Saturday, August 18, 2012

18 August 1985 - Many Great Things Have Humble Beginnings

On 18 August 1985, the United States women's team played their first match, losing to Italy 1-0 in the opening game of the Mundialito.

The Mundialito (Spanish for "Little World Cup") was an invitational women's international tournament held in Italy from 1984 to 1988. The 1985 edition consisted of four teams--Italy (the defending champions), England, Denmark, and the United States.

The US squad had been put together earlier that summer by head coach Mike Ryan and included goalkeeper Kim Wyant, midfielder Sharon McMurtry, forward Tucka Healy, and winger Denise Boyer. Discussing the experience years later, all four players remarked on the physical nature of the game and the competitiveness of the Italian team, who went on to win 1-0 after a missed penalty by McMurty.

Italy reached the final where they lost to England, while the US finished in fourth after a 2-2 draw with Denmark, a loss to England, and a loss to Denmark in the third-place match. They did better in the next two tournaments, however, finishing as runners-up in 1986 and claiming third place in 1988.

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