In a crucial double header in Group E of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, the United States faced Portugal, while the Netherlands took on Vietnam. The matches took place simultaneously, with both games kicking off at 9 am local time.
In the USA vs Portugal match, the United States needed at least a draw to secure their spot in the knockout stages, while Portugal needed a win. The FIFA rankings favoured the USA, who were ranked 1st, compared to Portugal’s 21st ranking.
The match between the USA and Portugal took place in Auckland, New Zealand. Right from the kick-off, the USA pressed Portugal, with forward Alex Morgan getting involved in battles with the Portuguese defence. However, Portugal looked confident on the ball, and the USA struggled to impose themselves on the game.
In the 29th minute, the USA had their first big chance as Morgan squared the ball into the middle, but Portugal’s goalkeeper Ines Pereira made a great save to deny the USA. Portugal held their own and looked strong after the first half-hour.
In the 39th minute, Rose Lavelle received a yellow card, ruling her out of any potential next game. The first half ended with a scoreline of 0-0.
The second half kicked off, with both teams knowing that the next 45 minutes would decide their fate in the tournament. The USA won a free kick early on, but Lavelle’s shot went over the bar. Portugal had a free kick of their own, but the USA cleared it with ease.
In the 51st minute, Portugal’s Diana Silva was down after a high boot from the USA’s Sophia Smith. Smith received a yellow card, drawing boos from the crowd. The game continued with both teams struggling to find a rhythm in the second half.
As the clock ticked, Portugal made a substitution, and the USA made two changes to their lineup. The match saw several yellow cards being given out, including one for Portugal’s Diana Gomes for a challenge on Morgan.
The attendance was announced as the largest ever crowd for a football match in New Zealand, as the game entered its final minutes. Portugal had a chance to score in the 90+1 minute, hitting the post, but the USA’s goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher, was beaten. In the 90+4 minute, Portugal had another chance, but Naeher came out to claim the ball.
The match ended in a 0-0 draw, with the USA advancing to the Round of 16 and Portugal being knocked out. Portugal could be proud of their World Cup debut, while the USA looked rattled throughout the game.
In the other Group E match between the Netherlands and Vietnam, the Netherlands made no changes to their lineup from the previous game, while Vietnam set up defensively with five at the back. Vietnam had already been eliminated from the tournament, while the Netherlands had the potential to secure a spot in the knockout stages.
From the start, Vietnam’s supporters made themselves heard, and the team launched an early attack, winning a corner. However, the Netherlands didn’t deal with it well, and Lieke Martens opened the scoring in the 8th minute. Just three minutes later, Katja Snoeijs made it 2-0 for the Netherlands.
In the 18th minute, Esmee Brugts scored an impressive goal to make it 3-0 for the Netherlands, and Jill Roord added a fourth goal in the 23rd minute. The Netherlands dominated possession, playing superb attacking football.
The first half ended with a scoreline of 5-0 in favour of the Netherlands, with goals from five different scorers. The Netherlands had over 70% possession and showcased their dominance throughout the half.
In the second half, the Netherlands continued to control the game. Brugts scored her second goal of the match in the 57th minute, extending the Netherlands’ lead to 6-0. Despite good pressure from Vietnam, the Netherlands remained in control.
The match saw several substitutions from both teams, with Vietnam making changes and the Netherlands making tactical moves. In the 73rd minute, the Netherlands scored their seventh goal through Roord’s header.
The Netherlands had a total of 40 shots at goal throughout the game, showcasing their attacking prowess. Vietnam had some chances, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
The match ended with a final score of 7-0 in favour of the Netherlands. With this victory, the Netherlands secured their place in the knockout stages as group winners. Vietnam, on the other hand, exited the tournament without scoring a goal.
Overall, it was a thrilling double-header in Group E of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, with both the USA and the Netherlands advancing to the next round. Portugal and Vietnam can be proud of their performances in the tournament, despite being knocked out.
Photo Credit: Mixed emotions as a crucial double header in Group E of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 saw the United States edge Portugal out of the knockout rounds, while the Netherlands hammered Vietnam for top of the log laurels. Photo: (c) FIFA