KASHIMA, Japan (July 27, 2021) -- The U.S. Women’s National Team drew Australia 0-0 in its final group stage match of the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, clinching a spot in the knockout rounds. The result gave the USA a second-place finish in Group G and a berth to the quarterfinals against the winner of Group F, likely either Netherlands or Brazil. The match will be played in Yokohama at International Stadium Yokohama, just south of Tokyo, on Friday at 7 a.m. ET.
After an impressive 6-1 victory vs. New Zealand on Saturday, the U.S. faced a tough challenge from Australia, who was led by former USWNT assistant coach Tony Gustavsson. In an evenly matched affair in which the USA has the better chances from the run of play, Alex Morgan threatened first for the USA when she split the defense on a nice counterattacking run inside the first 10 minutes but Australia goalkeeper Teagan Micah saved her shot.
The Matildas created some danger on set plays, a few throw-ins and a number of corner kicks, but the USA almost totally shut down the Aussies from the run of play while keeping star striker Sam Kerr under wraps for most of the night.
U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher did have to make one tough save, leaping to push a header off the crossbar in 18th minute.
While Australia won the majority of the set pieces in the first half, the U.S. was the only team to put the ball in the net on the night, nearly opening the scoring on a corner kick of its own. After forward Megan Rapinoe played short to right back Kelley O’Hara on the right side, she swung a ball into the box which Morgan met just outside the six-yard box and sent a clinical header into the back of the net. The assistant referee raised the flag and after an extended VAR review it was deemed that Morgan was offside by mere inches.
Morgan teed up another solid opportunity just before the half, finding forward Christen Press running towards goal, but the forward’s shot was easily handled by Micah.
While the draw clinched a quarterfinal berth for the USA, it also put Australia in solid position to advance as a third-place team, but the Matildas must wait for the results of the later matches to confirm their place in the knockout stage.
U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski used all five of his available substitutes in the second half as the USA pushed for a goal, swapping out all three forwards while inserting midfielders Lindsey Horan and Kristie Mewis for Samantha Mewis and Rose Lavelle, respectively.
While Horan managed to fire off a few shots, the U.S. couldn’t find the back of the net and finished without a goal for just the second time since July 27, 2017. That match, which was also against Australia, was played in Seattle, Wash.
The USA’s record against Australia now stands at 26-1-4 and 0-0-2 at the Olympics. Over its last three games with Australia, the USA has a record of 1-1-2 and all four matches have been decided by two goals or fewer.
With the result, head coach Vlatko Andonovski is now 23-1-2 in his first 26 games.
With her inclusion in today’s match day roster, forward Lynn Williams is now officially deemed an Olympian by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), a status now achieved by all 22 players on the USA’s Olympic roster. She’s the 10th player to earn her Olympic debut in Tokyo. Williams played the final 16 minutes of today’s match.
Goalkeepers Adrianna Franch and Jane Campbell are the only players in the squad yet to earn game minutes, though both have been named to a match roster and have been officially deemed Olympians by the IOC.
Andonovski made five changes from the starting line-up against New Zealand on Saturday. Kelley O’Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn replaced Abby Dahlkemper and Emily Sonnett on the back line, Samantha Mewis replaced Lindsey Horan in the midfield while Alex Morgan and Christen Press replaced Tobin Heath and Carli Lloyd at forward.
Horan and Carli Lloyd are the only two players to appear in all 15 matches for the USA so far in 2021.
Crystal Dunn, Rose Lavelle and Alyssa Naeher have started all three matches for the USA so far at the Olympics.
This was the first time in history that the USWNT finished with fewer than six points in the group stage of a world championship event.
This is the second time the USA has finished second in its group at the Olympics, with the only previous instance coming in 1996. The USA would go on to win gold medal.
The USA did receive two yellow cards – one Megan Rapinoe and one to Rose Lavelle – so a caution for either in the quarterfinal match would mean a one-game suspension for the semifinal, should the USA win its next game.
-U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report-
Match: United States Women’s National Team vs. Australia
Date: July 27, 2021
Competition: 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Venue: Ibaraki Kashima Stadium; Kashima, Japan
Kickoff: 5 p.m. local (4 a.m. ET)
Weather: 77 degrees; cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
AUS 0 0 0
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Capt.), 12-Tierna Davidson, 2-Crystal Dunn; 8-Julie Ertz, 16-Rose Lavelle (6-Kristie Mewis, 88), 3-Samantha Mewis (9-Lindsey Horan, 65); 11-Christen Press (21-Lynn Williams, 74), 13-Alex Morgan (10-Carli Lloyd, 74), 15-Megan Rapinoe (7-Tobin Heath, 65)
Substitutes not used: 18-Adrianna Franch, 20-Casey Krueger
Head coach: Vlatko Andonovski
AUS: 18-Teagan Micah; 12-Ellie Carpenter, 14-Alanna Kennedy, 4-Clare Polkinghorne; 13-Tameka Yallop, 17-Kyah Simon (15-Emily Gielnik, 84), 6-Chloe Logarzo (3-Kyra Cooney-Cross, 62), 7-Steph Catley, 10-Emily Van Egmond, 2-Sam Kerr (Capt.), 9-Caitlin Foord
Substitutes not used: 1-Lydia Williams, 5-Aivi Luik, 11-Mary Fowler, 19-Courtney Nevin, 21-Laura Brock
Head coach: Tony Gustavsson
Stats Summary: USA / AUS
Shots: 8 / 10
Shots on Goal: 4 / 3
Saves: 3 / 4
Corner Kicks: 3 / 5
Fouls: 10 / 6
Offside: 6 / 1
USA – Megan Rapinoe (Caution) 38th minute
AUS – Kyra Cooney-Cross (Caution) 69
USA – Rose Lavelle (Caution) 72
Referee: Anastasia Pustovoitova (RUS)
AR1: Ekaterina Kurochkina (RUS)
AR2: Sanja Rodak (CRO)
4th Official: Esther Staubli (SUI)
Insiders Woman of the Match: Tierna Davidson