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USWNT survives late scare to reach Women’s World Cup round of 16 | CNN

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The USWNT and Portugal battled to a goalless draw.


The US Women’s National Team was a post width away from exiting the Women’s World Cup at the group stage, but survived a late scare to earn a goalless draw against Portugal and reach the last 16.

With the game hanging in the balance, substitute Ana Carpeta had a glorious chance to earn Portugal a famous win in the closing stages, but her effort struck the post with goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher completely helpless.

Defeat for the USWNT – a team aiming for a third consecutive world title – would have ended its participation in the tournament.

The Netherlands’ 7-0 win over Vietnam means the Dutch finish top of Group E on seven points, two ahead of the US. It is the first time in the history of the competition that the USWNT has won just one group stage match.

On almost any other occasion, a 0-0 draw against the two-time defending champion would have been a cause for celebration, but at full time many of Portugal’s players fell to their knees in tears as the reality of their World Cup exit began to sink in.

When the dust settles and the pain subsides, Portugal’s players will feel confident the future of women’s soccer in the country is bright after pushing the Netherlands and the US – two of the world’s best teams – all the way at this World Cup.

Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Portugal pushed the USWNT to the brink of elimination.

For the US, however, there will be serious questions asked about the team’s performances in the group stages.

The squad has 14 players appearing at a World Cup for the first time and the new-look team has struggled to find any kind of cohesion throughout the tournament, but the performance against Portugal was the most disjointed the team had looked so far.

“It’s tough to be second,” US forward Alex Morgan said on English channel ITV after the match. “We wanted to go through first. This team gave everything, we just didn’t put the ball in the back of the net.

“In the last few minutes we just had to hold it down – we had to get the result and move on.”

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