Australia’s Sam Kerr (2) dribbles around the USWNT’s Julie Ertz and player Christen Press Tuesday. (Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Sports)
The U.S. women’s national team’s task is pretty simple:
Win or go home.
The Americans must defeat the Netherlands in Friday 7 a.m. quarterfinal match of the Tokyo Olympics or return home without any medals for the second consecutive competition.
That would be a devasting loss for a team that has defined the Olympic women’s soccer tournament, earning four gold medals and a silver.
The USA meets the Dutch at the International Stadium Yokohama and will be available for viewing in the United States on NBCSN and Telemundo with streaming coverage also available through NBCOlympics.com and through the Telemundo Deportes App.
After finishing second in Group G, the USA – the 2019 Women’s World Cup champions – will take on a familiar foe in the Netherlands – the Group F winners and the reigning European champions and runners up at the 2019 World Cup.
The Dutch lost the 2019 WWC final to the USWNT, 2-0.
This will be the third time the World Cup finalists have met in the knockout rounds of the subsequent Olympics and the second such instance involving the USWNT. In 2012, the USA beat Japan, 2-1, in the Olympic final, avenging it’s 2011 penalty kick loss at the 2011 World Cup. Brazil and Germany also met in the semifinals of the 2008 Olympics one year after squaring off in the World Cup final.
The matchup will be the ninth meeting all-time between the USA and the Netherlands and their second matchup in the knockout rounds of a world championship. The first such meeting came on July 7, 2019, as the USA defeated the Netherlands, 2-0, in Lyon, France to capture the Women’s World Cup title. Megan Rapinoe converted a penalty kick in the 61st minute for what would prove to be the game-winning goal. Rose Lavelle added a goal in the 69th minute to secure the USWNT its fourth star.
The most recent meeting between the teams came Nov. 27, 2020, a 2-0 win for the USA in Breda, the Netherlands in the team’s first match in 261 days after a long pause in programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A first half goal from Lavelle and a second half score from Kristie Mewis proved to be the difference as the USA closed its 2020 campaign with a victory.
The USA leads the series with an 8-1-0 record, its lone loss to the Dutch coming in a 4-3 defeat during the first matchup between the teams in 1991. The Americans have won the last eight games, though each of the last five meetings between the teams has been decided by two goals.
The USA roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): 22-Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 5), 18-Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 6), 1-Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 76)
DEFENDERS (7): 17-Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City, ENG; 73/0), 12-Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 37/1), 2-Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 119/24), 20-Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 35/0), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 142/2), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 190/0), 14-Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 57/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 8-Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 113/20), 9-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 101/23), 16-Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 59/15), 19-Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 8/1), 6-Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 28/4), 3-Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage; 80/23)
FORWARDS (6): 7-Tobin Heath (Unattached; 174/35), 10-Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 309/126), 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 183/111), 11-Christen Press (Unattached; 152/64), 15-Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 182/59), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 38/11)
The Netherlands roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Sari van Veenendaal (PSV), 16-Lize Kop (Ajax), 22-Loes Geurts (Hacken, SWE)
DEFENDERS (8): 2-Lynn Wilms (FC Twente), 3-Stefanie van der Gragt (Ajax), 4-Aniek Nouwen (Chelsea, ENG), 5-Merel van Dongen (Atletico Madrid, ESP), 12-Sisca Folkertsma (FC Twente), 15-Kika van Es (FC Twente), 17-Dominique Janssen (Wolfsburg, GER), 21-Anouk Dekker (Montpellier, FRA)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 6-Jill Roord (Wolfsburg, GER), 10-Danielle van de Donk (Arsenal, ENG), 13-Victoria Pelova (Ajax), 14-Jackie Groenen (Manchester United, ENG), 20-Inessa Kaagman (Brighton & Hove Albion, ENG)
FORWARDS (6): 7-Shanice van de Sanden (Wolfsburg, GER), 8-Joelle Smits (PSV), 9-Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal, ENG), 11-Lieke Martens (Barcelona, ESP), 18-Lineth Beerensteyn (Bayern Munich, GER), 19-Renate Jansen (FC Twente)