The finalists of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019, the United States and Netherlands, are set to meet earlier this time, as fellow members of Group D in this year’s edition, in Australia and New Zealand.
The United States of America, the most successful team in the history of the Women’s World Cup, has won the last two editions of the tournament. But the group promises to deliver surprises with two debutants, Vietnam and Portugal, looking to shine.
The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) has, over the years, established itself as a mentality monster on the biggest stage of world football, the FIFA World Cup.
With four titles in eight editions of the tournament, the USWNT does not need an introduction about how dangerous it can prove to be, at the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand later this month.
The team, however, will miss the presence of captain Becky Sauerbrunn at the back, who is out with a foot injury, and forward Mallory Swanson in front, who is ruled out with a patella tendon.
However, with veteran Julie Ertz at the heart of the midfield and Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe ensuring a strong core in attack, Vlatko Andonovski’s side will look to complete a hat-trick of World Cup titles this time.
USA in World Cups
Vietnam created history when became the first football team from the country, men or women, to qualify for a World Cup. After losing to China in the AFC Asian Cup 2022 quarterfinal, Vietnam played in a round-robin qualification campaign for the World Cup.
Having defeated Thailand, it was Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy’s strike against Chinese Taipei that secured a sport for Vietnam in the World Cup.
Though the team has not played any of the teams in its group, Mai Duc Chung’s side will hope to capitalise on the strength of its captain Huynh Nhu, who has 67 goals in 72 appearances and midfielder Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung, who has the most number of international appearances for Vietnam.
Vietnam in World Cups:
When the Netherlands enters the World Cup, it would have its eyes set on the United States – a team it lost to in the World Cup final, four years ago.
Two of the most important absentees from that final for the Oranje will be head coach Sarina Wiegman, who moved on to coach England since and forward Vivianne Miedema, who is ruled out with an ACL injury before the tournament.
Netherlands Women were eliminated from the 2022 Euros, after a loss to France in the quarterfinals under head coach Mark Parsons. For the World Cup, they have Andries Jonker as the gaffer – someone who has experience of working with Louis Van Gaal and Arsene Wenger.
The Netherlands has never been the same since Wiegman left and it will look to change just that, in Australia and New Zealand this time.
Netherlands in World Cups:
Portugal has never beaten any of its opponents in the group but comes into the World Cup, brimming with confidence.
The team secured its spot in the tournament in dramatic fashion. In the Inter-confederation playoff against Cameroon, Portugal trailed 0-1 for 89 minutes when Ajara Nchout struck to equalise.
Four minutes into the second-half injury time, it got a penalty and Carole Costa, one of its most-experienced players scored to seal a spot in Australia and New Zealand. Like Vietnam, it is also a debutant in the World Cup and will hope to make it memorable, just like its road to the tournament.
Portugal in World Cups:
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