The USWNT finished group play with three different results: a win, a loss, and a draw. All three results were pretty underwhelming for U.S. fans, even the 6-1 victory over New Zealand. Thus far the USWNT have looked conservative, lethargic, and at times, just straight up bored. As the team moves on to the elimination stage against the Group F winner, The Netherlands, the margin for error is gone. The two teams last faced each other back in November, where the USWNT won 2-0 in Amsterdam. Now, the winner of this match will move on to have 2 chances to win a medal.
What to Know:
For the USA, the biggest priority will be confidence. So far mainstay players like Abby Dahlkemper, Sam Mewis, and Tobin Heath have really struggled in this tournament so far. The backline has been discombobulated, the midfield has lacked control, and the front three haven’t had the finishing ability we’re accustomed to. This will be Vlatko Andonovski’s biggest match to date, and I trust he’ll step up his game plan. I’d expect a lot of play through the right side of the field early on where Rose Lavelle and Christen Press have been playing. They’ve been two bright spots on an otherwise dim looking team.
The Netherlands, ranked fourth in the world, won their group scoring 21 goals, setting a record for the most goals scored by any team at an Olympics. Eight goals come courtesy of Vivianne Miedema, potentially the best player in the world, and certainly one of the best in this Olympic tournament. However, on the other side of the ball, the Netherlands allowed eight goals, and overall their defense is quite weak, and less organized compared to the likes of Sweden. If the Dutch can play through the midfield and gets looks to Miedema, they could ease their way into the semifinal. If the USWNT apply pressure with their high press, it could be trouble for the Netherlands.
This one is tricky– if the USA play like the number team in the world that we know them to be, I’d say it’s a 3-1 win in their favor. If we see the same team we’ve seen so far in Olympics so far, Miedema could give the USWNT backline major issues, and we could see the Netherlands pull off the upset. I think we’ll find something in the middle. Both teams will fire a lot of shots, but ultimately the U.S. will sneak in an Alex Morgan goal for a 1-0 win.
Date: Friday, July 30th
Time: 7 a.m. ET
Location: International Stadium Yokohama
NBCSN and Telemundo with streaming coverage also available through NBCOlympics.com and through the Telemundo Deportes App.