The US open their campaign against Vietnam as they seek a third consecutive title in captain Rapinoe’s last World Cup.
When: Saturday, July 22
Where: Eden Park, Auckland
Kickoff: 1pm local time (01:00 GMT)
Seeking an unprecedented three-peat – third consecutive Women’s World Cup – the top-ranked United Staes will kick off their campaign against South East Asian champions and tournament debutants Vietnam who are ranked 32nd in the world.
While a match against 2019 finalists the Netherlands awaits in their second Group E game, defender Crystal Dunn said US would not take their eye off the ball against Vietnam.
“We’ve got to get through this game before we even consider talking about the second game,” said Dunn.
“We haven’t played against Vietnam, this is a team that we have some footage on but we’ve obviously never played against them but I think they’re going to bring their best game and we know that going in.”
Vietnam go into the tournament as three-time ASEAN champions and reigning South East Asian champions.
The Golden Star Women Warriors will hope to cause an upset in their debut at the tournament despite being placed in a tough group which also includes the Netherlands and Portugal.US forward Lynn Williams said they would need to be prepared for “a different style of play”.
“Vietnam is a little bit of a wildcard,” she told reporters.
“It’s just [up to] our ability to adapt. Obviously, every single opponent that we play, we scout them and then half the time it’s not what we scouted so just trust in each other.”
While the team’s attention will be on getting results on the pitch, they will aim to bid a happy farewell to legendary player Megan Rapinoe who has said this will be her last World Cup.
The 38-year-old is set to retire from football at the end of the season.
While Rapinoe won’t play every minute at her fourth World Cup, US coach Vlatko Andonovski said the 2019 Ballon d’Or winner was as important as ever on and off the pitch.
“First and foremost, the thing with ‘Pinoe’ is, when she’s on the field, she’s a great player,” he said in the build-up to the tournament.
“That’s the first reason why she’s on this team. She’s one of the most creative players that I’ve ever seen.”
US team news
The defending champions will be without their regular captain Becky Sauerbrunn due to injury, so leadership will be split between Lindsey Horan and Alex Morgan.
Vietnam team news
Vietnam have picked a squad that combines youth and experience. The team in red will have a full squad to choose from when they step on the pitch on Saturday, with their all-time leading scorer Huynh Nhu leading their attack.
Form and rankings
US: W W W W W
Vietnam: L W W L L
Head to head
Saturday’s match will mark the first time the two teams will have faced each other.
Players to watch
US: In a team full of stars, Alex Morgan stands out as the ultimate superstar with more than 200 caps and 121 goals in a glittering international career that has seen her win two World Cups and an Olympic gold medal.
The 34-year-old has shown no signs of letting up or hanging her boots and will look to lead her team to yet another trophy.Vietnam: Huynh Nhu, with a 15-year career and legendary status in her country, will bring all her experience into play as her team face their most daunting test.
Where can I watch the game?
Global listings are available from livesoccertv.com.
You can also follow our live blog on the match day.