US Women draw Australia to clinch spot in quarterfinals

The U.S. Women’s National Team drew Australia 0-0 in its final group stage match of the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, clinching a spot in the knockout rounds. The result gave the USA a second-place finish in Group G and a berth to the quarterfinals against the winner of Group F, likely either Netherlands or Brazil. The match will be played in Yokohama at International Stadium Yokohama on Friday at 7 a.m. ET.

After an impressive 6-1 victory vs. New Zealand on Saturday, the U.S. faced a tough challenge from Australia, who was led by former USWNT assistant coach Tony Gustavsson. In an evenly matched affair in which the USA has the better chances from the run of play, Alex Morgan threatened first for the USA when she split the defense on a nice counterattacking run inside the first 10 minutes but Australia goalkeeper Teagan Micah saved her shot.

The Matildas created some danger on set plays, a few throw-ins and a number of corner kicks, but the USA almost totally shut down the Aussies from the run of play while keeping star striker Sam Kerr under wraps for most of the night.

U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher did have to make one tough save, leaping to push a header off the crossbar in 18th minute.

While Australia won the majority of the set pieces in the first half, the U.S. was the only team to put the ball in the net on the night, nearly opening the scoring on a corner kick of its own. After forward Megan Rapinoe played short to right back Kelley O’Hara on the right side, she swung a ball into the box which Morgan met just outside the six-yard box and sent a clinical header into the back of the net. The assistant referee raised the flag and after an extended VAR review it was deemed that Morgan was offside by mere inches.

Morgan teed up another solid opportunity just before the half, finding forward Christen Press running towards goal, but the forward’s shot was easily handled by Micah.

While the draw clinched a quarterfinal berth for the USA, it also put Australia in solid position to advance as a third-place team, but the Matildas must wait for the results of the later matches to confirm their place in the knockout stage.

U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski used all five of his available substitutes in the second half as the USA pushed for a goal, swapping out all three forwards while inserting midfielders Lindsey Horan and Kristie Mewis for Samantha Mewis and Rose Lavelle, respectively.

While Horan managed to fire off a few shots, the U.S. couldn’t find the back of the net and finished without a goal for just the second time since July 27, 2017. That match, which was also against Australia, was played in Seattle, Wash.