PREVIEW: USWNT Battles Australia in Group G Finale with Quarterfinal Berth on the Line
The U.S. Women’s National Team bounced back from a disappointing opening loss to Sweden to beat New Zealand in resounding fashion in its second match at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and now looks to carry that momentum into an important Group G finale against Australia. The teams will square off at 5 p.m. local/4 a.m. ET on Tuesday, July 27 at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium in Kashima. The match will be broadcast in the United States on the USA Network and Telemundo with streaming coverage also provided at NBCOlympics.com and through the Telemundo App. Replays will be available later that day at 10 a.m. ET and 6 p.m. ET on the USA Network and again at 11:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
With Australia falling to Sweden, 4-2, in its second match, that sets the stage for the winner of USA vs. Australia to finish second in Group G. A draw would give second place to the USA. The Americans, which have a superior goal difference over Australia (plus-2 vs. minus-1) need a win or a tie to punch their ticket to the knockout rounds. The top two finishers in each group plus the two best third-place teams advance to the quarterfinals. Should teams be level on points at the end of group play, the first tiebreaker is superior goal difference followed by most total goals scored.
The quarterfinals kick off on Friday, July 30. The winner of Group G will face the third-place finisher from Group E or F at 7 p.m. local/6 a.m. ET in Saitama while the second-place team in Group G will face the winner of Group F at 8 p.m. local/7 a.m. ET at International Stadium Yokohama in Kanagawa. Should a third-place team from Group G go through to the knockout round, they will face the winner of Group E in Kashima at 6 p.m. local/5 a.m. ET. Coverage is available for all matches through NBCOlympics.com.
USWNT OLYMPIC WOMEN’S SOCCER ROSTER BY POSITION (CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (3): 22-Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 5), 18-Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 6), 1-Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 75)
DEFENDERS (7): 17-Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City, ENG; 73/0), 12-Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 36/1), 2-Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 118/24), 20-Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 35/0), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 141/2), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 189/0), 14-Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 57/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 8-Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 112/20), 9-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 100/23), 16-Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 58/15), 19-Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 8/1), 6-Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 27/4), 3-Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage; 79/23)
FORWARDS (6): 7-Tobin Heath (Unattached; 173/35), 10-Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 308/126), 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 182/111), 11-Christen Press (Unattached; 151/64), 15-Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 181/59), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 37/11)
After a loss in their opening match, the U.S. Women’s National Team bounced back with an impressive and dominating 6-1 victory against New Zealand in Group G play of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on July 24 at Saitama Stadium. The U.S. got goals from midfielder Rose Lavelle, midfielder Lindsey Horan, forward Christen Press and forward Alex Morgan while also forcing two own goals from New Zealand to put itself in position to advance to the quarterfinals.
The six goals scored marked the USA’s highest scoring performance ever in an Olympic match while the five-goal victory also set a record for the USA’s largest margin of victory ever at the Olympic Games.
In the ninth minute, Lavelle gave the USA an early lead that they would never relinquish, scoring her first Olympic goal off an assist from Tobin Heath. Playing in her 100th cap, Horan doubled the USA’s lead with her first Olympic goal, scoring off a double header following a corner kick in the 45th minute.
The USWNT would find the back of the net four more times over the final half-hour of play, forcing a New Zealand own goal in the 63rd minute. The Football Ferns pulled one back in the 72nd after a goal by Betsy Hassett, but scores from Christen Press in the 80th minute, Alex Morgan in the 87th and another New Zealand own goal in the 93rd put the USA squarely back in the control while also providing a critical boost to the overall goal difference.
GROUP G AT A GLANCE
Entering the third and final day of the group play, Sweden leads Group G with six points and -- along with Great Britain – has clinched a spot in the knockout rounds. A win or a draw against New Zealand would clinch the group for the Swedes. That match also kicks off at 5 p.m. local/4 a.m. ET.
The USA and Australia both have three points, but the USWNT is currently second in the group with a better overall goal difference (plus-2 to Australia’s minus-1), which is the first tiebreaker. The USA will finish second in the group with a win or a tie in the group finale vs Australia. The top two teams from each group as well as the top-two third place teams advance to the knockout stages. The USA could still potentially get through to knockout rounds even with a loss, via one of two third-place berths to the quarterfinals, though would have to wait for results from Groups E and F.
With two wins to open the tournament, Great Britain has already booked its spot in the knockout round and leads Group E with six points. Team GB will face Canada on Saturday with first place in the group at stake while hosts Japan are still in search of their first victory at this Olympics and will take on Chile.
In Group F, the Netherlands and Brazil look primed to advance to the quarterfinals, each sitting on four points. The sides played to a spirited 3-3 draw on Wednesday, though the Netherlands remain first in the group with a plus-seven goal differential, compared to plus-five for Brazil. The Netherlands face China and Brazil will take on Zambia to close out Group F.
INSIDE THE SERIES: USA vs. AUSTRALIA
The USA has played Australia 30 times overall, with three previous meetings at world championship events. The sides drew, 1-1, in a group stage match at the 2004 Olympics in Athens in their only previous matchup at the Olympics and also squared off in the group stage at two World Cups -- a 4-1 victory for the USWNT in 1995 and a 3-1 win in the USA’s first match of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.Megan Rapinoe scored twice and Christen Press got the third goal in Winnipeg, which proved to be the game-winner.
The USA leads the all-time series between the teams, 26-1-3and while the two countries first met in 1987, Australia only beat the USA for the first time on June 27, 2018, a 1-0 victory in Seattle, Washington. The teams tied 1-1 on June 29, 2018, in East Hartford, Connecticut, but the USA picked up a rousing win in the most recent meeting, a 5-3 triumph on April 4, 2019, in Commerce City, Colorado. Alex Morgan scored her 100th international goal, Mallory Pugh tallied a brace in front of her hometown crowd, and Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath added goals of their own in a thrilling matchup that also saw the USA erase a 2-1 deficit.
Over its last three games with Australia, the USA has a record of 1-1-1 and all three matches have been decided by two goals or fewer.
HORAN HITS ONE HUNDRED
With her start vs. New Zealand on July 24, Lindsey Horan became the 41st American female to play 100 times for her country and she became the seventh U.S. player to score in her 100th cap. The 27-year-old Horan debuted for the USA at the Algarve Cup in March of 2013 against China PR. She earned two caps in 2013 and four in 2015 but didn’t really start to break into the team until 2016, when she played in 24 games (14 starts) and made the Olympic Team. Since then, she has been a mainstay on the U.S. team and one of the best and most consistent American players for both club and country. She is 18th youngest USWNT player to earn her 100th cap. She has started in 67 of her 100 caps and joins Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, Tisha Venturini, Tiffeny Milbrett, Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan as the only USWNT players to score in their 100th caps.
On June 30, the International Olympic Committee agreed to a more flexible approach towards the participation of the alternate players in the Olympic Football Tournaments, ruling that all participating countries are now entitled, if they choose, to reconstitute their teams ahead of every match. This means that while each team must still only have 18 players on its game day roster for each Olympic match, teams now can choose those 18 from a total of 22 players – the original 18 named to the Olympic Team plus the four named alternates, who are now members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team. The IOC made it clear that this is an exception made only for the Tokyo 2020 Games and does not create a precedent for future Olympics.
The IOC also ruled that a player must be on an 18-player game day roster in order to be considered an Olympian and receive a medal if her team does win one. With former alternates Catarina Macario, Jane Campbell and Casey Krueger appearing on the USA’s 18-player roster for the July 24 match vs. New Zealand, they are now considered Olympians. Macario and Krueger also made their Olympic debuts, playing the last few minutes of the match, a period in which the USA scored two goals.
Additionally, for the first time in a world championship event, teams are allowed five substitutes each, plus one potential concussion substitute according to the new established protocols, in addition to an extra sub if a match in the knockout rounds goes into overtime. Two yellow cards in separate games over the first four matches will result in a one-game suspension, but single yellow cards will clear after the Quarterfinals. The U.S. has used all five subs in each of its first two group stage games with 19 different players seeing game action.
USWNT EYES OLYMPIC HISTORY
Four-time Olympic gold medalists, the U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team had advanced to the gold medal game of every Olympic Women’s Soccer Tournament that had been contested until 2016, when the Americans were knocked out in penalty kicks in the quarterfinal round by Sweden. The USA won the inaugural gold medal in 1996 in Atlanta, won silver in 2000 in Sydney and then won three straight golds after standing atop the podium in Athens, Greece in 2004, Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.
The USA’s four gold medals are the most by any nation in the history of the Olympic Soccer Tournament – women’s or men’s – and its five total medals lead all women’s teams in the competition.
2021 USWNT MEDIA GUIDE
The 2021 U.S. Women’s National Team Media Guide is available for download. The Media Guide features all the history and statistics of the USWNT, as well as full bios on technical staff and the current top players, information on the USA’s Youth National Teams, and general important information on U.S. Soccer.
USA ROSTER NOTES
Carli Lloyd has the most Olympic appearances on the roster with 18 and the most Olympic goals with eight. Tobin Heath, who along with Lloyd is competing in her fourth Olympics, has made 14 Olympic appearances.
Lloyd’s 18 career Olympic appearances rank second in USWNT history, trailing only Christie Pearce Rampone with 22 while Heath’s 14 Olympic appearances are tied with Shannon Boxx and Heather O’Reilly for ninth in USWNT history.
The USA’s 22-player roster averages 98 international caps per player and has a combined total of 109 Olympic appearances and 21 Olympic goals, courtesy of Lloyd (8), Alex Morgan (6), Megan Rapinoe (3), Crystal Dunn (1), Rose Lavelle (1), Lindsey Horan (1) and Christen Press (1). Lloyd and Morgan rank second and third, respectively, for the most Olympic goals scored in USWNT history, trailing only Abby Wambach, who scored nine goals combined at the 2004 and 2012 Olympics.
Nine players have made their Olympic made their Olympic debut for the USA during Tokyo 2020: Six on July 21 against Sweden – Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Rose Lavelle, Kristie Mewis, Samantha Mewis and Alyssa Naeher – and three more on July 24 against New Zealand – Emily Sonnett, Catarina Macario and Casey Krueger.
The average age of the 22 players on the Olympic Team roster is just under 30 years of age.
The USA has advanced out of its group in each of its six previous Olympic appearances, winning the group five times and finishing second at the inaugural games in 1996, though the USA would go on to win gold.
So far this year, 12 players have scored the USA’s 43 goals: Megan Rapinoe (7), Christen Press (6), Samantha Mewis (5), Alex Morgan (4), Lindsey Horan (4), Carli Lloyd (3), Kristie Mewis (2), Tobin Heath (2), Margaret Purce (2), Lynn Williams (2), Rose Lavelle (2) and Catarina Macario. Three of the USA’s 43 goals in 2021 have been own goals.
Sixteen different players have also tallied an assist in 2021: Carli Lloyd (6), Christen Press (5), Lindsey Horan (4), Samantha Mewis (3), Rose Lavelle (2), Megan Rapinoe (2), Kristie Mewis (2), Crystal Dunn (2), Julie Ertz (2), Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, Emily Sonnett, Casey Krueger, Sophia Smith, Tierna Davidson and Tobin Heath.
Overall, 19 different players have been directly involved in at least one of the USWNT’s 43 goals in the 2021 calendar year.
Press (6 goals, 5 assists) leads way with 11 goal contributions followed by Rapinoe (7 goals, 2 assist) and Lloyd (3 goals, 6 assists) with nine goal contributions while and Samantha Mewis (5 goals, 3 assists) has been involved in eight.
IN FOCUS: AUSTRALIA | FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
FIFA World Ranking: 9
Olympic Appearances: 4th (2000, 2004, 2016, 2020)
Best Olympic Finish: Quarterfinals (2004, 2016)
Overall Record in Olympics: 3-6-4 (GF: 17, GA: 20)
Record vs. USA:1-26-3
Head Coach: Tony Gustavsson
AUSTRALIA OLYMPIC WOMEN’S SOCCER TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Lydia Williams (Arsenal, ENG), 18-Teagan Micah (Sandviken, NOR), 22-Mackenzie Arnold (West Ham United, ENG)
DEFENDERS (7): 4-Clare Polkinghorne ( GIK, SWE), 14-Alanna Kennedy (Tottenham, ENG), 7-Steph Catley (Arsenal, ENG), 12-Ellie Carpenter (Lyon, FRA), 19-Courtney Nevin (Western Sydney Wanderers), 20-Charlotte Grant (Rosengard, Sweden), 21-Laura Brock (Guingamp, FRA)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 3-Kyra Cooney-Cross (Melbourne Victory), 5-Aivi Luik (Sevilla, ESP), 6-Chloe (Kansas City, USA), 8-Elise -Knight (, SWE), 10-Emily van Egmond (Unattached), 13-Tameka (West Ham United, ENG)
FORWARDS (6): 2-Sam Kerr (Chelsea, ENG), 9-Caitlin Foord (Arsenal, ENG), 11-Mary Fowler (Montpellier, FRA), 15-Emily ( GIK, SWE), 16-Hayley Raso (Everton, ENG), 17-Kyah Simon (PSV, NED)
AUSTRALIA ROSTER NOTES
Australia opened the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a 2-1 victory over arch-rivals New Zealand on July 21 at Tokyo Stadium. Australia started the match on the front foot and opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a goal by Tameka and doubled its advantage in the 33rd when Kerr headed in a corner kick from Steph Catley. New Zealand pulled one back in the 91st minute, but the held on to take all three points and outshot New Zealand, 16-5, on the night with a 10-1 advantage on corner kicks.
Australia is looking to rebound following a 4-2 defeat to Sweden on Saturday evening in Saitama. The Swedes opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a goal by Fridolina, but the responded and tied the match before halftime off a Sam Kerr header in the 36th minute. Australia would take the lead just minutes into the second half as Kerr tallied her second goal of the game and third of the tournament with another stellar header, but Sweden would score three unanswered goals to win the match, 4-2 and clinch its spot in the knockout round with six points through two matches. In the 69th minute with Australia trailing 3-2, Kerr had an opportunity to tie the match from the penalty spot, but her attempt was saved by Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl.
With 45 international goals in 95 caps, Kerr is the leading scorer on the Olympic roster and needs just three goals to pass Lisa De Vanna to become the all-time leading scorer in Australia Women’s National Team history. With a goal and three assists, Kerr has been directly involved in every goal Australia has scored so far at Tokyo 2020 and her three goals are tied for the fourth-most by any player in the tournament through the first two match days.
Almost all of Australia’s top players have at one time or another played in the NWSL, but only one is playing this season, Chloe for Kansas City. Fourteen members of the have been rostered with NWSL clubs.
Australia, despite having the majority of its roster in their 20s or younger, is one of the most experienced teams in the world. Three players have 40 or more caps, led by defender Clare Polkinghorne, who has played 131 times and scored 11 goals for the . Midfielder Elise -Knight (113/2), who turned out for the Seattle Reign and Washington Spirit in the NWSL and midfielder Emily van Egmond (104/23), who played for the Reign, Red Stars and Orlando Pride in NWSL is the other members of the Century Club on the roster, but seven players have cap totals in the 80s and 90s.
Australia has 15 players on its roster who have scored at the full international level. The USA has 17.