At the Women's World Cup, the USA faces the Netherlands — a rematch of the 2019 final
Updated July 26, 2023 at 7:39 AM ET
This is a rematch of the 2019 final - a game won by the U.S. This time, a victory (or tie) is crucial for both teams to remain at the top of the group stage and all but guarantee advancing to the tournament's knockout round next month.
"This is going to be an incredibly difficult matchup, very challenging," U.S. forward Alex Morgan said a day before the game against the ninth-ranked Netherlands.
The U.S. is the two-time defending champion and ranked number one - but did not look dominant or cohesive in its opening 3-0 win against Vietnam last week. Likewise, the Dutch squeaked by 21st-ranked and WWC newcomer Portugal 1-0 in their group play opener.
Speaking to reporters about the U.S. performance against Vietnam, Morgan said, "I think we saw a lot of glimpses of our potential, but I feel like we weren't always clicking on the field." This is Vietnam's first-ever appearance at the Women's World Cup but the squad kept up with the Americans most of the match.
"I feel like some of the plays that we had were a little forced or rushed," said Morgan.
The opening match with Vietnam was a wake-up call for the U.S. Defender Sofia Huerta said the team is doubling down in its focus for the Netherlands and realizes this game will be a lot tougher. "It doesn't matter what ranking you are, you know, anything can happen."
The U.S. match against the Netherlands in Wellington, New Zealand, kicks off Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET and can be viewed on Fox Sports and Telemundo.
Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.