Five Things to Know About PortugalPRESENTED BY THORNE
The U.S. Women’s National Team will continue its Victory Tour, Presented by Allstate, with two matches vs. Portugal, on Aug. 29 (7 p.m. ET; FS1, FOX Sports App) in Philadelphia and on Sept. 3 (7 p.m. CT; ESPN2, ESPN App) in St. Paul Minnesota.
Here are Five Things to Know about Portugal, a country in which the USA has played more games than any other except the United States, but a team that the Americans have faced just seven times.
Portugal Women’s World Cup Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Inês Pereira (Sporting CP), 12-Patrícia Morais (Sporting CP), 22-Rute Costa (SC Braga)
DEFENDERS (10): 2-Mónica Mendes (AC Milan, ITA), 3-Raquel Infante (Benfica), 4-Sílvia Rebelo (Benfica), 5-Matilde Fidalgo (Manchester City, ENG), 6-Andreia Norton (SC Sand, GER), 7-Cláudia Neto (VfL Wolfsburg, GER), 8-Melissa Gomes (Stade de Reims, FRA), 15-Carole Costa (Sporting CP), 21-Inês Maia (SC Braga), 23-Joana Marchão (Sporting CP)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 9-Ana Borges (Sporting CP), 10-Jéssica Silva (Olympique Lyon, FRA), 16-Diana Silva (Sporting CP), 18-Carolina Mendes (Sporting CP), 20-Ana Leite (Borussia Bochholt, GER)
FORWARDS (5): 11-Tatiana Pinto (Sporting CP), 13-Fátima Pinto (Sporting CP), 14-Dolores Silva (Atletico Madrid, ESP), 17-Vanessa Marques (SC Braga), 19-Diana Gomes (SC Braga)
HISTORY vs. THE USA
The USA is 7-0-0 all-time against Portugal with four of those seven meetings taking place at the Algarve Cup. Four of the seven games took place in the 1990s. Before the most recent meeting at the end of 2018 in Lisbon, the teams had not met since 2001, a 2-0 U.S. victory in Silves, Portugal. The most recent meeting was a 1-0 U.S. victory on Nov. 8, 2018, which was the USA’s 500th victory in program’s history. The USA has faced Portugal just twice before in the USA. Those two matches were played in Florida in January of 1999, the latter of which featured Michelle Akers’ 100th career goal.
HISTORIC GAME VS. PORTUGAL
The U.S. Women’s National Team reached an impressive milestone on Nov. 8, 2018 with its 1-0 victory against Portugal that was the 500th win in program history. The USA failed to convert a handful of excellent chances, but the match did end 13-13 on shots. Jessica McDonald’s first international goal was the game-winner.
PREPPING FOR EURO ‘21
Portugal did not participate in the 2019 World Cup, finishing third in UEFA Group 6 behind World Cup qualifier Italy and second-place finisher Belgium, which earned a playoff spot (but fell to Switzerland in its semifinal series), and is using these games to prepare for 2021 European Championship qualification. Portugal was drawn into what it must think is a winnable Group E along with Albania, Cyprus, Finland and 2019 Women’s World Cup participant Scotland. Portugal will open Group E play on the road against Albania on Oct. 3. The winners of the nine qualifying groups and the three runners-up with the best results against the first, third, fourth and fifth place teams in their respective groups will qualify for the finals.
PORTUGAL ON THE RISE
Since losing 1-0 to the USA last November, Portugal has played nine matches – all in Portugal – and lost just two. They have outscored opponents 15-11 over that span, allowing multiple goals just twice. Portugal followed that USA loss with a 1-0 win two days later against Wales and then a 0-0 draw with Wales three days after that. In 2019, Portugal has played a pair of matches against Ukraine (drawing 1-1 and winning 3-0), had a huge result when it beat Sweden, 2-1, at the Algarve Cup, which it has hosted for 25 years, but then fell 3-1 to Switzerland and 4-1 to Iceland to finish in 10th place. Most recently, Portugal swept two games from Hungary in April 2019, winning 2-1 and 4-1.
Portugal has a solid core of experienced players with 15 players on the roster holding 40 or more caps. The most capped player is veteran Cláudia Neto, who plays in Germany for Wolfsburg and has 120 caps and 17 career goals. Three other players on the roster are in the 100-cap club in midfielder Ana Borges (114), defender Carole Costa (112) and forward Dolores Silva (106). Diana Silva has scored four goals since the start of 2019, the most of any Portuguese player. Only three other players have scored multiple goals in that time and none more than two: Cláudia Neto, Mónica Mendes and Vanessa Marques. Diana Silva has seven career international goals. Portugal head coach Francisco Neto named a very similar roster to that one that faced the USA last November in Lisbon. All 11 starters and all three substitutes who played in that match are on this roster. Portugal was without two of its top players for that match in Lisbon in Neto and Borges, but they return for this two-game set.