Preview: USWNT Face Portugal In Final Group Stage Match at 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

Courtesy of ussoccer.com. Read original article here.



Leading the group with four points and a plus-three goal differential, the USA can advance to the Round of 16 with a win or draw against Portugal. The USA could even advance to the knockout rounds with a loss to the Portuguese but that would call for the unlikely scenario of a Vietnam win over the Netherlands with USA keeping its lead of the Dutch on goal differential.

The USA will win the group with a victory over Portugal and a loss or draw by the Netherlands against Vietnam. The Americans could also top the group with a win and a Netherlands win, provided the Dutch do not catch the USA on goal differential, which is the first tie breaker. If level on goal differential, the next tiebreaker is goals scored, followed by Fair Play points.


Cal South alumni in blue

GOALKEEPERS (3): Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit; 1), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 14), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 93)

DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 25/1), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage; 31/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 134/24), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 18/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 31/0), Kelley O’Hara (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 158/3), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign; 75/1)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC; 3/0), Julie Ertz (Angel City FC; 120/20), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 131/29), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 90/24), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 51/7), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 25/3), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 47/3)

FORWARDS (6): Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC; 209/121), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 200/63), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 20/4), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 32/14), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC; 5/0), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 53/15)


The World Cup format calls for seven matches to win the tournament, including four in the knockout rounds, up from six matches it took to win the Women’s World Cups for all the tournaments from 1991-2011. The top two teams from each of the eight groups will qualify for the Round of 16. The USA is making its ninth appearance in a FIFA Women’s World Cup and is one of seven countries to appear in all nine editions of the tournament. The others are Brazil, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Norway and Sweden.

The USA has a history of strong starts at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and has been highly successful in the group stage, posting an all-time record of 21W-4D-1L in group stage matches and unbeaten in its last eight.


With her goal to equalize against Netherlands, midfielder and team captain Lindsey Horan has now played a part in a goal in five of her six FIFA Women’s World Cup starts (4 goals, 1 assist), including in each of the last four. Horan is the third USWNT player to contribute to a goal in at least four straight FIFA Women’s World Cup starts after Carli Lloyd and Abby Wambach.

With a goal against Portugal, Horan would become the first player in USWNT history to score a goal in all three group stage matches in a single FIFA Women’s World Cup.


The August 1 matchup in Auckland will be the 11th meeting all-time between the USA and Portugal and the fifth in the last six years. The U.S. has won all 10 previous meetings and has outscored the Portuguese 39-0 overall in the series, though two of the last four meetings have been decided by a single goal.

The USA and Portugal played most recently on June 10, 2021, in Houston, Texas, which resulted in a 1-0 win for the USA behind a 76th-minute header from Samantha Mewis. While the USA didn’t get on board until late in the second half, the Americans dominated on both ends of the pitch, outshooting Portugal 26-4, serving in 32 open play crosses and racking up 15 corner kicks.

Prior to that, the USA and Portugal played twice following the 2019 World Cup, a 4-0 win for the Americans in Philadelphia and a 3-0 victory in Minnesota.

Four of the previous 10 meetings between the teams took place at the Algarve Cup in Portugal. Lindsey Horan made her debut for the USWNT at the 2013 Algarve Cup, earning her first cap against China PR.

Emily Fox earned her first cap for the USWNT against Portugal in November of 2018, starting against the Portuguese in a 1-0 victory for the Americans in Estoril, Portugal.

  • The USA’s starting lineup in its first two group stage matches featured five players who were part of the 2019 Women’s World Cup championship squad and six players making their FIFA Women’s World Cup debut in the match against Vietnam.
  • The USA lineup against Vietnam and Netherlands averaged 27.8 years of age, making it the youngest lineup to start a World Cup match for the USWNT since 2007.
  • Sophia Smith and Horan lead the USA with two goals each this World Cup while Smith, Alex Morgan and Rose Lavelle have tallied assists so far this tournament.
  • Six players – Alyssa Naeher, Naomi Girma, Julie Ertz, Andi Sullivan, Lindsey Horan and Sophia Smith – have played every minute so far for the USA at this World Cup.
  • Eight players made their World Cup debuts against Vietnam – Savannah DeMelo (who also made her first USWNT start), Naomi Girma, Emily Fox, Andi Sullivan, Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman, 18-year-old Alyssa Thompson and Sofia Huerta.
  • Alex Morgan is the top scorer on the USA’s World Cup roster with 121 goals. Megan Rapinoe has 63, Lindsey Horan has 29, Dunn and Lavelle each have 24 and Ertz has 20.

FIFA World Ranking: 21
UEFA Ranking: 14
World Cup Appearances: N/A
Best World Cup Finish: N/A
Record vs. USA: 0W-0D-10L (GF: 0; GA: 39)
Head Coach: Francisco Neto (POR)


Goalkeepers (3): 1-Ines Pereira (Servette FC), 22-Rute Costa (SL Benfica), 12-Patrícia Morais (SC Braga)

Defenders (8): 17-Ana Seiça (SL Benfica), 15-Carole (SL Benfica), 2-Catarina Amado (SL Benfica), 19-Diana Gomes (Sevilla FC), 5-Joana Marchão (Parma Calcio 2022), 3-Lúcia Alves (SL Benfica), 4-Silvia Rebelo (SL Benfica), 9-Ana Borges (Sporting CP)

Midfielders (6): 7-Ana Rute (SC Braga), 8-Andreia Norton (SL Benfica), 6-Andreia Jacinto (Real Sociedad), 14-Dolores Silva (SC Braga), 13-Fátima Pinto (Deportivo Alavés), 11-Tatiana Pinto (Levante UD)

Forwards (6): 21-Ana Capeta (Sporting CP), 18-Carolina Mendes (SC Braga), 16-Diana Silva (Sporting CP), 10-Jéssica Silva (SL Benfica), 23-Telma Encarnação (CS Marítimo), 20-Kika Nazareth (SL Benfica)

  • The penultimate team to earn a berth to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Portugal qualified for its first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup by defeating Cameroon 2-1 to win Group A in the FIFA Inter-Confederation Playoffs on February 22, 2023.
  • Portugal received a semifinal bye in the Inter-Confederation Playoff and punched its ticket to it first Women’s World Cup when Carole Costa converted a penalty kick in second-half stoppage time to break a 1-1 deadlock with Cameroon.
  • Portugal qualified for the Inter-Confederation Playoff by way of the UEFA Playoffs, finishing with the fewest points of the three UEFA Playoff group winners, just one point behind the Republic of Ireland (20 points) and two back of Switzerland (22 points), both of whom advanced through to the final tournament after winning their respective playoffs.
  • Portugal finished second in UEFA Qualifying Group H, earning 22 points in its 10 qualifying group games (7W-1D-2L). Portugal tied Serbia in the opening match of qualification and lost both matchups against eventual group champion Germany, 3-1 in November of 2021 and 3-0 in April of 2022.
  • By virtue of its second-place finish in the group, Portugal then advanced to the UEFA Playoffs, where it defeated Belgium in Round 1 by a score of 2-1 and prevailed 4-1 in an extra-time thriller against Iceland in Round 2.
  • Francisco Neto has served as head coach of the Portuguese Women’s National Team since 2014 and helped Portugal qualifying for its first ever UEFA Women’s Championship in 2017, as well as the nation’s first ever victory in the competition. Portugal qualified for the Euros again in 2022 but failed to advance out of the group.

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