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The odds for Portugal vs USWNT have been taken from the FanDuel sportsbook. You can get $100 in bonus bets after betting $5.
The Stars and Stripes should book their spot in the round of 16 at the Women's World Cup 2023 on Tuesday.
The USWNT are almost there but the job is not done yet. A return of four points from a possible six has left the defending champions top of Group E heading into matchday three, so a draw with Portugal would be enough to secure their progression to the knockout phase.
The USA, who are the favorites to triumph this summer with the best online sportsbooks, began their campaign with a 3-0 victory over Vietnam. The Asian debutantes put up a good fight but it was, in truth, a one-sided contest at Auckland's Eden Park.
Next up for Vlatko Andonovski's side was a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands. The USA had significantly more shots and created the better chances, but it was their opponents who took an early lead which they held until just after the hour mark.
There have been grumblings back home and it is true that the USWNT have not yet set the world alight. Given they thumped Thailand 13-0 on matchday one four years ago, this has been a more low-key start.
But peaking too early can be an issue too and the USA certainly have more in the tank for the weeks ahead. First, though, they must make sure they get the job done on Tuesday when it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the holders could be eliminated.
That remains an outside shot, though, and the USA have good reason to be confident. A strong European contingent led by the likes of France, England, and Spain look well equipped to challenge, but the USWNT are four-time world champions and they remain the team to beat.
The current side has not completely gelled together yet, but there is still time to build fluency, cohesion, and momentum. A victory here would see them through to the round of 16 as group winners - the first objective fulfilled.
Competing at a World Cup for the first time ever, Portugal would certainly have accepted this position heading into matchday three. They are still alive in this tournament and a place in the knockout phase remains within reach with 90 minutes left to play in Group E.
The Netherlands will surely defeat Vietnam on Tuesday to take one of the qualification spots, so Portugal would need to triumph over the USA in order to remain involved in Australia and New Zealand.
Pulling off that feat would make for one of the most stunning results in the history of the Women's World Cup. But soccer is an unpredictable sport and Colombia's defeat of Germany at the weekend should serve as a warning to the tournament's big hitters that no one is immune to an upset.
Portugal were edged out 1-0 but the Netherlands in their first-ever World Cup contest, but they gave a good account of themselves on that occasion. A 2-0 victory over Vietnam a few days later left them a point behind the top two ahead of this showdown in Auckland.
Portugal will need to strike the right balance in this one. They must win so will therefore need to take a few risks here and there, but trying to dominate the USA when it comes to shots and possession would be a suboptimal strategy.
Instead, Francisco Neto's team will focus on forming a compact shape without the ball and then making the most of their opportunities to break forward at speed on the counter-attack.
The head-to-head record between these two national teams underlines the extent of the task facing Portugal. In 10 previous meetings, the USA have a 100 percent record - and they are yet to so much as conceding a goal against their upcoming opponents.
They may take heart, however, from the last such clash two years ago, in which the Stars and Stripes won by a slender margin of 1-0. Of course, a repeat result would send Portugal home before the knockout phase, but another tight game would be to their advantage.
However, a shock win will surely be beyond a Portugal team that, for all its promise, is not yet among the elite of the women's game. And the fact they need three points here could actually play into the hands of the Americans, who will be ready to pounce on any defensive gaps.
This is a chance for the USA to make a statement of intent in their final group game, having failed to do so against the Netherlands last time out.
With the attacking talent at their disposal, the USA may well find the back of the net on either side of half-time. An early goal would settle any nerves and a later one could send the holders through to the next round of the Women's World Cup.
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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