Everyone loves an underdog story – especially in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, as the minnows manage to topple one of football’s giants to send shockwaves throughout the competition. Unfortunately, stories such as these are hard to come across in the World Cup’s Group of Death.
For Vietnam, there was no chance at all to tell this story. Consisting of the reigning World Champions and the 2019 runners-up, Group E has squashed, chewed and spat out Vietnam in their first ever outing in the competition. It could get even worse for the Golden Star Women Warriors this Tuesday with an unwanted record looming.
Their opponents, the Netherlands, remain in contention for progression to the knockouts and will look to send them home without so much as a whimper. This Tuesday’s clash in Dunedin will provide all the answers – as well the final positions in this hotly contested group. Vietnam have undoubtedly been one of the worst sides at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, as they’re yet to create a single big chance in the competition and have the lowest expected goal ratio of all countries in Australia and New Zealand.
However, for any country to be drawn and progress from this group would be a challenge for even the competition’s best. For a country playing in the competition for the first time against some of the world’s best, it’s no longer a challenge – but an impossible task.
In their matches against the USA and Portugal, Vietnam conceded five and failed to score a single goal. If they lose on Tuesday without reply, the Golden Star Women Warriors will be taking home the record of being only the second Asian team in the competition’s history to lose all of their group stage matches without scoring a goal.
With Vietnam already on their way home regardless of Tuesday’s result, they’ll potentially be looking to force an upset to avoid this unwanted record and leave with at least some dignity intact. Even scoring their first goal at a FIFA Women’s World Cup could be enough for their fans to go home happy.
The Oranjeleeuwinnen are back with a vengeance this summer after losing the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup final to the USA. While they couldn’t get revenge by beating The Stars and Stripes last Thursday, the Dutch earned a point against the World Champions and beat Portugal in their opening match. It puts them 2nd in the group – level on points with USA, and a point clear of Portugal. It ensures that they’re in prime position to continue their World Cup journey into the knockouts with an eye for glory.
The squad boasts some of the world’s best players in Victoria Pelova, Kerstin Casparij and Katja Snoeijs, who all play in the WSL. Consequently, the Dutch are one of the few countries with enough talent to stop the USA from winning their third FIFA Women’s World Cup in a row. However, before they can think about the final on August 20th, the Oranjeleeuwinnen’s focus remains on this Tuesday.
Victory over Vietnam will secure their place in the knockout stage, regardless of the outcome of the concurrent clash between Portugal and the USA. If the Dutch can only manage a draw, they will need the USA to avoid defeat to qualify. If they lose against Vietnam, they can still progress if the USA beat Portugal.
Their place in the knockouts is seemingly secure, given victory for them and the USA is almost a formality – although it’s never too late for an upset in this unpredictable competition and complacency can often be the Achilles’ heel of football’s best.
The conclusion to Group E will be hosted solely in New Zealand, as Portugal take on the USA at Eden Park simultaneously with the clash at Dunedin Stadium. The Dutch will be keeping an eye on the clash in Auckland, especially if proceedings don’t go their way in Dunedin. Victory over Vietnam will secure their place regardless, and it’s all they will be focused on.
However, the Golden Star Women Warriors might fancy their chances to avoid going home with an unwanted record. So, can Vietnam ruin their tournament and send the Oranjeleeuwinnen packing, or will the Dutch continue their quest for World Cup glory? All will be revealed at full time in Dunedin.
Vietnam have a fully fit and available squad. The Netherlands also boast a mostly fit and available squad – however, there are doubts over the availability of Lineth Beerensteyn, who missed the second match through injury. Katja Snoeijs is likely to start in her place if she remains unavailable.
Vietnam: TT Kim Thanh; H Thi Loan, T Thi Thu, LT Thu Thuong, TT Thu Thao; Tha Nguyen, Thai, Duong, B Nguyen; Huynh Nhu
The Netherlands: Van Domselaar; Spitse, Van der Gragt, Janssen; Pelova, Roord, Groenen, Van de Donk, Brugts; Snoeijs, Martens
Where can I watch?
Kick-off at Dunedin Stadium is scheduled for 8:00am on Tuesday, 1st August 2023. The coverage will begin at 7:30am on ITV4 and ITVX. If you’re unable to watch the match, fear not – we’ll have a detailed match report published within minutes of the final whistle.