Group E will finally conclude on Tuesday after three chaotic rounds of matchday action, with the battle for progression going right down to the wire. On their debut appearance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Portugal find themselves in contention for a spot in the round-of-sixteen, which would be nothing less than a remarkable result in this tricky Group of Death.
The Seleção das Quinas have impressed since the start of this tournament, despite suffering a slender defeat to the Netherlands in their opening match. Francisco Neto’s side were able to record a comfortable win over Vietnam though on Matchday Two, ensuring they would truly pile the pressure onto the reigning World Champions in their final group stage match.
The United States are truly a force to be reckoned with in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and Vlatko Andonovski’s side will be looking to achieve a historic three-peat by lifting the trophy again on August 20. Firstly though, they must ensure they qualify from this group – which may be easier said than done against a Portuguese side that held England to a draw at the start of July.
Auckland’s Eden Park will host this dramatic clash, while Vietnam face the Netherlands concurrently in Dunedin. A win for either side in Auckland would seal their progress regardless of results elsewhere, while a draw would also be enough for the United States. Portugal could too progress with just a point, though they’d be relying on Vietnam recording a shock win over the Netherlands. The United States would bow out of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in spectacular fashion if they suffered defeat to Portugal and the Netherlands managed at least a draw against Vietnam.
Arguably, the pressure is firmly weighing on American shoulders ahead of this fierce battle in Auckland. Elimination in the group stages would be nothing less than a catastrophic result for Vlatko Andonovski’s side, who were billed as the clear favourites ahead of the tournament to lift the trophy on August 20. Portugal will feel that they’re deserving of a spot in the knockout stages, but it wouldn’t be awful if they didn’t qualify – this is their debut appearance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup after all.
Fatima Pinto was forced to watch Portugal’s win over Vietnam from the sidelines after sustaining a knee injury, and she’s likely to miss out on this match too. Telma Encarnação is expected to retain her place in the starting lineup, having bagged the Seleção das Quinas’ first-ever goal on the global stage.
Vlatko Andonovski is expected to name an unchanged lineup from the United States’ draw with the Netherlands, as Rose Lavelle is once again expected to start on the bench.
Portugal: Morais; Borges, Costa, Seica; Alves, Jacinto, T. Pinto, Marchao; Nazareth; J. Silva, Encarnacao
United States: Naeher; Fox, Ertz, Girma, Dunn; Sullivan, DeMelo, Horan; Rodman, Smith, Morgan
Where can I watch?
Kick-off at Auckland’s Eden Park is scheduled for 8:00am on Tuesday, 1st August 2023. The coverage will begin at 7:30am on ITV1 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.