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Plunged into an Olympic hole, the USWNT now must prove it can still fight like hell out of it

TOKYO — Even as they stacked up victories and championships, even as they were celebrated and decorated in ways women before them could never have imagined, this core group from the United States soccer team always focused on their grit more than talent.

This was a team full of fury and fight, they'd tell you, mentally and physically tough, the best in the world because they could always dig deeper and push harder. It wasn’t just skill. It wasn’t just tactics. That was their mantra, at least. You can’t argue with the results.

Now, after a shocking and humiliating 3-0 loss to Sweden in their Olympic opener, the Americans are going to have to prove it, this time in a way they never have before.