The United States have the chance to ensure they do not return home from the Olympics empty handed when they contest the bronze medal match against Australia on Thursday.
The USWNT were stunned by Canada in the semi-finals and it is only the second time in 25 years of women’s football being part of the Olympic programme that they have been eliminated before the final, but it is the second consecutive time and they will be desperate to avoid a total medal failure.
Although Australia fell to Sweden in the semi-finals, they have never been this far at the Olympics or indeed any global tournament. Winning a bronze medal would a huge achievement that shows their development into a major international contender.
In Sam Kerr, the Matildas have a striker in red hot form after five goals in this tournament already and a Golden Boot winning season with Chelsea in the WSL.
When is kick off? Thursday 5 August – 17.00pm (Japan); 9.00am (UK); 4.00am (USA – EDT)
Where is the match being played? Kashima Stadium, Kashima
What TV channel is it on? Eurosport Player; USA Network; fuboTV
Australia: Micah; Polkinghorne, Carpenter, Kennedy; Catley, Van Egmond, Yallop, Raso; Kerr, Foord, Simon
USA: Naeher; O’Hara, Sauerbrunn, Dahlkemper, Dunn; Mewis, Ertz, Lavelle; Rapinoe, Morgan, Williams
Australia and the United States have already met once in this tournament, playing out a 0-0 draw in the final group game that highlighted how the Americans have struggled to get going in Japan.
The two have a very one-sided history up to now, although Australia will hope the tide is changing.
In 31 previous meetings since 1987, the USWNT have won 26 times, with four matches ending in ties, including the aforementioned group stage meeting earlier in this tournament. Australia have won only once, which came in 2017.
However, the last four meetings suggest a much closer rivalry, with one win each and two draws.
Australia will have to bring their A game to the bronze medal match, but there is arguably no better time to face the United States than now. The reigning world champions haven’t been on form through this Olympic tournament and their only win in 90 or 120 minutes so far was against an ill-prepared New Zealand side that collapsed in the closing stages of the game.
There hasn’t been enough time since losing to Canada for the first time in 20 years in the semi-final for coach Vlatko Andonovski to identify what has been going wrong and address it, while his ever-rotating starting lineup won’t have made that process any easier.
There are goals to be scored and if Australia hold their nerve, that bronze medal could be theirs.
Australia 3-2 USA (aet)