Reporting from Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand
United States women’s national team manager Vlatko Andonovski is under renewed scrutiny at the 2023 World Cup after the team’s relatively slow start and the coach’s lack of substitutions. That’s also exactly the job he signed up for.
“The moment I sat in this chair in 2019 is when the pressure started,” Andonovski said on Monday. “It’s not like this is something new or something that I wasn’t aware of. I knew that this is how it’s going to be and I know what the expectations are. The only thing that has changed from 2019 to now is I just learned how to turn the pressure into excitement.”
The U.S. faces Portugal on Tuesday in each team’s final group-stage match. It is the first time since 2007 that the U.S. goes into its final group match without having already clinched a berth into the knockout round. The Americans are heavy favorites against Portugal, but a U.S. victory — especially one by a wide enough margin to win the group on goal difference, should the Netherlands defeat Vietnam — is hardly a given.
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