Team USA has advanced to the knockout stage in women’s soccer at the Tokyo Olympics, despite sleepily and sloppily winning just one of its three round-robin games in Group G.
The U.S. Women’s National Team secured the point it needed to reach the quarterfinals Tuesday morning with a lackluster and mostly uneventful scoreless draw against Australia in Kashima.
“It was a great test for us today to see that the players can execute the game plan very, very well,” U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said after the match. “So whatever we feel like we need to do to win the [next] game, we’re going to present it to them and then let them do their job.”
The top-ranked Americans, who received two saves from goalie Alyssa Naeher in the dual clean sheet, finished the group stage with the same 1-1-1 record as the Aussies. Alex Morgan had a potential goal on a header disallowed by VAR (Video Assistant Referee) in the 33rd minute, when she was ruled offside on a corner kick taken by Kelley O’Hara.
The U.S. advanced to the quarterfinals as the second-place finisher based on a better goal differential.
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The USWNT dropped its opening match to group winner Sweden last week (3-0) before rebounding with a 6-1 victory over New Zealand. The top two finishers in each group and the two best third-place finishers advance to the quarters beginning Friday. As the second-place team in Group G, the Americans will face the winner of Group F, likely either Brazil or the Netherlands, at 7 a.m. ET Friday in Yokohama.
Australia, ranked ninth in the FIFA world rankings, still could advance as one of the third-place finishers.
The U.S. squad was knocked out by Sweden in penalty kicks in the Olympic quarterfinals in 2016 in Brazil before capturing its fourth World Cup title in 2019.