When Group E was drawn back in October of 2022, the 2019 World Cup final rematch was all the buzz. The United States won that game, famously, two to zero. The first goal came from an ice-cold Megan Rapinoe penalty kick. The second goal came from young superstar Rose Lavelle, catapulting the midfielder to international fame. That game added a fourth star to the USWNT crest, and they’ll have to play it again if they want to add a fifth.
The United States and the Netherlands will clash on Wednesday, July 26th at 9 pm EST. It’s the second game of the group stage for both teams. Here’s how their first games went and what to expect when they meet again.
THE GROUP STAGE
The United States won their first group stage match three to zero against World Cup debutants Vietnam. But the win didn’t come easy for this team, which is surprising considering they are still ranked the number-one team in the world.
The States had break-out stars as usual, with Sophia Smith getting a brace and an assist in this match. But the final touch wasn’t there a lot of the time, and the team looked disconnected in important moments. Almost on the edge of their seats, the USWNT appeared anxious, making passes too quickly and moving the ball with a lack of purpose.
Granted, they were in a new formation with many players getting their first World Cup caps. But they need to work on their patience and detail work in order to beat the Dutch.
The Netherlands took on Portugal on Sunday, July 23rd, and came away with a one-to-zero victory. But they’ll be disappointed that the scoreline wasn’t higher.
The Portuguese, who are at their first World Cup, struggled against a well-organized Dutch side. The Netherlands saw their fair share of chances and got one up early in the thirteenth minute, which sealed the momentum for the rest of the game. It was a beautiful header from Stefanie van der Gragt off a corner kick and was almost ruled offside, but VAR overturned that call and gave them the lead.
They were particularly dangerous in set pieces and corner kicks, something the United States will have to make note of.
The current group E standings have the United States on top based on goal difference, and they have to win this game if they want to stay that way. The Netherlands are ranked in the top ten as well, currently sitting ninth in the FIFA rankings.
These two sides have met ten times before, with the USWNT leading that history with eight wins.
THINGS TO NOTE
While it’s worth noting that the Netherlands are missing their star striker Vivianne Miedema, it would be a dire mistake to underestimate the Dutch who will certainly be seeking revenge for their 2019 defeat. They are a tough side to break down, with a strong midfield and dangerous in the air.
But they often play a three-back and tend to clear balls rather than settle them in the backline. The USWNT could take advantage of that if they can get some of their speedy players in behind and take advantage of those long balls with quick turnovers.
This will be an excellent game to cap off a day of great matchups, as both sides set out with something to prove to compete for the top of the group.