Tokyo Olympics Women’s football: United States quells late Australian resurgence to win bronze
Two goals each from veterans Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd helped USWNT beat Australia 4-3 in the bronze medal match.
Megan Rapinoe scored two crucial goals to lead USA to a thrilling 4-3 win against Australia in the bronze medal match at Tokyo Olympics.
The United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) leant on the proficiency of two veterans to beat Australia 4-3 and win the women’s football bronze at the Kashima Stadium on Thursday.
Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd shared the goals for the United States as it sought to make a podium finish after a break of nine years.
Tipped as the pre-tournament favourite for the gold, the United States also aimed to create a record by adding the Olympic gold to its World Cup title it won in 2019. The USWNT is the most successful team in women’s football having four World Cups and equal number of Olympic golds to its name.
But having missed a medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, the United States was too eager to get back in the medal count. The chance of winning the gold disappeared with a semifinal loss to neighbour Canada, forcing it to focus its energy to secure the third position.
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The combination of Rapinoe and Lloyd, both in their late thirties, in the USWNT attack saw the team completing its objective in style. Rapinoe opened the scoring spectacularly by curling a corner into the goal and gave USWNT an early headway.
The winner of Ballon d'Or Feminin in 2019 was on target again in the 21st minute with a powerful drive to take the United State into the lead after Australia had levelled the issue in the 17th minute through its captain Sam Kerr.
Lloyd, who at 39 is the oldest player in the USWNT, made it 3-1 with a goal in stoppage time to see her side enjoying a comfortable 3-1 lead in the first half.
The United States, which had won its last gold in 2012 London Olympics, continued with the momentum after the break as Lloyd struck again in the 51st minute and virtually took the match away from Australia. Showing great tenacity, Australia broke USWNT’s tight defensive organization once again in the 54th minute when Caitlin Foord found the net to make it 4-2.
Australia was in no mood to give up its hopes as Emily Gielnik made it 4-3 in the 90th minute. But the effort seemed to have come a bit too late as the equaliser remained elusive.
Bronze medal match: United States 4 (Megan Rapinoe 8, 21, Carli Lloyd 45+1, 51) bt Australia 3 (Sam Kerr 17, Caitlin Foord 54, Emily Gielnik 90)