FIFA Women's World Cup
Women's World Cup Guide, Group E: United States, Netherlands, Portugal, Vietnam
FIFA Women's World Cup

Women's World Cup Guide, Group E: United States, Netherlands, Portugal, Vietnam

Published Jul. 17, 2023 7:31 p.m. ET

This group might be tougher than you think — at least that's what U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski has said in the leadup.

This group is comprised of four teams with four unique styles of play (which is precisely why the USWNT played three completely different types of teams in February's SheBeleives Cup). Vietnam and Portugal make their World Cup debuts, while the U.S. and Netherlands play a 2019 final rematch in the second game of this group stage.

Here's a look at all four teams:

United States


Coach: Vlatko Andonovski
Highest finish: Four-time winner (1991, 1999, 2015, 2019)
2019 finish: Winner
Key players: Alex Morgan, Sophia Smith, Naomi Girma

What we're excited to watch: Fresh faces. Of the 23 players on this roster, 14 are playing in their first World Cup. From the young forwards Smith, Trinity Rodman and Alyssa Thompson to stalwart defenders like Girma and Emily Fox, there are a lot of new names to get to know and keep an eye on.

What success looks like: Three-peat or bust. The USWNT is on the cusp of making more history. Hoisting that championship trophy on Aug. 20 would mean the Americans have won a record five World Cups and an unprecedented three in a row -- a feat that no men's or women's team has ever done. After losing in the semifinal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – the most recent major tournament – the U.S. is hungry to return to the top of the podium.

Achilles' heel: Center back. It's probably unfair to single this position group out given the talent there, but we are about to see what this part of the field looks like without Becky Sauerbrunn. Sauerbrunn did not make the roster due to a nagging injury. Girma and Alana Cook are obvious choices to fill the void. But perhaps we will see a rotating cast that also includes Julie Ertz (who played that position at the 2015 World Cup and only recently returned to the national team after giving birth to her son last August) and maybe Emily Sonnett, too.

X-Factor: Sophia Smith. The world knows Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, but they don't know Smith yet. The 22-year-old phenom leads the NWSL with 10 goals in 13 matches and she's ready to perform on soccer's biggest stage. Smith has a supreme confidence and one goal in mind, saying recently: "I just want to win."

2023 FIFA Women's World Cup: United States Team Preview with Alexi Lalas


Coach: Andries Jonker
Highest finish: Runners-up (2019)
2019 finish: Second place
Key players: Lieke Martens, Danielle van de Donk, Jill Roord

What we're excited to watch: The Dutch are out for revenge after losing to the USWNT in the 2019 World Cup final. Jonker has a talented team brimming with experience and a roster full of players at top European clubs. Can the Netherlands, ranked No. 9 in the world by FIFA, pull off an upset in the second match and beat the Americans to win the group?

What success looks like: Expectations are high. In its two previous World Cup appearances (2015 and 2019), the Dutch advanced into the knockout rounds. While they are an underdog to make the final and even win it all, this squad should be in the mix deep into the tournament.

Achilles' heel: Not having its best player. In April, the Netherlands' record goal scorer Vivianne Miedema was ruled out of this summer's tournament after rupturing her ACL during a Champions League match for Arsenal. The 26-year-old is a game-changer and the Dutch will miss her.

X-Factor: With Miedema out, the load will fall on Martens to lead the offense. The 30-year-old PSG forward is a former UEFA Player of the Year and Champions League winner is playing in her third World Cup.

2023 FIFA Women's World Cup: Netherlands Team Preview with Alexi Lalas


Coach: Francisco Neto
Highest finish: First appearance
2019 finish: Did not qualify
Key players: Jessica Silva, Dolores Silva, Kika Nazareth

What we're excited to watch: Despite the lack of major tournament experience, Portugal has the potential to be sneaky good and maybe even pull off an upset. After all, they did tie reigning European Champion England 0-0 in a recent World Cup tune-up match. And held on for a while in a 3-2 loss to the Netherlands in last year's Euros.

What success looks like: Getting out of the group will be a tough ask for this squad playing in its first World Cup, especially when it has to play the Netherlands and the United States. But beating fellow debutant Vietnam in the second match would qualify as something to build on for the future.

Achilles' heel: Experience. Most of the players on Neto's roster play for Portuguese clubs, but none have ever been on this global stage before.

X-Factor: Jessica Silva. The dynamic 28-year-old Benfica attacker has 100 caps for the national team and has enough talent to be a breakout star for Portugal.

2023 FIFA Women's World Cup: Portugal Team Preview with Alexi Lalas


Coach: Mai Duc Chung
Highest finish: First appearance
2019 finish: Did not qualify
Key players: Huynh Nhu, Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung, Nguyen Thi Thanh Nha 

What we're excited to watch: Vietnam is playing in its first World Cup and its first match is against who else but the United States. Will this game be akin to the USWNT's opener in 2019 when it beat Thailand 13-0? Andonovski said gone are the days of those lopsided victories. While that remains to be seen, Vietnam recently kept things tight in a tune-up friendly against Germany in June, losing just 2-1. Can the squad, ranked No. 32 in the world by FIFA, be competitive against the reigning world champs?

What success looks like: Similarly to Portugal, it's going to be tough for Vietnam to advance out of a group that includes the U.S. and the Netherlands. But beating Portugal in its second match would be something to build on.

Achilles' heel: Experience. This will be a battle for the Vietnamese side, especially given its first game is against the mighty U.S. The team has club experience in Vietnam, but has never been on the world's stage.

X-Factor: Captain Huynh Nhu has scored 67 goals in 103 appearances for Vietnam. The Lank Vilaverdense attacker is the only player on this roster that doesn't play for a domestic club.

2023 FIFA Women's World Cup: Vietnam Team Preview with Alexi Lalas

Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of "Strong Like a Woman," published in spring 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @LakenLitman.


Get more from FIFA Women's World Cup Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more