Thank you for your questions. I appreciate your curiosity and your respect for my opinion and experience. I think you raised some important points about the diversity and complexity of human beings and how they affect soccer development.

I agree that not everyone has the same needs, goals, preferences, and abilities when it comes to playing soccer. I also agree that some people may benefit from different level of challenges and difficulties, based on their individual characteristics and circumstances. Some people may need more support, guidance, feedback, and encouragement from their coaches and peers. Some people may have different ways of coping with failure and success, as well as different sources of motivation and self-worth.

While I don’t believe that there is a one-size-fits-all approach to soccer development, the universal language of soccer approach is based on the complexity of life. This approach takes into account the reality and nature of soccer as a sport. Soccer is a complex, dynamic, unpredictable, and competitive game that requires players to navigate various challenges and situations on the field. It’s also a team sport that demands cooperation, communication, and coordination among players. Additionally, soccer has a professional face where players must perform at a high level under pressure and expectations. Only the best players can succeed at the professional level, where they must be ready and prepared for any challenge and are carefully chosen and evaluated based on their abilities.

Therefore, I think that the best way to develop soccer players is to expose them to the complexity of life idea through selection, training, and diversity. This way, players can learn from random challenges that they face in real-world situations. They can also learn how to adapt, improvise, and overcome difficulties on the field. They can also learn how to work well with others and respect each other’s differences.

I think that this approach is not only beneficial for soccer development, but also for personal development. By facing the complexity of life idea, players can develop not only their skills and abilities, but also their personality and attitude. They can develop their passion, dedication, hard-work, resilience, and team-orientation. They can also develop their self-trust, self-value, self-worth, and self-motivation.

There are many ways to prepare and organize a team but because you are asking me, I am obliged to give you my opinion. So, this approach is also compatible with the needs and expectations of others. By following this approach, players can meet the demands and standards of the professional level. They can also satisfy the expectations and desires of their coaches, teammates, fans, sponsors, media, and society.

This approach is neither easy nor simple, and those who lack motivation may yield easily to the stress stimulation such as fight or flight response instead of developing mental toughness and working hard. It requires a lot of effort, commitment, discipline, patience, courage, and perseverance from both players and coaches. It also requires a lot of flexibility, creativity, innovation, experimentation, and evaluation from both players and coaches. It requires a clear communication, collaboration, feedback, guidance, and support from both players and coaches.

In my view, due to multiple challenges that would impose by facilitation of athletes’ skill acquisition to improve performance, there is no single approach to soccer development, as coaches have their own unique methods. My personal approach may vary depending on the long-term goal, but it typically involves creating and implementing a plan that addresses physical and mental styles, periodization for each session, and tactics or formations that players should learn or adopt. This approach has been successful in monitoring and mentoring players, encouraging them to work hard and stay motivated. While this can lead to positive results, it’s important to note that avoiding challenges and progress can ultimately lead players down the path of giving up.

Don Carlson: Interesting. Can you explain what you mean by the complexity of life idea?

Simo Idrissi: The complexity of life idea in soccer refers to exposing players to a variety of scenarios and opponents that challenge their skills, abilities, and mental fortitude. Players must learn to read their environment, adapt to changing circumstances, improvise solutions, and overcome obstacles on the field. They must be ready to face any situation that may arise during a game.

Don Carlson: And how do you implement this idea in practice?

Simo Idrissi: Well, one way is to play friendly games or go to very high level tournaments to play against different strong teams. This way, players can experience different styles of play, different tactics, conditioning and different levels of competition. They can also learn from their mistakes and successes and improve their performance.

Don Carlson: That is clear enough. What about the selection of players? How do you choose the right players for your team?

Simo Idrissi: Beleive me, It’s not just about adhering to a single method, but rather a coach’s ability to observe and interpret the skills they are searching for. An experienced and talented coach who knows what they want can make all the difference. Coach and player identification is more of a chemistry than a science. The process of choosing players often involves tryouts, as well as in-depth analysis and reports over an extended period of time. We look for players who have the potential and talent to play at the professional level. There is no one way to select players and there is no one plan that coaches follow to select players. We look for players who have the talent, personality, and attitude that fit our team culture and philosophy but generally this topic is mostly secret.

Don Carlson: Secret! That means each coach have to find his way, isn’t it. Ok, how about this question, what kind of personality and attitude are you looking for?

Simo Idrissi: Finding players who have no limitations to passionate, dedication, hard-working, resilience, motivation and team-orientation. We want players who are willing to learn, grow, and improve themselves. We want players who are not afraid of challenges and who can cope with stress and mostly those that are talented enough to promote to professionalism.

Don Carlson: And how do you train these players once they are selected?

Simo Idrissi: We train players based on their skill level and mental abilities. We gradually introduce patterns and increase the difficulty by involving opponents to make the training session more like a real game. However, we don’t create any artificial style and let the complexity of the training take over. We monitor players’ progress and provide feedback, guidance, and sometimes I have to be straightforward and tell a player what to do when they lack fluidity, flexibility, and innovation. I call the last step a push forward. I don’t require it often, but sometimes when players lose focus, you just need to open a new box and let them restart the learning process.

I have two almost similar experiences with the “push forward” learning process. Once, I was coaching an U12 team and had a very fast right-wing player. He was great at controlling the ball and eluding opponents, but he couldn’t score because he took shots too early. During the first half, he kept making the same effort without any chance to score. I didn’t want to interrupt him during the game, but during the break, I told him that he had great speed, ball control, and dribbling ability. All he needed to do was be patient, get closer to the goal, and shoot the ball into any corner he chose. In the second half, he took advantage of a push forward style and scored two goals. The opponent coach then closed up the gaps by adding more defenders to watch their left side, which made my right-wing player unable to score again, so I told him to switch spots with the left wing and he scored a third goal.

The second almost similar occasion happened while I was coaching an U19 team. This player was fast and could kick the ball from any distance with his right foot but had some issues with ball control and reading the moment. During a set-piece moment in the first half, I spoke with him and said that he had tried his best to elude defenders on the right side of the field but they already knew what he was doing. So this time, I told him to switch positions with the left wing and while in possession of the ball pretend like he wanted to elude them straightforwardly, then take the ball in the right direction and shoot from far into any corner of the goal. He took a push forward seriously and scored twice and then tried to elude again challenging defenders. Since the opponent was losing 2-0, they were already losing belief in their abilities so this player was just fine doing what he felt was fun for him and in my perspective that was a moment of learning for him.

Don Carlson: Can you give us some examples of these levels?

Simo Idrissi: Certainly. I am sharing many key points with you in this interview, but I would like to ensure that the information is protected by copyright. If anyone wishes to use this information, I would be happy to assist them or they could source a reference to this discussion panel. For instance, let’s consider level A, which represents the elite level of training. This is where the most skilled players are carefully selected from lower levels and trained to compete at the highest level. These players are subjected to challenging and demanding situations that require them to perform at their best.

Then we have level B, which is the intermediate level. This is where the players who have some experience and skills are trained to improve their game and reach the next level. They are exposed to more varied and complex situations that require them to develop their game intelligence and creativity.

Then we have level C, which is the beginner level. This is where the players who are new or inexperienced are trained to learn the fundamentals and basics of the game. They are exposed to simple and structured situations that require them to master the technical and tactical aspects of the game.

And finally, we have level D, which is the developmental level. This is where the players who have potential are trained to reshape their talents and abilities. They are exposed to real engaging situations that require them to enjoy the game and express themselves.

We manage the teaching and learning process by categorizing players, without creating any artificial solutions. We can monitor their performance and ask them to provide data for analysis to determine their exact level. We can also control the activities to assess their performance level accurately. Sports science is important and serves as the foundation of the development structure. Sports science research can pave the way for evidence-based methods that allow athletes and active individuals to exercise in the most effective manner.

Don Carlson: That sounds very comprehensive and systematic. And what about diversity? How do you deal with diversity in your team?

Simo Idrissi: Diversity is crucial not only for a team but also for our nation. It enriches team culture and enhances performance. Our team welcomes players from diverse backgrounds and experiences who can contribute to our goals and values in a high-performance environment. We ensure that diversity meets the demands of the high-stress levels required at all levels, from D to A. We seek players who can handle the pressure and expectations of playing professionally, work well with others, and respect each other’s differences.

Don Carlson: According to some experts, selecting and developing the strongest players is not enough to build a successful soccer team. They argue that soccer is a team sport that requires cooperation, communication, and coordination among the players. What do you think of this saying?

Simo Idrissi: Let me clear up again the reason why we are speaking about the Women’s World Cup 2023 and Development. Player development is a complex process and there is no single way to do it. However, the obvious goal is to bring the best team and the most ready players who can perform in an organized game. Results depend not only on the strongest players but on a combination of the best players, coaching styles, and leadership styles. I still think that human development and player development have different purposes. I already said that player development comes from human development because we have certain requirements that can make our investment achieve our long-term goal. If we want to build a professional competitive team we should select talented players and develop them to compete in any stressful situations.

I don’t think that statement is an expert recommendation. To argue that statement I can say that losing games means a team who lost games at an elite or professional level made many mistakes, isn’t it? If too many mistakes occured in a game that means that the team does not have enough strong players and if there are no strong players in a team, tactical elements would never work. It is the opposite of having a team with strong players and weak tactical elements, where players can still win games due to their high talent and speed of play. I am speaking about professionalism which means player development should require enough winning mentality because they go hand in hand. In my perspective, the description of strong players is broader than that of talented players. Having a team with many talented players is certainly an advantage, but it’s also important to have strong leadership and mental toughness to guide the team in the right direction. Without these qualities, even a team with a lot of talent can lose direction and struggle to achieve their goals due to their weakness. A strong player is not only talented but also possesses qualities such as leadership and mental toughness. These qualities help them guide the team and keep them motivated and focused on their goals.

I understand the philosophy that says don’t worry about winning because their purpose is human development and this is fine, but this is not true at all in player identification and player development when a club is envisting for results. When a team loses one game, naturally it’s not ok. As a coach, it’s important to keep your players tough and motivated to fight and not give up. Winning is the ultimate goal and the best way to keep a team motivated and focused. However, even if a team gives their best effort and still loses due to their limitations, it’s important to acknowledge their hard work and determination. Every game is an opportunity for the team to show their strength and strive for success. Focusing on the long-term goal and being responsible is important for players at a professional level. Winning can be measured in terms of progress towards achieving the long-term goal, while losing can decrease the chances of fulfilling that goal. If a team loses a game, it means that one short-term goal has been diminished and the players need to work harder to overcome the loss and get back on track towards achieving their long-term goal. Ultimately, the long-term goal is to win the league, and the team will continue to work hard and improve with each game. It’s important for players to stay focused and motivated, even in the face of setbacks, in order to achieve success in the long run. It is a mental process and if players don’t have it, the winning mentality weakness will ruin the whole program.

As someone who has experienced sports as both a player and a coach, I believe that it’s more important to shift the focus towards teaching players how to win, rather than saying that it’s okay to lose. Winning is the ultimate goal in sports and the reward for success often comes from winning. When players compete, they are challenging others to win. If a team is not prepared enough or if players are only focused on having fun, they may not perform at their best and may end up losing games. This can have negative consequences, including negative reactions from coaches and fans, and potentially even losing their contract with the club. To avoid losing, it’s important to teach players about motivation and how to win. Learning from mistakes is a key part of this process. For example, in one game, we used defensive compactness to control the speed of the opposing team. Our players closed all the gaps and watched the faster players on the other team. We were successful and scored two goals. However, when our players became overconfident and lost focus, the opponent was able to tie the game by scoring two goals. During the break between halves, I reminded the players that winning requires focus and concentration until the end of the game. It’s not enough to be ahead by one or more scores; it’s important to maintain focus and keep the win safe.

Don Carlson: Soccer is a popular and fascinating sport that attracts millions of fans and players around the world. However, soccer is also a complex and dynamic sport that requires multiple skills and abilities, such as technical, tactical, physical, psychological, and skills. How can soccer players develop these skills and abilities? How can soccer coaches select and recruit the best players for their teams? How can soccer teams measure and improve their performance?

Simo Idrissi is an expert who has more than 25 years of experience as a former player and a current coach. He has a clear vision and goal for his team, and he wants to select and develop the strongest players who can cope with any type or level of stress. Simo believes that diversity should fit the demand of the very high stress competitions required. He also has his own research on mental preparation and biofeedback to enhance soccer team performance throughout a competitive season.

Simo, How do you define the strongest players? What criteria do you use to select and develop them?

Simo Idrissi: I can assess the players’ strengths and weaknesses based on their speed, ball control, eluding skills, and decision-making. I give opportunities to some players to show their abilities, but others are very limited and cannot play at a professional level. Are we speaking about the Women’s World Cup 2023 and Development in here? I am a technical expert who can balance the players to create a strong team with chemistry and make sure that these players develop correctly. Selecting and developing the strongest players is a clear-cut process. Soccer requires various skills and abilities, such as technical, tactical, physical, psychological, and other skills. Soccer also requires long-term and holistic training, such as the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model. Moreover, selecting and developing the strongest players should consider the potential, readiness, individual differences, environmental influences, and ethical implications of the players. This means they need brain endurance training (BET), which is the most complex step in player development.

Don Carlson: BET sounds really serious thing. Tell me how do you measure the success of your soccer team? What indicators or outcomes do you use to evaluate your team’s performance?

Simo Idrissi: To evaluate the success of soccer players, I use data collection and consider factors such as mental effort, concentration, recovery time, performance, mistakes, solutions, roles, tactical situations, and the interaction between the body and brain. I collect data from each game and adjust the team’s performance accordingly. I also analyze live games to collect data and make changes. During breaks, I guide players to something they didn’t see in the game and keep the same information for next practice sessions.

Evaluating the success of a soccer team is not an easy or objective task. It requires multiple criteria and methods to measure and explain the team’s performance. The success of a soccer team should be evaluated by considering the quality and style of play, the process and progress of learning, the satisfaction and enjoyment of playing, and the feedback and reflection of playing.

I have a clear plan for measuring the success of my soccer team by setting both short-term and long-term goals. By splitting the performance into weekly goals, I can track the team’s progress over time and make adjustments as needed. For example, if the desired performance is 100% each week for four weeks, then the total desired performance for the four games would be 400%. If the team’s performance decreases or increases each week, this can affect their overall success positively or negatively. By setting both short-term and long-term goals, I can measure the team’s success more accurately.

Don Carlson: How do you deal with the diversity and complexity of human beings in your soccer team? How do you accommodate the different needs, goals, preferences, and abilities of your players?

Simo Idrissi: I deal with the diversity and complexity by selecting and recruiting the best players that can bring good results to the club. I replace the diversity with the talent instead of politics intervention. Diversity should follow the purpose of what the club demands in the coach’s contract. Players are getting paid to do the job and a coach should show good results to the club or else nobody will get paid. I am speaking about professionalism here. Speaking about Women’s World Cup 2023 and Development and dealing with the diversity and complexity of human beings in a soccer team is not a simple or easy process. Soccer is a social and cultural sport that requires multiple skills and abilities, such as communication, cooperation, leadership, and respect. Multiple perspectives and opinions, such as empathy, motivation, enjoyment, and well-being are good and useful for leadership when the team is ready and needs ways to achieve results and rewards. Dealing with the diversity and complexity of human beings in a soccer team should consider the relationships and interactions, the values and beliefs, the preferences and choices, and the ethical and moral implications of the players forming a team.

Don Carlson: How do you cope with the uncertainty and unpredictability of soccer? How do you prepare your players for different situations and opponents?

Simo Idrissi: My leadership and philosophy are my strengths. I prepare players for different situations and opponents by being precise with seasonal programs, such as pre-season, in-season, and off-season. I consider the possible outcomes and solutions for each scenario. Coping with the uncertainty and unpredictability of soccer is hard to control without solid leadership and future preparation. Soccer is a complex and dynamic sport that requires multiple skills and abilities, such as creativity, adaptability, and problem-solving. Soccer is a stochastic and chaotic sport that requires multiple perspectives and opinions, such as intuition, curiosity, and exploration. Coping with the uncertainty and unpredictability of soccer should consider the randomness and variability, the learning and discovery, the fun and enjoyment, and the feedback and reflection of play.

Let’s talk about the women’s Women’s World Cup 2023 and Development now, Don. I think the main difference in this edition is the players’ capabilities. There are few gaps, but the experienced national teams like USWNT, Spanish Women national team, and the Netherlands women’s national team has played in three FIFA Women’s World Cups, reaching the final in 2019 and losing to the United States. They have also won the UEFA Women’s Championship in 2017 as hosts and are one of the most successful teams in Europe. I also think Nigeria, Japan, and France have a good chance due to their experience and history. England is one team that I’m not sure about, but if they beat Nigeria, then I will consider them as a serious contender in this World Cup.

Don Carlson: Why do you think England should beat Nigeria to give them a credibility?

Simo Idrissi: I am not judging them as good or bad I am only analysing in this interview that covers the Women’s World Cup 2023 and Development. Soccer in England is everywhere but winning international games seems to be a challenge for Men and Women’s national teams. Let’s look at history of Men’s national team, England became a FIFA member in 1946 and made their debut in the men’s World Cup in 1950. They played and got out in the group stage with 1-0-2. In 1954 they reached the quarter-final with 1-1-1. In 1958 they got out of the group stage with 0-3-1. In 1962 they reached the quarter-final with 1-2-1. In 1966 they became champions with 5-1-0. In 1970 they reached the quarter-final with 2-0-2. They didn’t qualify in 1974 and 1978. In 1982 they reached the second group stage with 3-3-0. In 1986 they reached the quarter-final with 2-1-2. In 1990 they took the fourth place with 3-3-1. They didn’t qualify in 1994. In 2018 they took the fourth place with 3-1-3. In 2022 they reached the quarter-final with 4-1-1.

England women national team played their first World Cup in 1995. They played against Nigeria and won 3-2 on June 6 and got beaten by Germany 3-0 on June 15 but in the same World Cup they reached the quarter-final. In 2007 they reached the quarter-final and lost to USWNT 3-0 on September 22. In 2011 they again reached the quarter-final and lost to France on penalties on July 9. In 2015 they took third place on July 4. In 2019 they took fourth place on July 6. England has to work very hard to overcome the obstacles that prevent them from winning important games in knockouts. So the game against Nigeria on August 7, 2023, is not easy and they have to make sure they are ready for the physical and technical challenges that Nigeria poses. France can beat Morocco because of their experience and years of playing but even France still didn’t win any women World Cup like England. Morocco achieved what they wanted, and I think they will do their best to compete, but I think France still has an advantage.

Don Carlson: Based on the Women’s World Cup 2023 and Development, do you still think USWNT is the winner of 2023 version?

Simo Idrissi: The US women’s national team is the most successful team and while speaking about the Women’s World Cup 2023 and Development let us go through the history of the Women’s World Cup, having won four titles in 1991, 1999, 2015, and 2019. They also finished second once and third three times. They have many stars in their team, and they can win games with their speed of play and tactical adaptability. However, they also face some challenges and difficulties, especially when they play against strong opponents. I analyzed their game against the Netherlands, and I found that they reached their limit potential. They need to improve their attacking, defending and transitioning, especially their innovative play. They also need to be smart and proactive when they counterattack and build out of the back. Sometimes, their patterns are not enough to solve the problems on the field. They need to create and exploit spaces with their individual skills. Sweden is no jock, very diffecult to win against, they are one a heck of tough opponent for USWNT today, and Japan will be a different story. Japan is a team that can match them in terms of tactics and technique. The US team needs to be prepared for anything that might happen in the game.

Don Carlson: Speaking about the Women’s World Cup 2023 and Development and compare it to what you are saying, I think you are right that the USWNT has won four World Cup trophies, making them the most successful women’s national team in the history of the Women’s World Cup. They have won the titles in 1991, 1999, 2015, and 2019. They also earned second-place once and third-place finishes three times. You also have some valid points about the USWNT’s strengths and weaknesses in their attacking, defending, and transitioning, especially their innovative play. I agree that they have many stars in their team, and they can win games, but they also face some challenges and tactical issues when they meet stronger opponents. As you mentioned, they lost some important games with China, Germany, and Japan due to unstable performance and some difficulties in building out of the back, organizing counterattacks, and creating and exploiting spaces.

However, I think the USWNT has also shown some improvement and resilience in their recent matches, especially in the group stage of the 2023 World Cup. They managed to draw with Portugal, a tough team that had beaten them before, thanks to their solid defense and some luck with the goal post. They also defeated Sweden, a familiar foe that had eliminated them in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympics, with a convincing 3-0 scoreline. They showed their speed of play, smartness, and creativity in that game, scoring two goals from set pieces and one from a brilliant combination play. The scenario of today against Sweden will not be the same, beleive me becuase today Sweden is not easy team and also their tactical events prove to me they can be a big surprize if the USWNT coach didn’t change his styles of atacking and defending.

Japan is another strong team that has a history of rivalry with the USWNT. They met in the finals of the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, with Japan winning the first one on penalties and the USWNT winning the second one with a stunning 5-2 scoreline. Japan also beat the USWNT in the group stage of the 2020 SheBelieves Cup, but the USWNT avenged that loss with a 3-1 victory in the same tournament in 2023.

Simo Idrissi: I think it will be a thrilling and tough match for both teams if they face each other again on Friday 11 August 2023 for the quarter-final. Japan plays with a lot of technique and possession, while the USWNT plays with more physicality and directness. Both teams have skilled and experienced players who can change the game. I think the main factors for this match will be how well each team can defend against the other’s attacks, how well each team can create opportunities from open play or set pieces, and how well each team can adjust to the changing situations and conditions of the game. Hey Don, we should not underestimate Sweden, as I said. We just talked about the unpredictability of soccer and a game against Sweden can show us different challenges and hardships. I am afraid that USWNT may struggle to compete strategically against them. Sweden is very strong defensively and their attacking style is fast and precise. So talking about Japan game doesn’t mean that we take Sweden lightly, no way. We will watch the game and hope for the best for USWNT.

Don Carlson: Thank you so much for this Women’s World Cup 2023 and Development interview and for giving me and the readers of SCPPNews the opportunity to learn from your valuable information. I really admire your focus and patience to talk about such topics with us. We are always delighted to listen to you and discover more about soccer from you. You are a wonderful source of insight and wisdom for us.

This is the end of our interview for today. I hope you had a good time as much as I did. I can’t wait to talk to you again soon and we wish the USWNT all the best and good luck. Have a fantastic day.

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