PREVIEW – The United States Women’s National Team will be playing overnight for fans in America after midnight tonight. In their final group stage match, they play Portugal. After a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands, it’s all on the line tonight. Portugal got a 1-0 win over Vietnam, who are now eliminated. A loss could see the unthinkable, the U.S. getting eliminated. A win will see them through though to the Round of 16, but there’s a possible tie-breaker with the Dutch.
USWNT Portugal Prediction and Best Odds for August 1
First, let’s go over the various clinching scenarios. If Portugal wins, the USWNT will need the Netherlands to lose as well and have a worse goal difference to finish second. Should they lose and the Dutch get a result against, Team USA will be out in the group stage. If the USWNT get a result that betters what the Dutch do against Vietnam, the USWNT win the group. If they both get a draw, the USWNT win the group. If both get a result and the Netherlands’ is better, the Dutch win the group. If both the Dutch and Americans win, it will come down to goal difference. The U.S. are currently +3 while the Netherlands are +1.
United States Talking Points
The talks after the last game was about Vlatko Andonovski’s personnel decisions. He made only one sub, bringing on Rose Lavelle at halftime. “We were around the goal the whole time, and I just didn’t want to disrupt the rhythm at that point because sometimes a substitute comes in and it might take a minute or two to get into a rhythm. We just didn’t want to jeopardize anything because I thought all three of our forwards were very good today, dangerous, created opportunities and were a handful,” is the way Andonovski explained his decision to not make additional subs.
Lavelle playing an entire half and looking decent, yellow card aside, is encouraging given her knee injury. The Lady Yanks have been able to create chances but have not found their finishing touch. Coloradans Sophia Smith and Lindsey Horan each have two goals. Alex Morgan and Trinity Rodman have yet to score. Can they carry over what they did so well in the second half and find their finishing touch?
Portugal Talking Points
Portugal are in their first ever Women’s World Cup. They lost 1-0 to the Netherlands in their opening match, but were certainly outplayed. A 2-0 result over Vietnam saw them get their first ever World Cup win. Telma Encarnação and Francisca Nazareth have been good in the attack. They were most vulnerable against the Dutch in transition and on corners. One would think they play more conservatively and keep numbers behind the ball given the opponent tomorrow. It could come down to set pieces as the goal the Netherlands scored was on a corner. Horan’s critical goal last match was on a corner.
This is effectively the World Cup final for As Navegadoras. They win, and not only are they through to the Round of 16, they’ll have one of the biggest upset wins in WWC history. A draw will not be enough for them to advance. Making the World Cup was one thing. This is a chance to change the women’s game in Portugal forever.
USWNT Portugal Prediction
By the transitive property, the U.S. should outplay Portugal and win. The second half against the Oranje was their best 45 minutes of the tournament. They carry that over and they will comfortably defeat these debutants. It’ll be 3-0. The front three of Morgan, Smith and Rodman all score.
Current Best Odds
DraftKings currently has the United States -400, Portugal +950, and a draw +475. The odds makers once again believe the USWNT are heavy favorites to win and a loss for them least likely.
Photo Credit: John Babiak
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