The United States, double title holders, conceded a 1-1 draw against the Netherlands in Wellington on Thursday, in a group stage shock at a Women’s World Cup that looks more open than ever.
Since its inception, the first Queen’s competition with 32 countries has shown that the gap between the participating teams is narrowing, and the all-powerful Team USA is no exception.
The Americans gave up their record streak of thirteen consecutive World Cup wins against the Dutch, whom they beat in the final of the 2019 edition (2-0).
They had to be content with a point, which was the lesser evil after a match in which they were shaky after Jill Roord’s (17th) opener. This is the first time since 2011 that the Americans are headed into the World Cup!
During a more controlled second period, captain Lindsay Horan equalized from a corner (62nd), but clear chances were few.
Ruard summarized, “It’s a fair result.”
Both the teams, who are leading Group E with four points each, have their sights set on qualifying for the rest of the tournament.
Substitute Megan Rapinoe’s teammates are temporarily in top spot thanks to a better goal difference, which could save them a potentially dangerous Round of 16 clash against Sweden.
They will take on Portugal on the last day on Tuesday to compost their ticket. The Netherlands will play against Vietnam at the same time.
The United States, with more than half of its players new to competition, has long suffered from a lack of experience against better-trained opponents.
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