The two finalists from the 2019 Women's World Cup final meet in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics, with the U.S. women's national team and Netherlands going head-to-head in Yokohama on Friday.
The U.S. won the last World Cup title at the Dutch's expense, with Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle scoring in an eight-minute span as part of a 2–0 win in Lyon that secured the U.S.'s fourth title. The two sides met again in November 2020, with the U.S. winning by that same score on goals by Lavelle and Kristie Mewis.
The U.S. has struggled by its own standards in this competition, though, failing to top its group for the first time since the first women's soccer Olympic tournament in 1996. The Netherlands, meanwhile, scored a group-stage-record 21 goals, including an Olympic-record eight by Vivianne Miedema, to roll through the opening stage.
How to Watch:
Time: 7 a.m. ET
TV Channel: NBCSN, Telemundo
Live Stream: You can stream the match on fuboTV. Sign up now for a free seven-day trial.
USWNT XI: Naeher; O’Hara, Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Dunn; Ertz, Horan, Mewis; Williams, Lloyd, Heath.
Netherlands XI: van Veenendaal; Janssen, Nouwen, van der Gragt, Wilms; Groenen, van de Donk, Roord; Martens, van de Sanden, Miedema.
The U.S. enters on the heels of a 0–0 draw vs. Australia, the manner of which drew some criticism. The U.S. is a team that has prided itself on being an aggressor and enforcer, yet it took the form of a more passive, defensive side, one that appeared content to settle for a draw and second in the group. It's true that a win would not have resulted in a different fate after Sweden ran the table in the group stage, including a 3–0 win over the U.S., but Vlatko Andonovski's side is out to change the narrative now that the knockout stage is here.
It was in the quarterfinals where the U.S. lost to Sweden on penalty kicks in Brazil five years ago, marking the first time it had failed to reach the gold-medal game. It'll take a win over one of the most dangerous teams left in the field to ensure that fate isn't repeated this time around.
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