USA squeeze into World Cup knockout stage after surviving late Portugal scare | Women’s World Cup 2023

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As People half a world away slept by means of the evening unaware, or rose prematurely from their slumber to observe a World Cup match with a 3 am ET kickoff, america slept-walked by means of their last group-stage sport in opposition to Portugal, doing the naked minimal to advance to the knockout rounds of the 2023 World Cup.

Elsewhere, the Netherlands scored early and infrequently in opposition to Vietnam, operating out 7-0 winners to take the group with seven factors to USA’s 5 and a vastly superior purpose distinction. USA will now play the winner of Group G – both Sweden or Italy – in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday.

Portugal, the crew USA head coach Vlatko Andonovski described a day earlier as “conservative” of their method, managed the match within the first half and compelled the People to defend from a decrease place. Portugal loved extra possession and made extra entries into the ultimate third than the USA, ahead Jéssica Silva wreaking havoc as she drifted to the left facet of the People’ defence, popping up in pockets between full-back Crystal Dunn and center-back Naomi Girma.

Heading into the match, the entire discuss across the USA was about how disconnected and ineffective their strain was in opposition to the Netherlands. “We weren’t in sync” the midfielder Andi Sullivan stated of that 1-1 draw. Her teammates, and Andonovski, echoed these emotions.

Andonovski additionally identified how a lot the introduction of Rose Lavelle helped within the second half of that match, and Lavelle began on Tuesday for the primary time at this competitors. However within the first half, USA had been no higher than they’d been with out her

It was Portugal’s Silva who had the very best alternative on the finish of a breakaway 16 minutes into the match. Two central, vertical passes broke the USA’s traces and put her in behind, however she rushed her right-footed shot vast of purpose.

USA continued to present away the ball beneath little strain on the again, and Portugal continued to knock on the door. 5 minutes earlier than half-time, Kika Nazareth unleashed a right-footed shot from distance that dipped, swerved and simply missed the highest nook.

United States' Megan Rapinoe consoles Portugal's Jessica Silva after the full-time whistle.
United States’ Megan Rapinoe consoles Portugal’s Jessica Silva after the full-time whistle. {Photograph}: Rafaela Pontes/AP

Making issues worse for the US was the yellow card proven to Lavelle late within the first half – it meant she could be suspended for the following match ought to the US advance. Whether or not that will occur remained in query for everything of the match, right down to the ultimate seconds.

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The USA improved mildly within the second half however nonetheless did not string collectively constant passes. Needing a win to advance from the group at their first World Cup, Portugal managed the sport like they had been the two-time defending World Cup champions. And moments after coming off the bench, Ana Capeta ran behind the USA defence and slammed a shot off the put up.

That is the primary time since 2011 that the USA haven’t topped their World Cup group – and so they solely narrowly escaped the infamy of group-stage elimination.

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