LONDON TRIUMPH AS USA WINS THIRD STRAIGHT GOLD MEDAL IN 2012
After an emotional, exciting and historic 2011, the U.S. Women’s National Team had to quickly turn its focus to 2012 and the London Olympic Games. After a successful qualifying campaign in Vancouver, Canada in January, the USA entered the competition in the U.K. with high expectations.
With such a relatively short time between world championships – as the back-to-back World Cup/Olympics cycle has been going on since 1995/96 – the U.S. roster was largely unchanged from the team that lost a heartbreaking penalty kick shootout against Japan in the 2011 Women's World Cup.
After taking first place in the 2012 CONCACAF Women's Championship in January, the U.S. team played a friendly against New Zealand in February in freezing temperatures and mounted a dramatic late comeback to defeat the Kiwis 2-1 on two goals from Alex Morgan. In March, the USA made its annual trek to the Algarve Cup in Portugal where - in a rare occurrence - it did not qualify for the championship game after losing to Japan 1-0 in group play. The USA defeated Sweden 4-0 in the third-place match to finish the tournament.
In April, the USA traveled the Japan for matches against Japan (1-1 draw) and Brazil (3-0 win) before coming back home for two training camps in May. The USA pounded China 4-1 in a friendly in late May, which set the stage for a trip to Sweden in June for matches against the hosts and Japan, as all three countries hit their stride in their Olympic preparation. The USA's Olympic Send-Off match took place on June 30 against Canada at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, and the U.S. prevailed with the 2-1 victory.
The U.S. was drawn into Group G for the 2012 London Olympics along with Colombia, France and Korea DPR.
The United States went undefeated at the Olympics, becoming the first team to win all six matches during an Olympic women’s soccer tournament. The USA had a shock start to the competition, falling behind 2-0 to France after just 14 minutes in the opening match, but battled back to win 4-2. The USA then defeated Colombia and Korea DPR in group play before downing New Zealand in the quarterfinal and Canada in a dramatic 4-3 semifinal triumph.
The USA then beat Japan 2-1 in the gold medal game at a sold-out Wembley Stadium in front of 80,203 fans as midfielder Carli Lloyd scored both goals. Forward Abby Wambach scored in the first five games of the tournament, the only U.S. player ever to accomplish that feat.