The USWNT began its Women’s World Cup title defense in underwhelming fashion. It opened with a 3-0 win over Vietnam. The performance left much to be desired. Many expected a repeat of the 13-0 opening win over Thailand four years ago. But at the end of the day, the United States got all three points. Now the USWNT must turn its attention to the team that figures to give them the most trouble in this group stage. The final game four years ago may be able to provide a preview of the USWNT against the Netherlands on Wednesday night.
Performance against Vietnam
The headlines from the Vietnam game all belong to Sophia Smith. She managed to register two goals and an assist. She opened up the scoring in the 14th minute after a wonderful flick on by Alex Morgan. Then, just before halftime, she found the back of the net again. This time however the celebration was somewhat muted as there was a lengthy VAR review before the goal was awarded. And in the 77th minute, it was Smith’s hard work that led to Lindsey Horan’s goal from 15 yards out.
But the result being just 3-0 left some feeling concerned about this team’s chances of earning a three-peat. Considering this is Vietnam’s first-ever appearance in the tournament, it may be a justified concern. Far too many chances close to goal went awry, especially in the first half. The USWNT defense did not face many threats. Vietnam was practically unable to get out of its half.
The good news is that the US got all three points and in a tournament setting, that’s what is most important. Vlatko Andonovski will undoubtedly assess and possibly make tweaks as he readies for a rematch of the 2019 final against the Netherlands.
A USWNT preview of the Netherlands in this World Cup
Four years ago the Netherlands made something of a surprise run to the Women’s World Cup final. The side finished top of its group with nine points out of nine. The Netherlands got past Japan, Italy, and Sweden before falling to the US in the final. At the next two major tournaments, the 2020 Olympics and 2022 European Championships, Holland fell in the quarterfinals.
The Netherlands’ first game of the tournament was against another Women’s World Cup debutante in Portugal. The Portuguese gave a good account of themselves. The Dutch took the lead after just 13 minutes through Stefanie van der Gragt. It stayed 1-0 for the rest of the game. The Dutch had some close calls in defense in the second half but were still able to keep most of the ball. Similar to the US against Vietnam, the Netherlands let several quality scoring chances go to waste.
Manager Andries Jonker has had an interesting journey. To start, he was the interim manager for the Netherlands women’s team in 2001. Then, he was an assistant at Barcelona under the great Louis van Gaal. He followed that with several stops in the German Bundesliga with Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg.
His squad for this Women’s World Cup is full of experienced players. The aforementioned van der Gragt has 102 caps. In the midfield captain Sherida Spitse has a staggering 216 international appearances while Danielle van de Donk has amassed 140. Up front, it’s striker Lieke Martens with 145 career appearances for her country. The only position without much experience is in goal as the three goalkeepers have a combined 21 caps.
Kickoff and viewing
PHOTO: IMAGO & ZUMA Wire
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Women’s World Cup, Euro 2024 & Gold Cup
The New Home of MLS
- Price: $14.99/mo. for MLS Season Pass
- Watch every MLS game including playoffs & Leagues Cup
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $10.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $14.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & FA Cup
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $5.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & Brasileirāo