Megan Rapinoe reflects on her final World Cup, and winning it all
Megan Rapinoe talks to the media about reflecting on her final World Cup, having her family there with her, and also keeping her eye on the prize. She makes it clear what her priority is with the USWNT.
The U.S. women’s national team will fight to keep their 2023 World Cup campaign alive Tuesday against Portugal. The Americans are vying for a third straight World Cup victory, which would be a record, and fifth overall. The USWNT is also undergoing a generational shift, with more than half the roster playing in their first major international tournament while other players have been hit with some devastating injuries.
With columnist Nancy Armour on the ground, USA TODAY Sports will offer the latest updates, highlights, analysis and more throughout the USWNT’s Group E finale match. Follow along.
We’ve got the starting lineup for the USWNT’s third and final group game of the 2023 World Cup vs. Portugal, and there are some changes. Most notably, Rose Lavelle, the breakout star of the 2019 World Cup, will start in the midfield. Lavelle has been hampered by a knee injury the last couple months but her play against the Netherlands in Game 2 last week was crucial.
Also, Lynn Williams will start at forward instead of Trinity Rodman. It will be Williams’ first appearance at the World Cup.
Here’s the full lineup:
Goalkeeper: Alyssa Naeher
Midfielders: Lindsey Horan, Andi Sullivan, Rose Lavelle
USWNT game tonight
The Americans play their final group stage game Tuesday at 3 a.m. ET. They face Portugal.
Where to watch USA vs. Portugal
All 2023 World Cup games will be broadcast in the U.S. by Fox, on both its main channel and FS1. It’s also available to stream on FoxSports.com and the Fox Sports app. Spanish-language coverage will be on Telemundo.
USA women World Cup schedule
This will be the final group stage match for the Americans. If they advance to the Round of 16 they could play Saturday (if they win Group E) or Sunday (if they come in second). Here are the game times and potential opponents:
- Saturday, Aug. 5: Winner Group E vs. Runner-up Group G, 10 p.m. ET
- Sunday, Aug. 6: Runner-up Group E vs. Winner Group G, 5 a.m. ET
Group G is currently led by Sweden and Italy, who finish group play Wednesday.
Nancy Armour, columnist: I think the USWNT comes out flying, much like Australia did against Canada on Monday night, and tags Portugal for a couple of quick, easy goals. Portugal pulls one back in the second half, but the USWNT wins 3-1.
Lindsay Schnell, reporter: The USWNT is mad — mostly about how they played vs. the Netherlands. They’ll be on a mission to squash any talk about if the World Cup is just too much for them, and use their anger to fuel a furious start. I expect a 4-1 final, and probably a 2-0 — maybe 3-0 — lead at halftime. They’re out to a send a message.
How can the USWNT advance in the knockout round with a win or draw vs. Portugal? We break down every scenario you can think of.
AUCKLAND, New Zealand — The United States women’s third group-stage game is usually for style points, not survival.
Not at this World Cup.
For the first time since 2007, the USWNT goes into the final group game still needing to lock up its spot in the knockout rounds. As straightforward as the USWNT’s path to advance is – win or tie and they’re in – so, too, is what would be a catastrophic scenario for a team that’s one of the most successful in the world. In any sport. Men’s or women’s.
Lose to Portugal on Tuesday night, and the four-time World Cup champions will almost certainly be headed home. Never has the USWNT failed to reach the semifinals at a World Cup. Never have they bowed out in the group stage, at either the World Cup or the Olympics.
AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Did anyone stay behind in the States?
Auckland was awash with USWNT fans ahead of the game, which kicks at 7 p.m. in Auckland. They were all over downtown, with faces painted and in gear that left no doubt about their allegiances. The trains to the stadium were filled with them. The concourses at Eden Park before the game, too.
And when the USWNT players took the field for warmups, the cheer that went up would have blown the roof off at Eden Park — if it had a roof.
— Nancy Armour
For as popular as the USWNT is, there might be a subset of the team that’s even more popular: the children of the USWNT.
The 2023 World Cup roster has three moms, the most the USWNT has ever taken to a major event. And while Alex Morgan, Julie Ertz and Crystal Dunn have been incredibly successful on the pitch – combine all their accolades and they’ve got six World Cup titles, six Olympic medals and four U.S. Soccer player of the year awards – their kids sometimes get more attention and generate more headlines.
The USWNT can advance to the knockout rounds with a win or a tie over Portugal on Tuesday. Lose, however, and the four-time World Cup champions would almost certainly be knocked out in the group stage for the first time ever at a World Cup or an Olympics.
The pressure of that, the anxiety, the realization that losing would forever change the way people see this team − it would make most people want to puke.
For Rapinoe, it’s rocket fuel.
“It’s a pressure moment, and that’s what the tournament is now. Every single game from here on out is that pressure moment and that’s the best part of being at the World Cup,” Rapinoe said Sunday, her eyes gleaming.
What time is it in New Zealand?
Auckland is 16 hours ahead of the East Coast of the United States. That means the game vs. Portugal will kick at 7 p.m. New Zealand time.
Four. Alex Morgan has been a staple of the USWNT since her debut on a snowy day in 2010.
She scored her first goal that fall and since then, she’s scored 121 times for the Stars and Stripes and won back-to-back World Cups. The Southern California native was named a captain for this year’s tournament where the team will attempt to make history with their third straight title. — Victoria Hernandez
Yes, the forward is in the USWNT’s starting lineup, and looking to add to her 121-goal total. Morgan missed a penalty kick in the opener vs. Vietnam.
The Americans wore their custom menswear-inspired “business” suits again as they headed to Game 3 of group play vs. Portugal — though Julie Ertz styled hers in the manner of Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon, with a hoodie underneath her blazer.
The 2023 World Cup roster is one of, if not the, most diverse in U.S. women’s soccer history. This year marks a passing of the torch, as a new generation of soccer talent makes its World Cup debut and tries to continue the Americans’ win streak. Of the 23-player roster, 14 will be playing in their first World Cup. You can learn more about each player from the U.S., as well as some of the standout international stars.
- Goalkeepers: Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars); Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage); Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit).
- Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign); Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns); Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage); Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave); Sofia Huerta (OL Reign); Kelley O’Hara (NJ/NY Gotham); Emily Sonnett (OL Reign).
- Midfielders: Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville); Julie Ertz (Angel City); Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon); Rose Lavelle (OL Reign); Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham); Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit); Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit).
- Forwards: Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave); Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign); Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit); Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns); Alyssa Thompson (Angel City); Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham).
World Cup bracket
How many groups are in the Women’s World Cup?
There are eight groups, four teams per group, with the top two seeds from each group advancing to the knockout round. The groups are as follows:
- Group A: New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Switzerland
- Group B: Australia, Canada, Nigeria, Rep. of Ireland
- Group C: Costa Rica, Japan, Spain, Zambia
- Group D: China, Denmark, England, Haiti
- Group E: Netherlands, Portugal, United States, Vietnam
- Group F: Brazil, France, Jamaica, Panama
- Group G: Argentina, Italy, South Africa, Sweden
- Group H: Colombia, Germany, Morocco, South Korea
Where is the 2023 World Cup being played?
For the first time in women’s World Cup history, the tournament will be hosted by two countries, Australia and New Zealand. (The 2022 men’s World Cup was hosted by Japan and South Korea and in 2026, it will be hosted by the U.S., Mexico and Canada.)
Many people associate Australia and New Zealand with surfing, sandy beaches and stunning swimming spots, all happening in sunny weather. But it’s winter in the southern hemisphere, which means temperatures will be anything but scorching.