Alex Morgan USA Soccer
Alex Morgan #13 of the United States takes the ball in the first half against Mexico at Red Bull Arena on May 26, 2019 in Harrison, New Jersey. Elsa/Getty Images

There’s only one outcome that would be considered a success for the United State’s women’s national team in the 2019 World Cup. Expecting a title might seem unfair, but that’s the reality for the defending champs.

The U.S. defeated Japan 5-2 in the finals to win the 2015 World Cup in Canada. The USWNT faced its share of adversity in the immediate aftermath, including failing to medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but the team has since rounded into form and looked like the best collection of players in the world.

The roster changes every few years, but expectations remain the same. It’s the result of winning a record three World Cup titles—this year marks just the eighth FIFA Women’s World Cup—and gold medals at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

The USWNT has been virtually unbeatable over the last year and a half, suffering just one loss during that time. With a 7-1-2 record in 2019, the U.S. starts the 2019 World Cup as one of the favorites.

“This team has always had high pressure, especially in big tournaments,” U.S. captain Alex Morgan said Monday, via Yahoo Sports. “That’s for a reason: we have a rich history of success within this program.”

The U.S. takes on Thailand in their first match of the World Cup Tuesday before matchups with Chile and Sweden in Group F days later. Getting out of group play and reaching the knockout stage is almost a formality for the USWNT, who is the best team of the group by far and should go undefeated.

The U.S. sits atop the FIFA Women’s World Cup rankings. Sweden is ranked ninth. Thailand and Chile are 34th and 39th, respectively.

After shutting out Mexico 3-0 on May 26 in a final tuneup before the World Cup, the U.S. had better odds than any of the other 23 teams in the field. That has since changed with the host nation now leading the way.

Four days after the start of the tournament, France (+270) has the best odds to win the World Cup at New Jersey’s FanDuel Sportsbook. They are the only team that’s ahead of the U.S. (+340). England (+650) and Germany (+650) are the only other teams with better than 10/1 World Cup odds.

France is the only team that’s beaten the U.S. during their stretch of dominance in the lead up to the World Cup, beating the defending champs 3-1 on Jan. 19 in Le Havre, France. The two teams could be headed for a rematch in the World Cup semifinals, this time in Paris.

“I think they are, in my opinion, the favorite, for sure,” U.S. forward Rapinoe said of France, who kicked off the 2019 World Cup with a 4-0 shutout of South Korea, via ESPN. “I don't say that to play mind games. They're a fantastic team. They're home. They're going to have, obviously, a home crowd with them every time. We felt that in the last World Cup, even though it was in Canada, it felt like a home World Cup for us. In some of those tighter games, that was definitely a big boost for us.

“For me, I consider them the favorites and I feel like all the pressure is on them.”

Defeating France on their home turf won’t be easy for the USWNT, but if anyone can do it, it’s this group.

There is plenty of championship experience still on the U.S. team, which is loaded with some of the best players in the world. Morgan and Rapinoe are on that list, as are Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan and Julie Ertz. Carli Lloyd is back after winning the Golden Ball in the 2015 World Cup. Hope Solo is no longer in net, but the U.S. has a more than suitable replacement with goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

Anything short of a championship will be considered a failure for the U.S., and this team rarely fails.

Prediction: Team USA wins the 2019 World Cup