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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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USA-Netherlands Match Also High Stakes For World Cup, Fox Sports

  • The U.S. faces the Netherlands at 9 p.m. ET on Fox Wednesday night.
  • First place in their group is on the line after both teams won their opening games.
Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports

The USWNT is back in action on Wednesday night in the FIFA Women’s World Cup for a group-stage match that has big implications for not only the red, white, and blue, but also tournament organizers and Fox Sports.

Last week, the U.S. cruised to a 3-0 opening win against Vietnam, drawing the second-most viewers ever for a USWNT group-stage game as American fans helped fill up the 40,000-plus capacity Eden Park in Auckland. 

Wednesday night, the USA takes on the Netherlands at 9 p.m. ET on Fox from Wellington Regional Stadium, which is counting on a strong turnout after seeing dismal crowds for early matches like Spain-Costa Rica and Sweden-South Africa — even after FIFA gave away 20,000 free tickets to games in New Zealand because of lagging sales.

For Fox, it’s the final primetime U.S. game of group play — and the last guaranteed marquee matchup of the tournament. A win would ensure that a draw against Portugal — in a match scheduled for 3 a.m. ET next Tuesday — would be enough to win the group and bring on potentially two more primetime games in the Round of 16 and quarterfinals. 

A second-place finish would mean games in the middle of the night, unless Fox is able to convince FIFA to shift game times mid-tournament.

And for the USWNT — performing under the pressure of trying to win a third-straight World Cup — it’s all about avoiding the dreaded upset. On Tuesday, tournament co-hosts New Zealand were upset by the Philippines, just days after New Zealand pulled off a surprise of its own by taking down Norway in the tournament’s opening match.

Making the group stage guarantees a payment of $60,000 per player, with that number escalating to $270,000 for the eventual champion.

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