'USWNT legend Hope Solo was my idol' - Portugal star Ines Pereira excited about challenge of facing Women's World Cup champion

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Hope Solo Ines Pereira USWNT Portugal split
Portugal's Ines Pereira grew up idolizing Hope Solo - and now she's ready for the challenge of facing the U.S. women's national team at the World Cup.
  • Portugal's Pereira admits Solo was her idol
  • Goalkeeper will test her skills vs USWNT in New Zealand
  • Portugal face world champions in final group game

WHAT HAPPENED? Pereira was one of the stand-out goalkeepers at the Euros last summer and she will hope to showcase that talent again as Portugal makes its Women's World Cup debut. Among the challenges the 24-year-old will face is the USWNT's stacked pool of forwards, though it was a player in another position that caught her eye when she got the chance to watch the four-time world champion growing up.

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WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to Indivisa about her idols as a young girl, Pereira said: "For female goalkeepers, it was Hope Solo. As for men's goalkeepers, it was Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon. I love Oliver Kahn also, but he was not in my time! I saw a lot of goalkeepers but Hope Solo, for me, she was the best. Maybe for everyone, she was one of the best goalkeepers in the world."

Asked if there are any particular forwards in Portugal's group that she is excited to come up against, the Servette shot-stopper added: "I think when you play against the World Cup winners and the Netherlands, you know that all the players are really good. I'm looking forward to playing against them - Vietnam, too. To be honest, I don't know them well but they are a really difficult team. I can't choose one player. I just want to play.

"It's our first experience in the World Cup and we want to enjoy it but also, we want to do our best and win. That is the most important thing."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Portugal proved to be a problematic opponent at last summer's Euros despite a group-stage exit and the team will hope to ruffle more feathers in New Zealand with a pacey and skilful attack. Francisco Neto's side has also shown it can be solid at the back too, with Pereira in goal for the goalless draw against European champions England in early July.


Ines Pereira Portugal Women 2023

Hope Solo USWNT 2015

WHAT NEXT? The USWNT will meet Portugal in its third and final group-stage game, on August 1. Before then, though, the world champion opens its tournament against Vietnam on July 21, with Portugal facing the Netherlands two days later.