US Women’s Team Scrapes By, Advances in World Cup

World Cup

The suspense was palpable as the U.S. women’s team held their breath, on the verge of an unprecedented elimination during the group stage at the World Cup. However, as the old saying goes, they lived to fight another day.

In what could only be described as a nervy encounter, the four-time World Cup champions managed a hard-fought stalemate against Portugal, a team they had successfully bested in their last 10 meetings. The draw proved crucial, allowing the USWNT to secure a second-place finish in Group E, and thus advancing to the next round of the competition.

This underwhelming performance was far from what we’ve come to expect from such a decorated team. However, it’s not all doom and gloom as they have a chance to correct their course, albeit against a formidable opponent – the Swedes, their longtime rivals, in the round of 16.

While the Americans continue to trudge along in the tournament, their style of play raises concerns about their potential for a deep tournament run. The side seems to be lacking the killer instinct they’re renowned for, with near misses defining their game against Portugal. One could not overlook the near catastrophic moment when Portugal’s Ana Capeta nearly shattered their World Cup dreams. Her fierce strike during the second half’s stoppage time could have been the end of the road for the USWNT had it not been for the post.

Despite tactical changes, such as the introduction of Rose Lavelle into the starting lineup and Lynn Williams taking over from Trinity Rodman, the team struggled to create clear-cut chances. Their performance mirrored their prior lacklustre displays, with misplaced passes, squandered opportunities, and uncoordinated play plaguing their game.

Interestingly, an unforeseen fire alarm during the second half at Eden Park seemed to metaphorically signal the state of urgency for this USWNT team.

Having clinched the second spot in Group E, their path ahead is dotted with more challenging games in unfavourable hours for their stateside supporters. This situation arose as a result of the Netherlands’ commanding 7-0 win over Vietnam, which positioned them as the top team in Group E. This Dutch victory is worth noting, as it represents the most decisive win in the tournament so far.

The USWNT now faces the knockout stage of the World Cup, a result of their goalless draw with Portugal. Their next game is anticipated to be against a familiar opponent, Sweden, and is set to commence at 5 a.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 6.

The identity of their next challenger will not be confirmed for another day, but all signs point towards a rematch with the Swedes. As Group E runners-up, the USWNT will confront the winners of Group G. Sweden is currently topping this group and will end group play against Italy, the group’s current second-placed team.

History will replay itself as Sweden was the USWNT’s opponent in the first game of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, marking the ninth instance of these teams clashing in a major world championship. The USWNT suffered a significant blow in that match, losing 3-0. With this historical backdrop, the forthcoming possible encounter takes on an intriguing dimension, making it a must-watch clash for football enthusiasts worldwide.


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Written by Catie Moore

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