USWNT held by Australia, reach Olympic quarterfinals
A stalemate between the USWNT and Australia, as the Americans finished second in Group G and qualified for the quarterfinals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The 0-0 draw in Kashima was far from pretty, though.
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Alex Morgan had a goal disallowed for a marginal offside decision in the first half and that was as good as it got for the U.S. as Australia’s Mary Fowler hit the crossbar with a header.
With the draw Australia will likely have qualified for the last eight of the tournament as one of the top two third-place teams.
The USWNT has never finished with fewer than six points at an Olympic or World Cup group stage, but finished with four in this group as Sweden finished top of Group G with nine points from nine.
Vlatko Andonovski’s side now head to Yokohama for their quarterfinal on Friday, with a clash against either the Netherlands or Brazil likely.
That will be a huge step up for the USWNT, as they have yet to really get going in Japan.
3 things we learned
1. USWNT sloppy in possession, too cautious: Throughout the tournament the U.S. has been guilty of giving the ball away too easily. That happened again against Australia and they could hardly build any attacks, with their opponents having 61 percent of possession. Of course, they were happy enough to play for the draw in the end but they have limped into the quarterfinals and you get the sense that Andonovski’s squad rotation is impacting the rhythm of this team.
2. Kerr, Australia can make deep run: They are solid defensively and in Sam Kerr they have a genuine superstar, and the Matildas showed here they can reach the latter stages and cause problems in the knockout rounds. If they continue to be this well organized, they will frustrate the heck out of teams.
3. Davidson stands up: With a shutout, their first of the tournament, the standout defensive player was Tierna Davidson. The young center back was partnered alongside Becky Sauerbrunn and the duo looked very comfortable and should probably start together in the knockout rounds. Abby Dahlkemper has looked a little shaky in recent games and Davidson took her chance.
Player of the Match: Sam Kerr - Oozed class and did her best to hold the ball up and create for Australia.
The USWNT looked dangerous on the counter attack early on as Alex Morgan was set free but she slipped just as she got her shot away.
Australia improved and Mary Fowler hit the crossbar with a header and the USWNT struggled to get going.
At the other end Alex Morgan was denied an opener as she headed home a short corner, but it was ruled out for offside and VAR backed up the extremely tight call.
In the second half the USWNT sat back and Australia did all the pressing as Fowler flashed a shot wide and Tierna Davidson blocked a shot from Simon.
Lindsey Horan and Tobin Heath came on for Sam Mewis and Megan Rapinoe.
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Horan headed a free kick wide in a rare chance for the USWNT, as Carli Lloyd and Lynn Williams were thrown on late in the game to try and get the offense firing.
It didn’t work as Australia played out the game with plenty of possession and the USWNT sat back and played for the draw and to conserve energy.