New Manchester City signing Jill Roord sets Dutch on course for historic victory with a clinical finish from the edge of the box.
The Stars and Stripes, a dominant force on the world stage with 13 consecutive wins across three tournaments, struggled to break down a resilient Netherlands defense until Lindsey Horan’s crucial header from a corner leveled the score.
In a rematch of the 2019 final, where the USA triumphed 2-0 in Lyon, Savannah DeMelo missed wide during the goalless phase, while Trinity Rodman’s shot forced Daphne van Domselaar into a fingertip save shortly after the Dutch took the lead.
For the USA, it seemed like a day of mounting frustration as Julie Ertz’s header was deflected behind before Horan’s equalizer.
With four points from two games, the United States maintains the top spot in Group E, sharing the same points tally with the Netherlands, who trail by goal difference.
Next up for the USA is Portugal at Eden Park, Auckland, on Tuesday (08:00 BST), while the Netherlands will face Vietnam in Dunedin at the same time.
Later in Hamilton (08:30 BST), Portugal and Vietnam, both yet to secure a point, will play their second group game.
A vibrant atmosphere filled the stadium as both sets of fans applauded their teams after an entertaining match in front of 27,312 spectators. Hours before the lunchtime kick-off in Wellington, New Zealand, the city came alive with color as enthusiastic fans took to the streets.
Inside the fan park, a carnival spirit prevailed, with some supporters donning full stars and stripes attire, while others arrived in traditional Dutch costumes. One touching sign held up by a supporter read: “They’re not just women, they’re legends.”
The occasion was truly grand, with helicopters buzzing above the city from early morning. Even US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in town for official business, took the time to cheer on the defending champions, briefly breaking away from his talks.
Billed as the standout fixture among the 48 group games in Australia and New Zealand, the match lived up to expectations. The United States, heavily favored to win their fifth World Cup title, showcased their talent despite having 14 players participating in their first World Cup.
However, Andries Jonker’s Netherlands side delivered an impressive performance, threatening to send a powerful message until Lindsey Horan’s equalizer for the USA.
Remarkably, the Netherlands had to rely on a 93rd-minute winner against Iceland just to qualify for this World Cup. Even without the influential forward Vivianne Miedema, who was sidelined due to injury, the 2019 runners-up demonstrated their potential for a deep run in the tournament once again.