US stumble into knockout stages of Women's World Cup

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The United States reached the knockout stages of the Women's World Cup with a 0-0 draw against Portugal on Tuesday.

The four-times champions survived a late onslaught from the tournament debutants to keep their title defence alive at Eden Park.

The Americans were playing with everything on the line but spurned several chances to find the net and the addition of veteran Megan Rapinoe in the second half did little to turn things around against a physical Portugal defence.

They survived a huge scare in stoppage time when Ana Capeta hit the post and another when the striker won a free kick just outside the box a few minutes later but held on in the nerve-searing final minutes of the Group E clash.

"We know it's not good enough, we're not happy with our performance," US coach Vlatko Andonovski said after the match. "We qualified for the next round, we’re moving on."

The United States move on to the last 16 in Melbourne, where they will almost certainly face Sweden, after finishing in second place in Group E behind the Netherlands who thrashed Vietnam 7-0.

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