(CBS Sports Radio) The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup begins June 7 in France, and Team USA is ready to defend its crown, though it will do so without several familiar faces from the 2015 squad, including Abby Wambach, Christie Rampone and Shannon Boxx.
What are the first-timers feeling right now? Butterflies? Excitement? Nerves?
"It's all of that combined, actually," U.S. Women's National Team member Crystal Dunn said in studio on "The DA Show" on Tuesday. "I think this World Cup is going to be really interesting because a lot of us are going to our first World Cup ever. I think four years ago there was a lot of experience. There were so many players that played in two, three World Cups at that time. So it's going to be a lot of people's first, and there's obviously going to be nerves. People have never been in this position before. But (it's) mostly excitement."
Dunn is set to make her first World Cup appearance. Mallory Pugh, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Samantha Mewis and Tierna Davidson are expected to be among the other first-timers on Jill Ellis' final roster. They will try to uphold the standard of a team that won the World Cup in 1991, 1999, and, of course, 2015.
"It's a lot of pressure," Dunn said. "I think pressure is good as long as we don't let it break us and we actually embrace it and just put out our best performance. We obviously understand we're the defending champion and there's a lot of eyes on us, but ultimately, it's about maintaining that same standard that you have and setting the bar high every time you step on the field."
Even with a lot of new faces on the squad, Dunn expects the team to play with the same chemistry and continuity that have made the USWNT a fan favorite and the No. 1 ranked team in the world.
"It's kind of interesting on a team sport because you have young players, you have older players, you have veterans," Dunn said. "But ultimately, when you step in between those lines, you're just a player. I've always tried to step on the field and say, 'I'm going to try to be the best player - not the best older player or the best younger player. I'm just a player.' The more we can just have that mentality going into this tournament, the better off we're going to be. No one should feel like, 'Oh, I'm young, I'm inexperienced, I don't know if I can perform.' No, you're just a player on this team, and you're going to help us win."
The Americans are in Group F with Thailand, Chile, and Sweden. They open against Thailand on June 11, with matches against Chile and Sweden to follow on June 16 and June 20, respectively.