Arabnews24.ca:Tuesday 1 August 2023 06:35 AM: AUCKLAND, New Zealand — The Netherlands powered into the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup as group winners ahead of holders the United States with a 7-0 demolition of Vietnam on Tuesday.
The US women’s national team struggled to a startling 0-0 tie with Portugal in Auckland on Tuesday to advance to the knockout round.
However, the US finished second in Group E to Netherlands, a 7-0 winner over Vietnam. The Dutch won twice in addition to their draw with the United States, while the US team won once and tied two games.
In the knockout round, the US will play Sunday in Melbourne, Australia, vs. the Group G winner, likely Sweden, ranked third in the world.
The Netherlands will face the Group G runner-up, possibly Italy (No. 16) on Saturday in Sydney, Australia.
Netherlands thrash Vietnam 7-0
Five first-half goals allowed the Netherlands to cruise past Vietnam at Dunedin, New Zealand, and wrap up the top spot in Group E. Esmee Brugts and Jill Roord scored twice apiece in the blowout.
Lieke Martens opened the scoring in the eighth minute, and Katja Snoeijs doubled the lead three minutes later. Goals from Brugts (18th minute) and Roord (23rd) put the outcome all but out of reach, and Danielle van de Donk added a fifth in the 45th minute.
In the second half, Brugts (57th) and Roord (83rd) rounded out the scoring.
Vietnam concluded its first Women’s World Cup appearance with losses in all three of its games.
Nigeria into last 16
Nigeria drew 0-0 with Ireland to seal their place in the last 16 and a likely date with England.
The stalemate left Nigeria second behind co-hosts Australia in Group B.
Nigeria coach Randy Waldrum said his team were improving but would have to do even better if they want to extend their World Cup, especially with England possibly looming.
“We have to be good defensively,” the American said according to AFP.
“I think in the short time the team has been together they’ve done a good job with their defence.
“We now have to grow offensively. It will probably be England and I think you are going to get to watch a very good match. But we have to get better defensively first,” Waldrum added.
The Nigerians found it hard to penetrate the Irish defensive line, with lone striker Asisat Oshoala a forlorn figure up front.
Barcelona’s Oshoala had only one chance in the first 45 minutes and should have put her side in front after latching onto a terrible backpass from Louise Quinn and finding herself one on one with keeper Courtney Brosnan.
But her shot just missed to the right-hand post and Ireland was off the hook.
Nigeria came out with far more purpose in the second half as the Irish seemed to begin to feel the pace of the first period.
Brosnan pulled off a miraculous save in the 51st minute to deny Uchenna Kanu, who hit a powerful header that bounced awkwardly in front of the keeper.
Brosnan, who was named player of the match, threw herself up to somehow tip the ball onto the underside of the bar and watch it bounce back into the field of play.
“I knew I had to do everything I could to throw myself in that direction, get a hand on it, so obviously I was glad I was able to keep it out,” said the Irish stopper.
Australia storms into last 16
Hayley Raso scored a first half brace and Mary Fowler struck after the break as Australia crushed Canada 4-0 in Group B match to storm into the last 16 and send the Olympic champions spinning out of the tournament.
In front of a febrile crowd at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Raso struck in the ninth minute with a low, right-footed shot and doubled down in the 39th from a goalmouth scramble as unused captain Sam Kerr cheered by the touchline.
“It means so much to us,” Raso said according to Reuters. “I’m so proud of the girls.
“We had our backs against the walls after (the) last game and we knew that we needed to come out and put in a big performance. We showed that never-say-die attitude and we gave it all.”
Canada, who had needed a draw to advance, bowed out at the group stage for the first time since 2011 and with regrets with the way it unfolded in Melbourne.
Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan captured Canada’s heartache as she broke down in tears before Catley’s spot kick.
“Football can be cruel sometimes,” Canada coach Bev Priestman told reporters.
“I think the team lacked belief. I didn’t think the team would be as rattled as we’ve seen tonight.”
For Australia, there was no need for Kerr to be Australia’s saviour and the striker can rest her injured calf for a week before the co-hosts’ next clash in the last 16, most likely against Denmark.
Australia topped Group B on six points, one ahead of Nigeria, who also advanced after a 0-0 draw against Ireland.
Thrilled Australia coach Tony Gustavsson had been under pressure after the Nigeria loss.
“We played Olympic champions in a do or die game with our skipper, one of the best forwards in the world — in my opinion the best forward in the world — on the bench and we win 4-0. That says a lot about the belief in this team,” he said.
Canada’s talismanic captain Christine Sinclair started on the pitch but bowed out of her sixth and final World Cup in disappointment at halftime when Priestman triggered a raft of substitutes.
Australia played with courage and were quickly rewarded when a Catley cross found Raso in the box.
Raso drilled a low shot inside the far post to put Australia in front. Although an offside flag went up, the goal was confirmed by VAR, sending the crowd into raptures.
They almost made it 2-0 minutes later, but Raso’s shot was well saved by Sheridan.
Home fans were roaring again in the 34th minute as Fowler charged in to thump the ball in from close range, with Raso providing the cross.
VAR again intervened, cancelling the goal for offside.
But five minutes later, Raso was celebrating her second strike after Sheridan failed to clear the ball from a set-piece.
Priestman made changes at halftime, with the retiring Sophie Schmidt coming on and blazing over the bar in the 56th minute.