U.S. Women's Soccer Heads to Olympic Quarterfinals after Scoreless Match Against Australia
The United States women's soccer team's dream for Olympic gold is still alive as the team enters the knockout rounds following a scoreless game against Australia.
After an impressive 6-1 victory against New Zealand on Saturday, the U.S. ended Tuesday's match at 0-0, holding off pressure from the Australian team as head coach Vlatko Andonovski made the decision to wait on any substitutions until the second half.
The scoreless match marked just the second time the USWNT went without a goal since July 27, 2017.
"It was a tactical decision by Vlatko for us to shift defensively a little more conservatively and really allow them to get impatient, play it long and give it back to us," forward Alex Morgan said during a post-game briefing. "Eventually, I feel like both teams kind of sat in and it became a game of playing a professional game and moving on. So we look forward now to the quarterfinal."
The U.S. came close to taking the lead in the 31st minute when Morgan had what appeared to be a goal, nailing a header into the back of the net after a beautiful corner from Kelley O'Hara. However, the goal was ultimately called back after a lengthy video review found Morgan to be offside by inches.
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"I thought I was even with the player," Morgan told reporters after the game. "Obviously, it took VAR [the video review referee] about a couple minutes to make the decision, so clearly it was close. I think that's what we always want to do, is get in behind the back line and make their back line facing their own goal. Clearly, it was just a hair off."
Tuesday's draw meant the USWNT finished in second place within Group G and the team will play the Netherlands on Friday, July 30 in the quarterfinals. The U.S. had hoped to win Group G and secure top seeding for the knockout rounds, but had a disappointing loss to rival Sweden in their first match of the Olympics last Wednesday.
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"Once you get into group stage, as you want to get out, you don't want to give up too much," Julie Ertz told reporters. "So I think sometimes always taking the safe option isn't always the best option. So I think we had some really good pictures for us to learn from going forward as the knockout rounds come about. You have to be a little bit more daring. But also really excited to show the compactness the team can do and being able to adapt as the tournament goes on."
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.