After beating Vietnam 3-0 in its opening match at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup behind a brace from forward Sophia Smith and a goal from midfielder Lindsey Horan, the U.S. Women’s National Team will now face the Netherlands at Wellington Regional Stadium in Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara on July 26 (1 p.m. NZT; 9 p.m. ET on FOX, Telemundo, Universo and Peacock). The second group stage contest will be, at least on paper, a rematch of the 2019 Women’s World Cup Final and the first time in FIFA Women’s World Cup history that the two finalists from the previous tournament meet in the group stage. The Netherlands head into the match after earning a 1-0 win against tournament debutants Portugal on July 23 off a set-piece goal from towering defender Stefanie van der Gragt, but the U.S. currently sits atop Group E on with a plus-three goal differential. The top two teams from each group will advance to the Round of 16.
2023 WORLD CUP MEDIA GUIDE AVAILABLE
WORLD CUP DEBUT UNDER THEIR BELT
On June 21, the USA’s roster for the Women’s World Cup was officially announced, unveiling the 23 players who will represent the crest Down Under. The roster features nine players who were members of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship squad and 14 players who were named to their first World Cup roster. Eight of those 14 players made their debuts in the team’s 3-0 win against Vietnam – Savannah DeMelo (who also made her first USWNT start), Naomi Girma, Emily Fox, Andi Sullivan, Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman, 18-year-old Alyssa Thompson and Sofia Huerta.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position (Club; Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit; 1), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 14), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 92)
DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 25/1), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage; 30/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 133/24), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 17/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 31/0), Kelley O’Hara (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 158/3), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign; 75/1)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC; 2/0), Julie Ertz (Angel City FC; 119/20), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 130/28), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 89/24), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 51/7), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 25/3), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 46/3)
FORWARDS (6): Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC; 208/121), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 200/63), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 19/4), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 31/14), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC; 5/0), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 53/15)
LAST TIME OUT
The USA earned a 3-0 win against Vietnam in the team’s opening match of the tournament led by a brace from forward Sophia Smith and a goal from Lindsey Horan. The USA dominated the match and had enough excellent looks at goal to more than double the scoreline, although credit is due to Vietnam goalkeeper Tran Thị Kim Thanh for an impressive performance that included four saves. With her brace, Smith became the second-youngest player in USWNT history to score multiple goals in a World Cup match, and she also became the first player to score multiple goals at this year’s tournament.
WORLD CUP FORMAT
The World Cup format calls for seven matches to win the tournament, including four in the knockout rounds, up from six matches it took to win the Women’s World Cups for all the tournaments from 1991-2011. The top two teams from each of the eight groups will qualify for the Round of 16. The USA is making its ninth appearance in a FIFA Women’s World Cup and is one of seven countries to appear in all nine editions of the tournament. The others are Brazil, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Norway and Sweden.
The USA has a history of strong starts at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and has been highly successful in the group stage, posting an all-time record of 21W-3D-1L in group stage matches and unbeaten in its last seven. The team is currently on a five-game winning streak in group stage matches, outscoring its opponents by a margin of 22-0 over that span.
SMITH’S STUNNING START
Forward Sophia Smith heads into the match against Netherlands on the back of a dream World Cup debut in which she scored a brace and tallied an assist to set up midfielder Linsey Horan’s goal. Smith’s goal in the 14th minute was the fastest goal scored at the tournament at the time (now the third-fastest), and she is one of only three players, along with Germany’s Alexandra Popp and Brazil’s Ary Borges, to score multiple goals thus far. Smith is the second-youngest player in USWNT history to score multiple goals in a World Cup game and the youngest since Cat Whitehill in 2003. She is also the youngest USWNT player to score multiple goals in her World Cup debut.
USA WORLD CUP ROSTER NOTES
- The USA's starting lineup against Vietnam featured five players who were part of the USA's 2019 Women's World Cup championship squad and six players making their FIFA Women's World Cup debut, while two more made their debuts off the bench. Six players on the roster have yet to make their World Cup debuts: goalkeepers Aubrey Kingsbury and Casey Murphy, defender Alana Cook, midfielders Kristie Mewis and Ashley Sanchez, and forward Lynn Williams.
- Forward Megan Rapinoe earned her 200th cap in the team’s win against Vietnam after coming into the match in the 63rd minute. Rapinoe, who announced in early July that she will retire at the end of the 2023 NWSL season, became just the 14th player in U.S. Women’s National Team history to reach the milestone.
- Alex Morgan is the top scorer on the USA’s World Cup roster with 121 goals. Megan Rapinoe has 63, Lindsey Horan has 27, Dunn and Lavelle each have 24 and Ertz has 20.
- Eighteen players on this roster were on the USA’s 23-player roster for the 2022 Concacaf W Championship, at which the United States qualified for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup as well as the 2024 Summer Olympics.
- Morgan has the most experience in the Women’s World Cup, having played 18 matches while scoring nine goals, six of which came at the 2019 tournament.
- Morgan and Rapinoe are tied for fourth all-time in USWNT history with nine World Cup goals each, trailing only Abby Wambach, Michelle Akers and Carli Lloyd.
- Now in her third World Cup, Alyssa Naeher ranks third all-time in both shutouts (5) and wins (8) by a USWNT goalkeeper at the Women’s World Cup.
- Savannah DeMelo made her first career start against Vietnam, becoming the first player in USWNT history to make her World Cup debut – and start at a World Cup – in one of her first two caps. She previously made her USWNT debut on July 9 in the team’s World Cup Send-Off match against Wales and is just the third player ever to make a U.S. World Cup roster without previously earning a cap. She also became the first player to debut for the USA in 2023.
IN FOCUS: NETHERLANDS
FIFA World Ranking: 9
UEFA Ranking: 6
World Cup Appearances: 3 (2015, 2019, 2023)
Best World Cup Finish: Runners-Up (2019)
Record vs. USA: 1W-1D-8L (GF: 8; GA: 31)
Head Coach: Andries Jonker (NED)
NETHERLANDS WOMEN’S WORLD CUP ROSTER BY POSITION
Goalkeepers (3): 1-Daphne van Domselaar (Aston Villa LFC, ENG), 16-Lize Kop (AFC Ajax), 23-Jacintha Anouchka Weimar (Feyenoord Rotterdam)
Defenders (7): 2-Lynn Anke Hannie Wilms (VfL Wolfsburg, GER), 3-Stefanie van der Gragt (Unattached), 4-Aniek Nouwen (Chelsea FC, ENG), 5-Merel van Dongen (Atlético Madrid, ESP), 15-Caitlin Dijkstra (FC Twente), 18-Kerstin Casparij (Manchester City, ENG), 20-Dominique Janssen (VfL Wolfsburg, GER)
Midfielders (8): 6-Jill Roord (Manchester City, ENG), 8-Sherida SPITSE (AFC Ajax), 10-Daniëlle van de Donk (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA), 12-Jill Baijings (FC Bayern München, GER), 14-Jackie Groenen (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA), 17-Victoria Pelova (Arsenal FC, ENG), 19-Wieke Kaptein (FC Twente), 21-Damaris Egurrola (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA)
Forwards (5): 7-Lineth Beerensteyn (Juventus, ITA), 9-Katja Snoeijs (Everton FC, ENG), 11-Lieke Martens (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA), 13-Renate Jansen (FC Twente), 22-Esmee Brugts (Unattached)
USA vs. NETHERLANDS
- This will be the second time the USA and Netherlands have faced off at the World Cup and the first since meeting in the final of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, a 2-0 victory for the USA behind goals from Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle
- The USA and Netherlands have played 10 times previously and this is their third meeting at a major tournament. The U.S. leads the overall series with eight wins, one draw and one loss (8W-1D-1L), the lone defeat to the Dutch coming in a 4-3 defeat during the first matchup between the teams in 1991. Since then, the USA is unbeaten in its last nine games against the Netherlands, though each of the last six meetings between the teams has been decided by two goals or fewer.
- Thursday’s matchup in Wellington will be the USA’s 23rd matchup all-time against a UEFA opponent at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The U.S. has won its last six World Cup games against European foes and is 18W-1D-3L all-time in World Cup games against UEFA.
- The Netherlands qualified for its third consecutive Women’s World Cup by winning UEFA Qualifying Group C, securing the group with a 1-0 win over Iceland on Sept. 6.
- The Netherlands went unbeaten during its qualifying campaign, posting an overall record of 6W-2D-0L in Group C play while outscoring the opposition by a combined margin of 31-3. Both of the Dutch draws came against the Czech Republic, 1-1 in September of 2021 and 2-2 later that November.
- The Netherlands reached the Round of 16 in its Women’s World Cup debut in 2015 before falling to the USA in the final in 2019.
- The Netherlands will be without prolific scorer Vivianne Miedema. The Arsenal FC forward tore her ACL in April of 2023.
- Netherlands captain Sherida Spitse is one of the most experienced active players in the women’s game with more than 200 caps.