U.S. U19 Team Blog: Dani Lazo
Midfielder Dani Lazo checks in after Team USA's 20-7 win over Australia, and lets you know how it feels to beat your biggest rival, and why she gets misty during the Star-Spangled Banner:
Hello everyone! It’s definitely a really great feeling to beat Australia. The Australia-US rivalry, it’s been going on on the women’s side for all of World Championship history. We were really looking forward to this game all trip and to get a win that big was just unreal.
As for pregame prep – for the other games, we did mostly stick work practices and working on fundamentals, but today we had a longer practice and worked on different things. Defense, offense, transition, everything. And that definitely showed today. We had a huge team lunch beforehand, which helped as well. Today was more of a mental day. We had a day off yesterday. (I went to the zoo with three other girls from our team and half the German team. It was a lot of fun. Meeting new people has probably been my favorite part of this experience, because they’re from everywhere, around the whole world.)
Right before the game started, it started to rain and it got really cold and windy, and I was like, “Of course, for our hardest game.” But we had an amazing crowd, the most fans we’ve had all tournament, and it was just an amazing atmosphere to play in. The weather just made it that much better, because it was cold and gritty. It was really just a fun game. All of us agreed after the game that we just had fun.
I really like hearing the national anthem before all our games. The first time I heard it, before the Japan game on the first day, I’m not going to lie – I did tear up a bit. It was weird, because when we hear the national anthem before a game at home, it’s no big deal. It’s just another song. But when that whole song is representing the whole reason why we’re hear, that definitely adds a lot of emotion into it. It adds so much more meaning to why we’re here, and why we’re playing, and what we’re here to do.
Going into the game, we knew in the back of our minds that yes, this was Australia and this was a really big game. But we were also just like, “You know, it’s just another game, another game together.” We do it for each other. We don’t really care about what we’re doing individually; we care about what we’re doing as a team. And when we’re doing that, it shows that we’re having fun and everything else just seems to fade away.
It definitely feels great to be 5-0. We have worked really hard. The scores might not reflect how much work it is. A lot of people might think it’s not a big deal and it’s really easy to get these wins, but we have been working really hard at practice. When we’re not playing, we’re working hard to keep our bodies under control. It’s a lot of pressure definitely, because we are the only team that’s 5-0 (except for Wales, our friends, who are 5-0 in Pool B!). Being the No. 1 seed going into tourney play is a lot of pressure, but I think we can handle it. We are 18 of the most talented players in this whole world, really, and I think we can handle that.