USA have featured in all seven previous FIFA U-20 Womens World Cups, winning the tournament three times. The Stars and Stripes edged North American rivals and tournament hosts Canada to claim the inaugural U-20 Women’s World Cup. Following a third-place finish and fourth-place effort at Thailand 2004 and Russia 2006 respectively, Sydney Leroux led the Americans to their second title in Chile in 2008. USA were then beaten by Nigeria on penalties to crash out of Germany 2010 in the quarter-finals but rebounded two years later at Japan 2012, when they saw off Germany in a tightly-contested final in Tokyo. Last time out, in Canada in 2014, the Americans had a rough go, finishing second in their group to eventual champions Germany and tumbling out on penalties at the first hurdle of the knockout rounds.
The Americans won their fifth – and fourth consecutive – CONCACAF title in Honduras in late 2015, putting on a dominant display led by tournament top scorer and best player Mallory Pugh, who returns for her second U-20 Women's World Cup. They scored 14 goals and conceded just twice in their group before hammering the hosts 7-0 and edging Canada in a tense final.
Eager to get their dominance back on track on the world stage, USA coach Michelle French is looking at Papua New Guinea 2016 as the place to make a mark. “We have a great mix of talent, sophistication and athleticism,” the coach, a former USA international said, in what is surely an understatement.