On July 22, Group E will commence at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, seeing the tournament favorites, the US, take on Vietnam. The next day, Portugal steps onto its first-ever World Cup pitch to face a familiar and vaunted foe, the Netherlands.
In such a tough group as debutants, do A Seleção das Quinas stand a chance?
The American-sized elephant in the group
5️⃣0️⃣ DAYS TIL WE KICKOFF!!!! 🎉🎉— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) June 1, 2023
𝗙𝗜𝗙𝗔 𝗪𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻'𝘀 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱 𝗖𝘂𝗽 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟯
🇺🇸 USA vs Vietnam 🇻🇳
📆 July 21
⌚️9 PM ET
📍 Auckland / Tāmaki Makaurau pic.twitter.com/bMmAUJnEmQ
The US Women’s National Team is the one that just about every team wanted to avoid in the draw. As late entrants through the play-off groups, Portugal didn’t have much choice in the matter, so now, they’ll need to test their mettle against the back-to-back FIFA Women’s World Cup champions, and the favorites to make it a treble.
At 3.75 to win outright in the football bets, it’s clear that the USWNT will be the favored side in just about any game. In those odds, only England can rival the US at 4.33. Even Spain with the best player in the world, Alexia Putellas, are out at 7.00 to take the crown.
Portugal’s odds in the Women’s World Cup betting are much further back. As you’d expect from a new team to the tournament that’s been drawn against the champions in the group, A Seleção sits out at 81.00, way behind the 20.00 Netherlands, but notably up on Vietnam at 501.00.
This is a pretty good sign for Portugal, as the goal has to be to beat Vietnam and at least give the Netherlands a run for their money. Toppling the colossus that is the US seems fantastical at this stage as, even with injuries to Catarina Macario, Mallory Swanson, and Sam Mewis, they’re still an elite team with lots of competition for places.
While World Cup debutants, A Seleção arrives in Australia and New Zealand with a team that’s experienced in the right places and has some added pop-up top. In defense, Carole Costa boasts over 150 caps, as does the versatile full-back Ana Borges. Sílvia Rebelo also adds over 120 caps to the backline.
Going forward, there’ll be a lot of hope put in winger Jéssica Silva. At 28 years old, Silva is in her prime, has already amassed over 100 caps, and was a part of the Olympique Lyonnais side that romped its way to the Champions League title in 2020. The Portuguese also happen to have one of the most exciting up-and-coming talents in the game.
Blocking Portugal’s group stage escape attempts
Obviously, the USWNT is favored to take the top spot, and the game between Portugal and the US on August 1 – the last game of Group E – looks to be a practice in damage control. Before the favorites, A Seleção will meet the Netherlands again. At the 2022 Euros, Portugal only fell to the highly-rated Dutch outfit 3-2 in another stacked group.
In 2019, the OranjeLeeuwinnen made it to the final, but since then, it’s been a story of ebbs and flows, highlighted by their last-eight exit to France at the Euros. Now, with Andries Jonker at the helm, there’s a renewed sense of belief that this team can stifle the US when they meet in the group, and perhaps go far into the tournament.
Like Portugal, this will also be Vietnam’s first run out at the competition. However, it’ll be a trial by fire as they face the US to open their World Cup account. Still, this is an ever-surging team. Proven to be a tough adversary for any opponent, Vietnam won the Southeast Asian Games and placed fourth in Asia’s Women’s Championship last year having won the title in 2019.
Portugal has certainly been drawn into a tough group, but with a seasoned backline and some exciting forwards to call on, an upset or two could be on the cards in Group E.