The standards are such with the United States women’s national team, number one, that it is a failure simply to be playing in a match for the bronze medal. If the defending World Cup champions miss the podium entirely, it would be considered a competitive catastrophe leading to a major soul-searching in the US women’s program.
That’s the kind of pressure faced by a USWNT that has previously featured in five of the six women’s soccer gold medal games that have been played. In their first bronze medal match (Thursday, 4am ET), the USA will face an Australian women’s team that is playing for a medal for the first time in their history and with real momentum, beating Sweden 13 -9 in a 1-0 defeat in the semifinals. The two teams have already met in the final match of the group stage, a 0-0 draw during which neither team forced the problem in the second half as it was a convenient result for both to advance.
Since that game, the two teams have very different vibes. Outside of a 6-1 win against New Zealand in the group stage, the USA have struggled to play well or find a rhythm in their game, and the usual high-flying attack has failed for three unthinkable shutouts in five matches. The Americans outshot Canada 13-3 in the semi-final, but only made four of those shots on goal and lost the game 1-0. More concerning for the American fans in that match was the fact that the team seemed without energy, ideas and struggle, and there was no cohesion in their game. It is unclear whether American women can simply switch from one game to another. If the American falls to the Australians, it will be his third loss in six games in Tokyo. Coming to the Olympics, the USWNT had lost just three times in its previous 68 games.
Australia, who qualified for knockouts as third-placed in Group G, have a win against Great Britain (4-3 in the quarters), a 0-0 draw against the No. 1 team (USA) and the Matildas. They have also gave Sweden their toughest matches at the Olympics despite losing both (4-2 in the group stage and 1-0 in the semi-final). They are playing bravely and scoring goals (star forward Sam Kerr has five of them). And the Australians are talking as if the intimidation factor that the US used to have wasn’t there in the bronze medal match:
“No, we can beat them. It doesn’t matter who it is,” Australian goalkeeper Teagan Micah said when asked if Australia was concerned about the USWNT. “We feel like we were the best team last time [in the group stage]. We just have to go out and do it again. “
How to watch the USWNT vs. Australia bronze medal game
- Date: Thursday 5th August
- Weather: 4 am ET
- TV channels: US Network
- Spanish television: Telemundo
- Transmission: fuboTV, NBCOlympics.com, TelemundoDeportes.com, the NBC Sports app and the Telemundo Deportes app (with user authentication)
The bronze medal match between the United States and Australia will air live on USA Network and Telemundo at 4 am ET. Both networks are available to broadcast on fuboTV (7-day free trial).
All soccer games are also streamed in the US on NBCOlympics.com, TelemundoDeportes.com, the NBC Sports app, and the Telemundo Deportes app, all with user authentication.
USWNT vs. Australia: projected lineups
Given that it is the final match for the USA in the 2021 Olympics and anything other than a victory would mean that the Americans would go home without a medal, it is safe to assume that there will be no more calculated player rotations or other number calculations by personal US coach when it comes to player minutes.
Adrianna French will be the starting goalkeeper in place of Alyssa Naeher, who hyperextended her right knee in the first half of the vs. semi-final. Canada. And you have to realize that Megan Rapinoe, 36, and Carli Lloyd, 39, will be the first in what will likely be their last Olympic match.
The USWNT, and specifically Rapinoe, will be lucky enough not to have to deal with suspended Australian defender Ellie Carpenter, who is one of the best in the world and received a red card at the end of the semi-final match against Sweden. Outside of Carpenter’s forced replacement, other changes are unlikely. Although several starters have racked up important minutes during these Olympics, it is difficult to see manager Tony Gustavsson disrupting the group chemistry that has paid off so far.
Projected Starters (4-3-3, from left to right): 18-Adrianna Franch-GK – 2-Crystal Dunn, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 17-Abby Dahlkemper, 5-Kelley O’Hara – 9-Lindsey Horan, 8-Julie Ertz, 16-Rose Lavelle – 15-Megan Rapinoe, 10 -Carli Lloyd, 11-Christen Press
Projected alternates: 22-Jane Campbell-GK, 12-Tender Davidson, 14-Emily Sonnett, 3-Samantha Mewis, 7-Tobin Heath, 13-Alex Morgan, 21-Lynn Williams
Designed to sit outside: 1-Alyssa Naeher (injured), 20-Casey Krueger, 19-Catarina Macario, 6-Kristie Mewis
Projected Starters (3-4-3, from left to right): 18-Teagan Micah-GK – 7-Steph Catley, 4-Clare Polkinghorne, 14-Alanna Kennedy – 13-Tameka Yallop, 6-Chloe Logarzo, 10-Emily van Egmond, 16-Hayley Raso – 9-Caitlin Foord, 2- Sam Kerr, 17-Kyah Simon
Projected alternates: 1-Lydia Williams, 5-Aivi Luik, 8-Elise Kellond-Knight, 21-Laura Brock, 3-Kyra Cooney-Cross, 15-Emily Gielnik, 11-Mary Fowler
Designed to sit outside: 22-Mackenzie Arnold-GK, 12-Ellie Carpenter (suspended), 19-Courtney Nevin, 20-Charlotte Grant
USA vs. Australia: Odds and Prediction
This has been a transformative tournament for Australians Matildas, who will come out feeling that they can compete and win against some of the best teams in the world. Driven by that injection of faith, they will play with the urgency and energy of a team that is in its first game for the medal.
Faced with a USWNT that is still trying to find its way, the Australian national team will make this a close match, as has been the case in each of their five previous games in this competition. Even if they fall behind, the Australians have shown they can come back, and they will also have the fittest forwards in this matchup to do so, led by Kerr (below).
The 0-0 draw in the group stage was unique given what it meant for promotion. A goalless draw is probably not on the cards with both teams doing their best to claim the bronze medal. In the last 11 games of the series (since 2008) both teams scored in eight of those 11 games.
Although it didn’t work out in their first meeting, playing “both teams to score” (BTTS) might work this time (-130 and +160 with no draw). Also, if you buy in a close game, Australia’s double chance (+110) or the Asian handicap spread of +0.75 (-115) are attractive odds.
Prediction: Australia 2, US 1
Fees courtesy of DraftKings
- Australia win (90 minutes): +400
- Draw (90 minutes): +260
- USA wins (90 minutes): -130
- Both teams will score: -130
- Both teams will score, without a draw: +160
- More than 2.5 goals in total: -120
- Double chance: Australia win or draw: +110
- Australia +0.75 Asian Handicap: -115
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.