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Encarnacao shines as Portugal beat Vietnam 2-0 for first World Cup win

Encarnacao shines as Portugal beat Vietnam 2-0 for first World Cup win

Friday, July 28, 2023, 07:39 GMT+7
Encarnacao shines as Portugal beat Vietnam 2-0 for first World Cup win
Soccer Football - FIFA Women's World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Group E - Portugal v Vietnam - Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand - July 27, 2023 Portugal's Jessica Silva celebrates with fans after the match. Photo: Reuters

HAMILTON, New Zealand -- Portugal's Telma Encarnacao scored one goal and set up the other in a 2-0 win over fellow Women's World Cup debutants Vietnam, sending the Southeast Asian side out of the tournament at Waikato Stadium on Thursday.

Portugal coach Francisco Neto made seven changes to the team that lost 1-0 to the Netherlands in their Group E opener and the decision paid off as first-half goals from Encarnacao and Francisca Nazareth earned them a first ever World Cup win.

Portugal are third in Group E with three points and will face the U.S. in their final group game in Auckland while Vietnam, yet to score or pick up a point, take on the Netherlands in Dunedin, with both matches on Tuesday.

The U.S. are level on four points with the Dutch but top the table on goal difference after the teams drew 1-1 on Thursday.

Soccer Football - FIFA Women's World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Group E - Portugal v Vietnam - Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand - July 27, 2023 Vietnam's Tran Thi Thu Thao in action with Portugal's Ana Capeta. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football - FIFA Women's World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Group E - Portugal v Vietnam - Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand - July 27, 2023 Vietnam's Tran Thi Thu Thao in action with Portugal's Ana Capeta. Photo: Reuters

In stark contrast to their struggling display against the Netherlands, Portugal dazzled under the floodlights in Hamilton and Neto was delighted with the victory even though the scoreline did not reflect their dominance.

"This is very important and it means a lot for all the players," said the Portugal coach, who has been in charge since 2014. "I'm so happy to be here, to compete. This victory is dedicated to all the players, past and present.

"The United States will be a completely different game ... Today, even though we had a victory, there are lots of things we can improve."

Encarnacao swept Portugal in front after seven minutes with a smart first-time finish from Lucia Alves' cross before turning provider for Nazareth, who fired the ball past goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh in the 21st minute.

Soccer Football - FIFA Women's World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Group E - Portugal v Vietnam - Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand - July 27, 2023 Portugal's Telma Encarnacao in action with Vietnam's Tran Thi Thu, Nguyen Thi Thanh Nha and Hoang Thi Loan. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football - FIFA Women's World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Group E - Portugal v Vietnam - Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand - July 27, 2023 Portugal's Telma Encarnacao in action with Vietnam's Tran Thi Thu, Nguyen Thi Thanh Nha and Hoang Thi Loan. Photo: Reuters

Only 11 places separate the two teams in the world rankings, with Portugal sitting higher at 21, but the contest was one-sided and the Europeans were firmly on top throughout with five attempts on target in the first half alone.

They could not add more gloss to the result, however, as Kim Thanh, who helped restrict holders the United States to three goals in Vietnam's opening defeat, was once again key in ensuring they did not concede more than two.

Despite Kim Thanh's efforts, Vietnam struggled to create chances and managed only one shot on target in the match when Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy drew a save from Patricia Morais just before the break.

"In the first half, I was not satisfied with the team," Vietnam coach Mai Duc Chung said. "They are 11 ranks higher than us and they come from Europe so, yes, they are much better than us ... This is a lesson for us.

"As a coach, I have learnt a lot (from this tournament). "We see our weaknesses, and we can learn from this."

Reuters

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