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Which countries are in the USWNT’s group in the 2023 Women’s World Cup?

Three talented nations seek to give the USWNT a run for their money in the group stage of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

It is hard to believe, but the USWNT attempt at a record third straight Women’s World Cup is right around the corner. Behind the improvement from women’s leagues around the world including the Women’s Super League, National Women’s Soccer League, and the Frauen-Bundesliga among others, this is bound to be the most competitive World Cup in history. Back in late October, the USWNT learned their fate. The competition right out of the gate for the world No. 1 includes three nations that are currently top-35 in the FIFA World Rankings.

Vlatko Andonovski’s side begins Group E action on July 22 in New Zealand (or July 21 in the United States), two days after the tournament kicks off with New Zealand v Norway at Eden Park. The stars and stripes conclude group play a whole four days before the knockout stages playing either the Group G winner or runner-up depending on where they end up after the first three matches of the competition.

Despite Sweden not being in the United States group, it could very well be a possibility with the Swedish featuring in Group G along with South Africa, Italy, and Argentina, they could be knockout stage opponents for the U.S. Here are the three other countries with the USWNT that make up Group E:

Wome’s World Cup Group E competitors:

1. Vietnam

Manager: Mai Đức Chung

Confederation: Asian Football Confederation (AFC)

FIFA World Ranking: #33

Having not played their first competitive match until 1997, the Vietnamese Women’s National Team has never made the World Cup until this year. With a 2-1 victory over Chinese Taipei which included a second-half winner by Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy, Chung’s side booked a place on February 6, 2022, in the pot of teams in the draw. Just two World Cup cycles ago, the red and yellow had lost to Australia 11-0 in a friendly. The team has come a long way since then, promoting Chung back to manager as they continued to build a side in an attempt for an eventual qualification.

It was an absolute scene at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai as the Vietnamese pulled off the upset. This side has gone 6-1 so far in 2023 as the team captain and only player that does not compete for a Vietnamese club team Huynh Nhu scored five goals in those seven contests combined.

The world is going to learn a lot about this side with friendlies against Germany, New Zealand, and Spain before they open up World Cup play against the USWNT. Many might count out this team pretty easily, but don’t be surprised if Vietnam gives one or maybe two of these teams in this group a challenging match.

2. Netherlands

Manager: Andries Jonker

Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)

FIFA World Ranking: #8

This is going to be a treat. The world is going to get a rematch of the 2019 Women’s World Cup final in the group stage with the Netherlands being drawn into Group E. Two goals within an eight-minute span in the second 45 minutes by the United States were enough to propel the North American side to a repeat title.

Without star Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema, the Dutch may not have the same sort of relentlessness up top. Miedema was the only player on the roster in 2019 that had more than two goals over the course of the tournament. Despite that, this is still an extremely talented bunch that has the capability to test the United States.

The preliminary squad includes Paris Saint-Germain attacker Lieke Martens, Victoria Pelova, Daniëlle van de Donk, Romée Leuchter, and Juventus’ Lineth Beerensteyn among others. Jonker will have to drop seven names from the roster he announced a week ago before the World Cup begins.

It will be Jonker’s second tenure with the Dutch Women’s National Team as he was the side’s interim coach for a short time during 2001. With a disappointing European tournament behind them, Jonker seeks to do what Mark Parsons hoped to do when he held the leadership role in 2022. Martens, who scored a goal in the side’s most recent 4-1 friendly win over Poland is going to be relied a whole lot more than she has in the past to find the back of the net.

The Oranje needed a win in Jonker’s first match in charge against Iceland in order to qualify for this summer’s festivities. A stoppage-time finish from way outside the box by 19-year-old PSV attacker Esmee Brugts sent the Netherlands to their third consecutive World Cup.

Beerensteyn, and Wolfsburg’s Jill Roord are also players to keep an eye on as Jonker attempts to fill the hole of a player that is the country’s all-time leading scorer with 95 goals in 115 appearances. They may not be the 2019 Dutch side, but that does not mean they cannot make any noise this summer. The Oranje have only qualified for three Women’s World Cups, and never have they not made it out of the group stage.

3. Portugal

Manager: Francisco Neto

Confederation: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)

FIFA World Ranking: #21

Group E includes two sides that are making their debut in the World Cup. Vietnam is one, and Francisco Neto’s Portuguese side is the second. On February 22, 2023, at Waikato Stadium against Cameroon, Portugal used Benfica defender Carole Costa’s penalty in the 94′ to qualify for the nation’s first Women’s World Cup. The African side equalized the match in the 89′ through Inter Milan’s Ajara Nchout, but Costa’s clutch gene proved to be the difference.

The European side finished third in their World Cup qualifying group for the 2019 competition, a whole eight points behind Belgium for a play-off position. Last summer in England, Neto’s side finished last in their Euros group which included Sweden and the Netherlands. The only point they managed was a 2-2 come-from-behind draw against Switzerland. Even with the side only being able to secure one point, the Portuguese challenged the Dutch with the fixture level in the 47′. Parson’s side would find their third breakthrough of the contest to lock up the three points, but it was a performance to be proud of.

Just a few days ago, Neto announced a squad of 25 players which he is going to have to shrink to 23 within the coming weeks. Their attack is led by former Lyon and Kansas City Current attacker Jessica Silva and youngster Kika Nazareth who had five goal contributions in five World Cup qualifying contests en route to qualification. The defense is going to have the provide stability for this team with Rebelo, and Costa both above 33 years of age. Grabbing a win in this group with two top-eight sides in the FIFA rankings is not very likely. Neto and the A Selecção das Quinas should view this as some valuable experience with their eyes on a third-place finish.

USWNT group schedule: 

Match #1: USWNT vs Vietnam, July 21, 2023, 9:00 p.m. EST
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
How to watch: FOX Sports

Match #2: USWNT vs Netherlands, July 26, 2023, 9:00 p.m. EST
Venue: Sky Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand
How to watch: FOX Sports

Match #3: USWNT vs Portugal, August 1, 2023, 3:00 a.m. EST
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
How to watch: FOX Sports

Check out our Women’s World Cup and NWSL hub pages for more news, analysis, opinion and unique women’s soccer coverage. And don’t forget to follow FOR(E) on Twitter, FanSided’s home for women’s sports.

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Denise T. Jones

Denise T. Jones is a passionate sports enthusiast with a knack for capturing the electrifying essence of the sporting world. As a dedicated sports news writer for AccessTV.co, Denise brings her unparalleled love for sports and her adept storytelling skills to deliver captivating and insightful content to readers worldwide. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of various sports disciplines, Denise ensures that her articles provide comprehensive coverage of the latest events, matches, and developments in the sports realm. Whether it's the thrill of the game-winning goal, the drama of a nail-biting finish, or the heartwarming stories of triumph against all odds, Denise encapsulates it all with eloquence and precision. Denise's journey in sports journalism has been marked by her unwavering commitment to accuracy, integrity, and excellence. Her ability to blend statistical analysis with compelling narratives sets her apart as a trusted voice in the industry. From the adrenaline-pumping action on the field to the strategic maneuvers off it, Denise brings every aspect of the sporting world to life through her writing. With a finger on the pulse of the sports scene, Denise T. Jones continues to inspire and inform readers with her dynamic and engaging sports coverage on AccessTV.co.

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