Captain Lindsey Horan came to the rescue of defending champions the United States after the Netherlands had threatened an upset at the Women’s World Cup.
New Manchester City signing Jill Roord put the Dutch on course for a famous win after a clinical finish from the edge of the box.
The Stars and Stripes have been a superpower on the world stage, winning their previous 13 matches spanning three tournaments, but they struggled to breakdown a resolute Netherlands defence until Horan equalised with a header from a corner.
In a repeat of the 2019 final – which the USA won 2-0 in Lyon – Savannah DeMelo fired wide when the game was goalless while Trinity Rodman forced Daphne van Domselaar into a fingertip save moments after the Dutch had taken the lead.
It looked like being a bitterly frustrating day for the USA when Julie Ertz had a header deflected behind before Horan equalised.
The United States stay top of Group E with four points from two games – the same number as the Netherlands who trail on goal difference.
“We performed brilliantly and at times it was really fantastic,” said Netherlands coach Andries Jonker. “You have to be happy with 1-1.
“These games are battles from the first second to the last. The only thing you can say is that women’s football has evolved incredibly.
“We’re there, along with the US, and I’m very satisfied with that.”
The USA face Portugal next at Eden Park, Auckland, on Tuesday (08:00 BST) while the Netherlands play Vietnam in Dunedin at the same time.
Portugal and Vietnam, who are both yet to record a point, play their second group game later in Hamilton (08:30 BST).
Both sets of fans applauded their teams off the pitch at full-time after an entertaining affair in front of 27,312 fans.
Wellington was awash with colour hours before the lunchtime kick-off local time as fans took to the streets of New Zealand’s capital city early.
There was a carnival atmosphere inside the fan park with some supporters dressed top to toe in stars and stripes. Others from the Netherlands arrived at the ground in national costume.
One supporter inside the ground held up a sign saying: “They’re not just women, they’re legends”.
Helicopters buzzed above the city from early morning adding to the sense of occasion, while US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was on official business in the city, broke off from talks to cheer on the defending champions.
Billed as the biggest fixture of the 48 group games taking place in Australia and New Zealand, it did not disappoint.
The United States, who also defeated the Netherlands at the Olympics in 2021, are strongly tipped to win a fifth World Cup despite 14 of their players appearing at their first World Cup.
But Andries Jonker’s side produced a thoroughly impressive performance and looked set to send out a powerful message until Horan’s equaliser.
The Netherlands had required a 93rd-minute winner in their final qualifying game against Iceland just to make this World Cup.
Yet despite being denied the services of influential forward Vivianne Miedema because of injury, the 2019 runners-up once again look as though they could go deep in this tournament.
The United States are yet to fire on all cylinders at this World Cup.
Vlatko Andonovski’s side were guilty of wasting a hatful of chances in their 3-0 win over debutants Vietnam, while against the Dutch they once again created enough opportunities to have taken maximum points.
“In the first half, we allowed them to take control of the tempo and slow down the tempo a lot more than we wanted,” said the USA coach.
“It was a difficult match and even though it didn’t finish the way we wanted it to finish, I thought it was a very good match.”
There was frustration when Alex Morgan, who had a penalty saved against Vietnam, thought she had scored the winner after poking Trinity Rodman’s pass into the net.
However, it was ruled out for offside while Rodman dragged a great chance wide in the closing stages.
“I think the first half, we could be a little disappointed in how we played but I think we fixed things right away,” said captain and goalscorer Horan.
“The pressure that we got on, the amount of chances and opportunities that came from it – I’m so proud of the team and their response.”
Andonovski will expect his players to be firing when they return to Auckland next week to face Portugal in the third and final group game.
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