Following the United States' 0-0 draw with Australia, which assured the Americans' berth in the knockout round, former Cal star Alex Morgan said the real tournament starts now.
"This [knockout stage] is when the tournament starts," Morgan said at a news conference after Tuesday's game. "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.
"Eventually, I feel like both teams kind of sat in, and it became a matter of playing a professional game and moving on. It's seeing how Vlatko wants us to set up against that [next] team. Tactically we had a little shift this game, we're experienced enough and professional enough to be able to do so and face a team in a way that puts us on top and really plays to our strengths."
The Americans, who finished 1-1-1 in group play, will face The Netherlands in a quarterfinal game on Friday at 4 a.m. Pacific time. The Netherlands is ranked No. 4 in the world and finished 2-0-1 in its group, scoring 21 goals in its three games.
It appeared Morgan had scored a goal against Australia, but it was disallowed after a VAR review showed she was slightly offside.
She was back in the starting lineup against the Aussies after coming off the bench in the previous game against New Zealand. Morgan played 74 minutes and attempted one shot.
---Former Cal stars Betsy Hassett and Daisy Cleverley were starters on the New Zealand team, which saw their Olympic hopes end with a 2-0 loss to Sweden. New Zealand lost all three of its games in the group stage and will not advance.
Hassett, who had scored a goal against the Americans, attempted one shot against Sweden.
Cover photo of Alex Morgan header is by Jack Gruber, USA TODAY
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