After opening the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 3-0 victory over Vietnam, the U.S. Women’s National Team will now head to Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-tara where it will take on the Netherlands on July 27 in the second game of Group E play (1 p.m. NZT; July 26 at 9 p.m. ET on FOX, Telemundo, Universo and Peacock).
The Americans and Dutch, who famously squared off in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final in Lyon, France, enter the match in Wellington tied atop Group E with three points apiece.
Get ready for the USA’s second group stage game with Five Things to Know about the Netherlands.
LAST TIME OUT
The Netherlands opened its World Cup campaign with a 1-0 win over Group E foe Portugal on July 23 at Dunedin Stadium in Dunedin/Otepoti.
The Netherlands scored the game’s only goal in the 13th minute when veteran defender Stefanie van der Gragt got on the end of a corner kick and put her header low and back across the goal, where it skipped past the Portuguese ‘keeper and defense into the back of the net. After a lengthy VAR review for a possible offside on the play, the goal was awarded and the Dutch took the early lead during a chilly evening on the east coast of the south island.
The Dutch had the better of play on the night, outshooting the Portuguese 12-2 overall and holding a 5-1 advantage in shots on target. A hard-fought matchup between European foes, the game featured 22 fouls and three yellow cards, one to Netherlands’ midfielder Danielle van de Donk as well as cautions to Portugal defender Diana Gomes and forward Jessica Silva.
WE MEET AGAIN
Thursday’s group stage game in Wellington marks the first time in FIFA Women’s World Cup history that the two finalists from the previous tournament will meet in the group stage. The USA and Netherlands met 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.
After a scoreless first half, the Americans got on the scoreboard just past the hour mark after van der Gragt kicked Alex Morgan in her upper torso inside the penalty area and a penalty kick was awarded to the USA.
Megan Rapinoe stepped up to the spot and blasted home her attempt in the 61st minute for her sixth goal of the tournament. The USA doubled its advantage just eight minutes later when Samantha Mewis found Rose Lavelle in the midfield and the crafty Cincinnati native put together a dazzling run, capped off by a blast from distance that beat the dive of Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal to give USA a 2-0 advantage.
Rapinoe and Lavelle became the seventh and eighth Americans, respectively, to score in a World Cup final while Alyssa Naeher and the U.S. defense get the clean sheet in the victory, their fourth of the tournament. Naeher became the fifth goalkeeper in history to earn a shutout in a Women’s World Cup Final.
SERIES HISTORY: USA vs. NETHERLANDS
The USA and Netherlands have played 10 times previously and 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.
The sides squared off most recently in the quarterfinals of the delayed Tokyo Olympics, where, tied 2-2 after extra time, the USA defeated the Netherlands 4-2 in a dramatic penalty kick shootout to reach the Olympic semifinals. In a wild back-and-forth match, the Dutch took the lead in the 18th minute on a volley from prolific striker Vivianne Miedema, who is missing this World Cup after tearing her ACL in April of 2023 while playing with Arsenal FC in the FA Women’s Super League, equalized again for the Netherlands in the 54th minute and the teams traded chances through 120 minutes, but remained deadlocked at 2-2 at the conclusion of extra time. The U.S. also had four goals disallowed by the slimmest of margins due to offside.
Naeher put in a massive performance for the USA in goal saving two penalties during the shootout as well as another penalty late in regulation to force extra time. Lavelle, Alex Morgan, Christen Press and Rapinoe all converted their penalties for the USA while Naeher denied Miedema on the Netherlands’ first attempt and Aniek Nouwen on their fourth try.
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.
INSIDE THE ROSTER
Head coach Andries Jonker, who previously served as an interim head coach for the Netherlands in 2001, was named head coach in August of 2022 following the team’s loss in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Women’s EURO Championship. Of the 23 players Jonker selected for this 2023 World Cup roster, 12 were a part of the World Cup squad that finished runners-up to the USA in 2019 and 13 were on the Netherlands’ 22-player roster for the delayed 2021 Olympics.
Despite the absence of Miedema – the nation’s all-time leading goal scorer, the Netherlands boasts a wealth of experience on the international stage, led by midfielder Sherida Spitse, who has a record 217 caps for her country and is one of the most-capped active players in women’s international soccer. Forward Lieke Martens has 146 caps and is the top scorer on this roster with 59 career international goals. Midfielder Danielle van de Donk, who plays alongside the USA’s Lindsey Horan at Olympique Lyon and van der Gragt also have over 100 caps while midfielder Jackie Groenen could also join the 100-cap club should she see action against the USA on July 27.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Netherlands have nine players on this 2023 World Cup roster with fewer than 20 caps, including a pair of teenagers in 17-year-old midfielder Wieke Kaptein and 19-year-old forward Esmee Brugts who came on against Portugal to become the second-youngest player to ever represent the Netherlands at a Women’s World Cup.
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)
ROAD TO DOWN UNDER
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 September 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 before rattling off three consecutive wins to close out the qualifying campaign.
The Netherlands made their Women’s World Cup debut in 2015 and advanced to the knockout rounds as one of the top third-place teams, where they fell to eventual runners-up Japan in the Round of 16.
In 2019, coming off a remarkable run to win the 2017 UEFA Women’s European Championship, the Netherlands won all three of their matches in Group E before defeating Japan 2-1 in the Round of 16, Italy 2-0 in the Quarterfinals and Sweden 1-0 in extra time in the Semifinal to setup the championship game clash against the USA.