United States women’s national team head coach Vlatko Andonovski expects a difficult confrontation against Portugal in the last group stage match of the tournament, revealing “they’re disciplined and organized, it will not be easy.”
The American team needs a victory and positive goal difference to top Group E, or a draw and Dutch win over Vietnam to qualify to the round of 16 in second place. A loss at Eden Park would see the USWNT eliminated.
The draw against the Netherlands left the Stars and Stripes exposed in the midfield and final third, and Andonovski revealed fans can expect a similar challenge on August 1.
“They’re a great team, they’re very well coached, they’re disciplined and organized and it will not be easy. We are so focused on this game and make sure that we get a favorable result. I pointed out that we don’t want to even think about step two. It’s step one that is most important for one,” Andonovski said to reporters in the MD-1 press conference.
“If we analyze Portugal in the last few games that they played, they are a lot more conservative than aggressive. I would say. When they played the Netherlands and before the World Cup, when they played England or teams that are high rank, they were more conservative and looked to get their results on the couple of chances they created.
“So we expect nothing less tomorrow. We think that they’re going to be organized defensively and they’re going to look to get results of counter attacks and obviously it will be our responsibility to neutralize any of those.”
The USWNT currently hold the edge in the head to head record, boasting 4W-0L-0D. Though the two last faced each other in a 2021 friendly, the head coach reiterating the game cannot be taken into consideration when considering the current Portugal roster.
“But one other thing I want to point out in the last two years, the Portugal Portuguese team has grown so much and has gotten so much better than that, that I don’t think what we saw in 2021 is, is a clear or real picture of the team that it is today.”
But still, Andonovski remains confident in his team.
“The thing is we’re very happy with the squad that we have and very happy with all the players that we have on the rosters and one thing that we know is, and we have no doubt that every single one of them is ready to step in and help this team be successful.”