Some of America's finest athletes are set to shine "in the spotlight" at the FIFA Women's World Cup, but their impact will be felt far beyond the pitch, according to Brian Kilmeade.
The "Fox & Friends" host said the tournament is about so much more than just sports, during an interview on "America's Newsroom" on Friday.
“This is not just about soccer; I think this is about women’s sports," he told Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith.
“[The U.S. Women’s National Team is] going to be in the spotlight now for three to four weeks and I love it.”
The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup starts on Friday in Reims, France. Returning champions and favorites, the U.S. Women’s National Team, intend to win the trophy…again.
“America likes winners,” noted Kilmeade. “And, while the men struggle, we have talent. We don’t execute in the big tournaments. The women have. They have three World Cups already. Their win in 2015…And, they’re favorites to do it again, but they’re going to have their hands full.”
The team begins their quest to back-to-back championships for the first time in U.S. Women’s National Team history on Tuesday June 11 at 3 PM EST against Thailand. The United States has lifted the trophy more than any other country (in 1991, 1999, and 2015), but Germany is the only nation in the history of the competition to win back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2007.
Casual and hardcore fans alike will recognize some returning U.S. stars. Kilmeade broke down a few key players to root for next week: “Crystal Dunn is probably the biggest name. I think that she’s going to be starting in the back and end up in the front,” he noted.
“I also think you’re going to see some old faces shine,” said Kilmeade. “Number one: Megan Rapinoe will make news or not make news when she decides to take a knee in the national anthem. But, she is one of the best players and will be wearing the captain’s band.”
Rapinoe was the first white athlete to kneel during the national anthem before a sporting event following former NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s decision in 2016.
“And, look out for Alex Morgan,” he warned. “This is her season. This is her time. She’s got 101 goals coming in. And those 101 goals—if she increases that—she’ll be as big as Mia Hamm. As long as she delivers the World Cup title.”
Two-time FIFA Player of the Year and three-time Olympian co-Captain Carli Lloyd came out confident at a press conference in May. "The term 'defending champions', we won that. Now, 2019, we're actually going to try to win it again, and that's the plan," she stated.
World Cup champion defender Ali Krieger told reporters: “Every game—no matter how we start or finish or how the game's going, no matter if we're down a goal—we always know we're going to win. We always have that mentality that it doesn't matter. We're going to fight and battle and we're going to come out on top.”
Kilmeade named Sweden, who beat the U.S. in the 2016 Olympics, as an interesting game to watch. England, France, and Germany are also teams to beat. “Women: watch. The key is to have women watch. Not just the men: the women,” he urged.
Later on the show Fox News Headlines 24/7 Reporter Carley Shimkus told Bill Hemmer, “This is also a story about America. How often can everybody across the country root for the same thing? You never see that happening!”