US fights back to draw with Netherlands at Women’s World Cup

In a closely-fought battle and rematch of the 2019 World Cup final, the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) and the Netherlands – two of the world’s top teams – came to a 1-1 draw on Thursday at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Chants of “U-S-A, U-S-A!” reverberating around the Wellington Regional Stadium as the team faced the Netherlands in their second match of the tournament soon dissipated after the Dutch took an early lead.

Midfielder Jill Roord put the Netherlands on the board in the 17th minute, finding the back of the net past USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

It was the first time the USWNT trailed in a Women’s World Cup match since 2011 in the quarterfinal against Brazil. Prior to Thursday, the US had gone 17 straight matches without trailing – the longest streak by any team in the tournament’s history.

The Netherlands, meanwhile, was hungry for revenge after their 2-0 loss to the US in the 2019 World Cup.

Despite trailing at the half, the USWNT outshot the Netherlands 9-2 in the first half – and all their scoring chances finally came to fruition in the 62nd minute.

US captain Lindsey Horan scored the equalizer with a thumping header from a corner kick, prompting ecstatic celebrations in the stands.

Just a few minutes later, the USWNT thought they had gone ahead after forward Alex Morgan found the back of the net – but she was offside and the goal was disallowed.

Despite five minutes of added stoppage time, both teams weren’t able to best each other by the time the final whistle blew.

With the draw, the USWNT extends their unbeaten streak to 19 matches at the World Cup – the longest in tournament history for both men’s and women’s editions.

Speaking after the match, Horan called it “unbelievable” that the team was able to come back and score the equalizer to avoid a loss in the group stage.

“I felt the momentum the whole time,” Horan said. “I think the first half we could be a little disappointed in how we played but I think we fixed things right away. The pressure that we got on, the amount of chances and opportunities that came from it – so proud of the team and their response.”

Horan was also complimentary of the Dutch side, following the recent history between the two teams.

“It’s against a really good opponent. Very competitive team and one that we saw last World Cup do such good things. So for us, it’s going down a goal and coming up and getting able to tie … we keep moving forward,” Horan added.

Dutch goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar also praised her team’s performance after the match, saying they had “worked really hard” and been in frequent possession of the ball.

“I think we were very calm, especially the first half,” she said. “The second half, they dominated more of the game and they had more chances. But after all, we can be very proud of ourselves.”

Later on Thursday in a clash of fellow Group E contestants and two World Cup debutants, Portugal beat Vietnam 2-0 in the New Zealand city of Hamilton.

Telma Encarnação opened the scoring in the opening 10 minutes before Francisca Nazareth gave Portugal a well-deserved two-goal cushion.

Despite constant Portuguese pressure, the European side was unable to extend its lead further but picks up a vital three points as it seeks to reach the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup for the first time ever.

With two defeats in its first two games, Vietnam has been eliminated.

Back-to-back defending champions USA are next scheduled to face Portugal on August 1, while the Netherlands goes against Vietnam that same day.

The group matches conclude after August 3, with the tournament then moving into the knockout stage with the 16 remaining teams.

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