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It was close, but USWNT advances in World Cup

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Just as expected, the United States Women’s National Team is moving onto the knockout stage of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

It was just a lot more stressful than many would have hoped – and it almost didn’t happen.

The team did just enough to get into the next round of the tournament at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand early Tuesday morning, playing Portugal to a scoreless draw to conclude play in Group E.

With the result, the United States finished with five points, which was enough to claim second in the group. The Netherlands finished first with wins over Portugal and Vietnam along with a draw against the USWNT last Wednesday.

It was certainly not as calm of a match as some supporters would have hoped for the United States, who entered the tournament as favorites. In fact, Portugal nearly sprung the surprise in stoppage time when striker Ana Capeta hit the post on a shot that had gotten past USMNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

Luckily it stayed out, salvaging the point for the United States that allows them to advance to the Round of 16. They’ll meet the winner of Group D on Sunday in Melbourne, which will likely be Sweden since they only need a draw against last place Argentina to get that spot.

Now in the knockout stage, the United States looks to find form in order to make history. Having won the World Cup in 2015 and 2019, they can become the first team in history to win the tournament three-straight times.

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