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Olympic Soccer 2021: USWNT Ties Australia, Faces Netherlands in Knockout Round

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 27, 2021

United States' Alex Morgan, left, and Australia's Tameka Yallop battle for the ball during a women's soccer match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Kashima, Japan. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
Fernando Vergara/Associated Press

The United States women's national team played to a draw with Australia on Tuesday to conclude its group-stage play at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 0-0 draw secured a second-place finish in Group G for the USWNT and set up a rematch of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup final with the Netherlands in the quarterfinals. 

The Dutch blew past China to finish on top of Group F and produce one of the most anticipated matches in recent Olympic soccer tournaments. 

Brazil, Great Britain, Canada and Sweden all advanced to the final eight by finishing in the top two of their respective groups. Japan and Australia moved on as the two best third-place teams. 

           

Tuesday Olympic Soccer Results

Women's Soccer

Group E 

Canada 1, Great Britain 1

Japan 1, Chile 0

    

Group F

Netherlands 8, China 2

Brazil 1, Zambia 0

    

Group G

Sweden 2, New Zealand 0

United States 0, Australia 0

     

Recaps

United States 0, Australia 0

KASHIMA, JAPAN - JULY 27: Alanna Kennedy #14 of Team Australia battles with Alex Morgan #13 of Team United States before a game between Australia and USWNT at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium on July 27, 2021 in Kashima, Japan. (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Gett
Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The USWNT did what was required to finish in second place in Group G.

However, the performance did not inspire a ton of confidence about the team's prospects of winning the gold medal. In fact, you could make the case the Americans are more likely to be eliminated at the quarterfinal stage for the second straight Olympics. 

The USWNT put four of its seven shots on frame, but none of them found the back of the net.

The Americans had one goal called back after a VAR review in the first half. Alex Morgan was ruled offside in a tight decision made by the replay officials.

Vlatko Andonovski's side has now failed to score in two of its three Group G matches. It put six goals past New Zealand, which was one of four squads that failed to make it to the final eight. 

Forward Alex Morgan noted the team implemented a more defensive-minded approach to secure passage into the final eight, per ESPN.com.

"This [knockout stage] is when the tournament starts," Morgan said. "It was a tactical decision by [coach Vlatko Andonovski] to shift defensively, a little more conservatively, and really allow them to get impatient, play along and give it back to us." 

The Americans held the Matildas to two shots on target over 90 minutes. While the clean sheet is nice, the USWNT needs to be much better as a unit to get past the Netherlands. 

In the group stage, the Dutch scored 21 goals, while the USWNT recorded just 14 shots on target. Most of the Dutch goals came against weaker opposition, but that number is still stunning.

Australia has a meeting with Great Britain on the top half of the bracket. 

          

Netherlands 8, China 2

RIFU, JAPAN - JULY 24: Lynn Wilms of the Netherlands, Danielle van de Donk of the Netherlands, Dominique Janssen of the Netherlands, Jackie Groenen of the Netherlands, Lineth Beerensteyn of the Netherlands, Aniek Nouwen of the Netherlands celebrate after
BSR Agency/Getty Images

The Netherlands' scoring machine rolled into International Stadium Yokohama and stormed past China. 

The Dutch women left no doubt about finishing on top of Group F as they put eight goals past the Chinese. Golden Boot leader Vivienne Miedema produced two of the eight tallies on Tuesday in the 65th and 76th minutes. 

The Netherlands went into the half with a 3-1 advantage thanks to a goal from Shanice van de Sanden and two out of Lineth Beerensteyn. The attacking onslaught extended into the opening part of the second half with five goals between the 47th and 76th minutes. 

Given the form the Netherlands is in, it has to viewed as at least a slight favorite to win the quarterfinal.

The USWNT is capable of slowing down the Dutch. In fact, it did so in the 2019 Women's World Cup final, but the two sides are in much different form than they were in France two years ago. 

For the USWNT to beat the Netherlands, it needs to produce a much better overall performance to counter and contain an attack that is on fire. 

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