The USWNT has had to settle for second place in Group E after drawing 0-0 with Portugal in their final group game.
Netherlands’ 7-0 victory over Vietnam in the group’s other fixture ensured Andries Jonker’s side topped the group at the U.S.’s expense.
It is just the second time in Women’s World Cup history that the U.S. has failed to win their group. The U.S. was second to Sweden in the 2011 group stages and went on to finish as tournament runners up.
Portugal, ranked 21st in the world, enjoyed more of the ball during Tuesday’s meeting at Eden Park, with Ana Capeta striking the post in second-half stoppage time — a goal that would have eliminated the reigning champions.
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The U.S. will face the winner of Group G in the last-16 in Melbourne on August 6. Sweden are in pole position to top Group G after two wins from their opening two group games. The U.S. will learn its last-16 opponent following the final round of Group G fixtures on Wednesday.
The U.S. finished its group campaign with five points from three games following a 3-0 victory over Vietnam in their opening match and a 1-1 draw with Netherlands.
Tuesday’s stalemate with Portugal marked just the second time in Women’s World Cup history that the U.S. has failed to score, with a 0-0 draw with Sweden in the 2015 group stages the only other occasion in the tournament’s 32-year history.
USWNT route to the final
The USWNT’s second-placed finish in Group E means a potentially trickier-looking route to the final in Sydney.
They will face the winner of Group G — likely to be Sweden — in Melbourne on Sunday, with group winners the Netherlands poised to play Italy in the last 16 as it stands.
Get through that game and former champions Japan — The Athletic’s team of the tournament so far — will lie in wait if they beat Norway in their last-16 game.
That heavyweight quarter-final would take place at Eden Park in Auckland on August 11; had the USWNT topped their group, they might have avoided Japan until the semi-finals.
Spain, Italy or even a Netherlands rematch could instead await the USWNT in the last four if they get that far.
The final? Plenty of hurdles to clear to get to Stadium Australia on August 20, but France, Germany and Euro 2022 winners England will hope to be the last team standing from the other side of the knockout draw
(Photo: Carmen Mandato/USSF/Getty Images )
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