ALL EYES will be on the U.S. women’s national team as the reigning world champions embark on their quest for an unprecedented World Cup three-peat. But before the U.S. can even think about hoisting the trophy, Vlatko Andonovski’s squad will need to advance out of a group featuring one rival and two World Cup newcomers.
The Dutch and the USWNT have plenty of history; the U.S. took out the Netherlands in the 2019 World Cup final. Without superstar Vivianne Miedema, who is sidelined with an ACL tear, veteran players—and paragons of European soccer—Lyon midfielder Daniëlle van de Donk and PSG forward Lieke Martens will need to step up for the Orange.
With 58 goals in 144 international appearances, including two in a 2–1 win over Japan in the ’19 round of 16, the 30-year-old Martens’s experience will be crucial. Barring calamity, the U.S. and the Netherlands should move on to the knockout rounds, but don’t count out Portugal.