(WVUE) - A four year wait ends tonight for the United States.
Their World Cup experience gets underway Monday evening when they open against Australia in Winnipeg, Canada. The Stars and Stripes are grouped with the Aussies, Sweden and Nigeria in what's been termed the Group of Death.
And they're fighting some demons of the past. Back in 2011, Hope Solo and Abby Wamback led the U.S. to the final where they blew a pair of late leads to Japan before falling in penalty kicks.
Both of those players return for what could be the final World Cup of their illustrious careers. Solo, back in the goal, and Wambach leading a very talented and deep scoring line that figures to test any team it comes up against over the next four weeks.
The only concern head coach Jill Ellis has is when star forward Alex Morgan will play. She's been dealing with a knee injury, but it'll take a lot to keep her off the field and team USA would love to see her add to her 51 career national team goals.
As for Monday's opponent, 10th ranked Australia, history would suggest that a win is in order for team USA. The game will mark the 25th time the two teams have met and the U.S. has never lost to the Aussies, 22-0 with two ties.
But, anything can happen when teams get on the big stage that is the World Cup.
The U.S. needs to win its opener because the schedule only gets tougher going forward. Sweden, ranked sixth in the latest FIFA rankings, is next in line, followed by Nigeria, who is ranked 33rd in the world.
Six points from two wins will all but guarantee a spot in the next round, and from there it's full steam ahead with blinders on.
Simply put, winning the cup this year will put their failure in the cup before to bed
"It took me a long time to get over it, to close that door. But now a new door has opened," Morgan said.
Here's hoping team USA kicks it open en route to a world championship.