What result does USA need against Portugal to win Group E?

Sophia Smith #11 of the United States in action during the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group E match between USA and Netherlands at Wellington Regional Stadium on July 27, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Carmen

The 1-1 tie between the United States and the Netherlands on Wednesday created a fascinating scenario heading into the third and final round of matches in Group E.

Neither the Americans nor the Dutch were able to guarantee safe passage to the round of 16, though both would do so with at least a tie in their last game early Tuesday. The USA will face Portugal (coverage begins at 1 a.m. ET, with kickoff at 3 a.m. on FOX and the FOX Sports app) while the Netherlands takes on Vietnam (kickoff at 3 a.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app).

Realistically, however, both will be looking for far more than that. Finishing first in Group E confers the advantage of a more favorable position in the elimination bracket, a prize well worth chasing.

The pair of 2019 finalists will each be looking to handsomely beat their lower-ranked opponents, and if they both do so, then goal differential will come into play as the first tiebreaker.

On that front, the Americans currently hold the advantage, sitting at +3 compared to the Netherlands' +1. 

However, it could be argued that goal-scoring hero Lindsey Horan and her teammates will face a tougher challenge against Portugal than their rival will against Vietnam.

Portugal defeated Vietnam 2-0 on Wednesday, picking up three points and eliminating the Vietnamese. That win means the Portuguese are only one point back of the U.S. and the Netherlands and are very much alive entering their final group match.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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