Photo courtesy of @USWNT via Twitter.

U.S. Women Squeak into Knockout Stage at World Cup

In the final match of the group stage, the U.S. Women’s national soccer team finished in a scoreless draw against Portugal. The loser of this match would be going home, but all the U.S. Women needed to move on was a draw.

Game Summary

The U.S. opened the match with a good amount of possession and forced three saves by Portuguese keeper Inês Pereira in the opening half hour. The best chance of the first half for the U.S. came in stoppage time after a long ball from Defender Naomi Girma landed at the feet of Forward Lynn Williams in the middle of the box. Williams took one touch and shot it off the bounce, but it landed in Pereira’s arms at the center of the goal.

The second half saw more balance in chances between the two sides. The U.S. had two more shots on goal, but both were saved. In second half stoppage time, Portugal had a long ball chance as forward Ana Capeta got past the American back line. Capeta took the shot and beat the keeper, but the ball hit the far post quelling Portugal’s best opportunity for victory. The final whistle sounded a few minutes later, ending the game 0-0.

Post Match Comments

Much criticism to the American squad came after the game, including former player and two-time World Cup champion Carli Lloyd. She disapproved of the dancing and smiling after the match. “The player of the match was that post,” Lloyd said. The U.S. has scored only one goal in the last two matches, both against European opposition.

Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski defended his team’s mentality in the postgame press conference. He said, “This team wanted to win this game more than anything else.” Andonovski has been the manager of the women’s national team since 2019 and has lost only five of his 64 matches with them.

By finishing second in the group, the U.S. will play the winner of Group G in the round of 16. Currently, Sweden leads that group with six points. Sweden is the No. 3 ranked team in the world, creating a difficult matchup for the Stars & Stripes in the first round of the knockout stage.

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