Olympic Soccer 2021 Results: USWNT Beats Netherlands in PKs; Semis Schedule Set

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 30, 2021

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - JULY 30: Megan Rapinoe #15 and Alyssa Naeher #1 of Team United States celebrate following their team's victory in the penalty shoot out after the Women's Quarter Final match between Netherlands and United States on day seven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at International Stadium Yokohama on July 30, 2021 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Alyssa Naeher has a knack for saving penalty kicks in major moments. 

The United States women's national team goalkeeper saved three total penalties Friday to help the Americans advance to the semifinals of the Olympics women's soccer tournament.

Naeher denied Lieke Martens in the second half and turned away two more spot kicks in the penalty shootout, one of which came from Golden Boot leader Vivianne Miedema.

The Americans did not play their sharpest soccer in the quarterfinal round, but a pair of first-half goals three minutes apart and Naeher's heroics set up a continental showdown with Canada in the semifinals.

Canada needed a penalty shootout win of its own to reach the final four. Stephanie Labbe was the PK hero against Brazil, as she turned away the final two spot kicks from the South Americans. 

Australia and Sweden will play in the other semifinal match. Australia needed extra time to get past Great Britain, while Sweden knocked out Japan in 90 minutes.


Quarterfinal Results

Australia 4-3 Great Britain (AET)

Sweden 3-1 Japan 

Canada 0-0 Brazil (Canada wins 4-3 on penalties) 

United States 2-2 Netherlands (United States wins 4-2 on penalties) 


Semifinal Schedule

Monday, August 2

United States vs. Canada (4 a.m. ET, USA Network)

Australia vs. Sweden (7 a.m. ET, USA Network)


Naeher Leads USWNT Past Netherlands

Naeher saved three of the five penalties she faced Friday. 

The American goalkeeper opened the penalty shootout by turning away Miedema with a save at the left post. 

U.S. Soccer WNT @USWNT

FREAKING FRAME IT 😤 @AlyssaNaeher https://t.co/wl0MFCPSTC

Miedema scored the Netherlands' two goals in the match in the 18th and 54th minutes. She finished her tournament with 10 goals, and she is likely to be awarded the Golden Boot. 

Naeher's second shootout save came in the fourth round on Aniek Nouwen. 

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

Naeher DID IT AGAIN in penalties to help the @USWNT reach the #TokyoOlympics semifinals! #OlympicHERstory https://t.co/9RDaFMKrVx

That allowed Megan Rapinoe to step up to the spot and finish a confident penalty into the top right corner of the net. 

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

Megan Rapinoe EVERYONE 👏👏👏 @USWNT x @TeamUSA x #TokyoOlympics https://t.co/TbDs7sDDOv

Rose Lavelle, Alex Morgan and Christen Press converted the first three penalties for the USWNT to keep the advantage given to them by Naeher in the first round. 

Naeher's first penalty denial of the contest came in the 81st minute when she dove to her left to deny Martens. 

U.S. Soccer WNT @USWNT

What’s cooler than being cool? @AlyssaNaeher in the clutch ❄️💉 🎥 @NBCOlympics https://t.co/ZKM9SISZK1

The Dutch earned the second-half spot kick when Lineth Beerensteyn was fouled in the middle of the box. The decision to let Martens take the penalty over Miedema might have cost the Dutch their spot in the final four. 

Samantha Mewis and Lynn Williams scored the two regulation goals for the Americans in the 28th and 31st minutes, respectively, to answer an early strike from Miedema that came on her first shot on target in the 18th minute. 

The Americans allowed Miedema to have enough space on both of her goals to place the ball outside the reach of Naeher. There were a handful of nervy moments throughout the match for the American defenders that will have to be worked on ahead of the clash with Canada. 

The last time the United States and Canada faced off in the Olympics was the semifinal of the 2012 Games in which Morgan won the contest in the 123rd minute. 


Canada Eliminates Brazil on Penalties

Before Naeher vaulted into the spotlight, Labbe had the best goalkeeping performance of the round. 

The Canadian goalkeeper saved penalties from Andressa and Rafaelle in the fourth and fifth rounds of the shootout to confirm Canada's place in the semifinals. 

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

Labbe saves the day! 🛑 Canada beats Brazil in PKs to advance to semis at the #TokyoOlympics! https://t.co/ivsYuvJfsq

The shootout did not get off to a great start for Canada, as Christine Sinclair had her opening spot kick denied by Barbara. 

Jessie Fleming, Ashley Lawrence, Adriana Leon and Vanessa Gilles made penalty kicks in that order to earn the 4-3 shootout victory. 

In the 120 minutes prior, Canada produced a single shot on target, while the Brazilians placed four of their nine attempts on frame. 

Canada will be playing in its third straight Olympic semifinal Monday. It won the third-place game at each of the last two Olympics. 

The Canadians have not gotten past the quarterfinals at the Women's World Cup. Tokyo likely is the last opportunity for Sinclair, the all-time international scoring leader, to hoist a trophy with the Canadians.