It had to be them. Playing in what could have been the final Olympic match of their career, U.S. women’s national team veterans Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd each scored two goals as the USA claimed the women’s soccer bronze medal, 4-3 over Australia. It was a vintage high-pressure, high-scoring U.S. performance and one that was missing for most of these Olympics.
The 36-year-old Rapinoe scored the Americans’ first two goals in spectacular fashion: her opening strike in the 8th minute was fittingly an ‘olimpico’ goal, as she scored directly off a corner kick. Her second was equally spectacular on a volley into the top corner after a defensive clearance fell perfectly to her in the box.
The 39-year-old Lloyd became the USA’s all-time leading scorer at the Olympics with two goals, one on either side of halftime, and both were classic forward finishes. The first was a spectacular diagonal shot inside the far post, and the second was a classy nutmeg of the goalkeeper.
But Australia gave the Americans a run for their money in the second half, coming back to within a goal. Star forward Sam Kerr got her sixth goal of the tournament for the Matildas and she was unlucky not to get another when a second-half header hit the inside of the U.S. post and bounced across the face of the goal.
It’s the first bronze medal for the USA in its Olympic history. The fourth-place finish is the highest for Australia at the Olympic games. Canada and Sweden will battle for the gold medal on Thursday night.
USWNT vs. Australia final score
USA – Megan Rapinoe – 8th min.
AUS – Sam Kerr (Caitlin Foord) – 17th min.
USA – Megan Rapinoe – 21st min.
USA – Carli Lloyd (Lindsey Horan) – 46th min. (1st HF)
USA – Carli Lloyd – 51st min.
AUS – Caitlin Foord (Kyah Simon) – 54th min.
AUS – Emily Gielnik – 90th min.
(All times Eastern)
Final: USA 4, Australia 3
Final: The U.S. women’s national team players will return home with a bronze medal around their necks and with questions about why this same lively performance was lacking against Canada in the semifinals. They had to hang on late against Australia, but the Americans jumped out to a 4-1 lead with the formula that has lifted them to No. 1 in the world: high pressing and lethal finishing. The defending and goalkeeping let down the U.S. at moments, but this game will be remembered for those spectacular Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd goals in what might have been their final Olympic bow.
94th min.: Australia with a shot in the box deflected for a corner and before the Matildas can take it, the referee whistles the end of the match!
90th min.: It’s 4-3! What a goal by Australia! Emily Gielnik with the long-distance blast inside the left post. And Australia has four minutes to try to equalize.
88th min.: Morgan with a one-on-one vs. the goalkeeper and her point-blank shot is saved.
87th min.: Alex Morgan nearly connects on a cross by Rose Lavelle in the box. Her lunging dive for the ball comes up just short. Meanwhile, Australia makes its final sub with Laura Brock coming on for Tameka Yallop.
85th min.: SUB – Emily Sonnett comes in to help lock down this two-goal lead, replacing Christen Press.
80th min.: SUB – Alex Morgan enters for Lloyd, who has likely played her final Olympic match.
75th min.: Strong grab by Adrianna Franch on a corner kick for Australia. The U.S. ‘keeper is looking to finish strong here.
73rd min.: SUB – Emily Gielnik comes in for Claire Polkinghorne, and Australia is going to a 4-3-3 formation for the final 15 minutes.
70th min.: Disallowed goal for the USA! Carli Lloyd is slightly offside on the through ball from Lavelle, but she still applies a magnificent finish. It would’ve been the hat trick, but it doesn’t count.
67th min.: SUBS – Three subs for Australia with Courtney Nevin, Mary Fowler and Kyra Cooney-Cross looking to bring some energy for the Matildas (in for Kyah Simon, Chloe Logarzo and Hayley Raso.
65th min.: Lloyd sprung in on goal again and this time her shot is right at the goalkeeper. That could’ve been the hat trick for her.
61st min.: SUBS – Rapinoe comes out of the match. Tobin Heath comes on for her, while Rose Lavelle replaces Sam Mewis in midfield.
56th min.: Australia hits the post! How did that stay out of the goal? Sam Kerr with a header off the inside of the left post and it crosses the faces of the goal without going in!
54th min.: Australia pulls one back! Header by Caitlin Foord off a cross by Kyah Simon from the right.
51st min.: Carli Lloyd gets her second goal! The USA is running away with it now. Another defensive error with a poor header back pass by Alanna Kennedy. It’s been a nightmare match for Australia’s No. 14.
47th min.: Potential penalty for the USA? Officials don’t see a hand ball infraction in the Australia box after a VAR check.
46th min.: The second half is underway. Can Australia mount a comeback?
Halftime: USA 3, Australia 1
Halftime: Finally, the performance everyone was expecting from the USWNT and it’s Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd, two players who could be playing their last Olympic match, getting the goals. The USA has suffocated Australia with high pressure and it has triggered all three goals, including the corner kick which led to Rapinoe’s amazing Olimpico goal (directly off the corner kick).
46th min.: The USA get a third! Again, it’s the pressure creating the goal. Lindsey Horan wins it in the Aussie end and feeds Lloyd who fires home a beautiful diagonal for her 9th career Olympic goal.
43rd min.: Rapinoe goes down in the box and she wanted a penalty! But the referee doesn’t give it and video review upholds the decision. The U.S. pressure is creating opportunities.
40th min.: Australia insisting with playing the ball out of the back and they’re pinned against their own goal line by the U.S. pressure. The Matildas somehow escape the danger.
39th min.: Carli Lloyd with a shot on goal inside the box. Goalkeeper Teagan Micah stops it and the Aussies clear.
36th min.: Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch with back-to-back shaky moments in goal. She seems a bit nervy in goal in this first half. Australians want their team to take advantage:
26th min.: It’s been end-to-end in this game, both teams applying high pressure and creating chances. It has helped that the defenders and goalkeepers on both sides aren’t having their best start to a game.
21st min.: Goal USA! Another fantastic finish by Rapinoe. What a volley into the top corner on a poor clearance by Australia’s Alanna Kennedy, who kicks the ball right to her.
19th min.: Sam Kerr with another header on goal and Adrianna Franch saves this one!
17th min.: Sam Kerr scores for Australia! Mistake by the USA defense and Australia win the ball, Foord feeds Kerr in the box and ‘keeper Adrianna Franch can’t stop the shot at the near post. What a start to this one.
13th min.: Christen Press is on her game today and she creates another opportunity from the right side, cutting inside and firing at goal, but the ball is deflected for a corner. Lindsey Horan’s header on the corner kick goes high.
8th min.: Olimpico! Megan Rapinoe scores off a corner! What a goal. She curled that ball over the ‘keeper’s head and into the goal directly from the corner flag.
7th min.: Great first-time shot by Christen Press and Australia ‘keeper Teagan Micah has to come up with the big save on a ball destined for the corner.
1st min.: We’re off and Australia with the early attacking pressure.
3:59 a.m.: Carli Lloyd’s not taking the knee with her teammates has caught the attention of social media:
3:50 a.m.: This series has been a pretty one-sided affair:
3:47 a.m.: All eyes on U.S. goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, who replaces the injured Alyssa Naeher in goal.
3:43 a.m.: The USWNT attack will also be facing an Australia team playing without its best defender in Ellie Carpenter.
#USAvAUS bronze-medal game lineups are in. One big tactical thing: Christen Press starts up top for #USWNT , and Clare Polkinghorne replaces suspended Ellie Carpenter in the Matildas’ back three. Huge speed trade-off there. Can the U.S.’ front three finally click and exploit it? pic.twitter.com/n84KtyQlz2
— Jeff Kassouf (@JeffKassouf) August 5, 2021
3:41 a.m.: Stephanie Catley will be playing deeper on defense for the Matildas against the USWNT. That’s a good thing for the USA:
3:30 a.m.: A glimpse at the warmups:
2:46 a.m.: It’s the final U.S. starting XI of these Olympics:
USWNT vs. Australia starting lineups
U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski will give Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd what could be their final start at an Olympic Games. He gives Rose Lavelle a break in midfield, with Sam Mewis taking her place. The back line is the same one that started the semifinal against Canada with Adrianna Franch taking over for the injured Alyssa Naeher in goal.
Australia play the same lineup that lost to Sweden in the semifinals, except for defender Claire Polkinghorne coming into the XI in place of the suspended Ellie Carpenter, who was red carded in the closing stages of the previous match. Polkinghorne will likely play in the middle of a back three with Alanna Kennedy sliding over to fill in for Carpenter on the right side of the defensive line.
Starters (4-3-3, left to right): 18-Adrianna Franch-GK — 2-Crystal Dunn, 12-Tierna Davidson, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 5-Kelley O’Hara — 9-Lindsey Horan, 8-Julie Ertz, 3-Samantha Mewis — 15-Megan Rapinoe, 10-Carli Lloyd, 11-Christen Press
Substitutes: 22-Jane Campbell-GK, 17-Abby Dahlkemper, 14-Emily Sonnett, 16-Rose Lavelle, 6-Kristie Mewis, 7-Tobin Heath, 13-Alex Morgan
Sitting out: 1-Alyssa Naeher (injured), 20-Casey Krueger, 19-Catarina Macario, 21-Lynn Williams
Starters (3-4-3, 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
Substitutes: 1-Lydia Williams, 5-Aivi Luik, 21-Laura Brock, 3-Kyra Cooney-Cross, 19-Courtney Nevin, 15-Emily Gielnik, 11-Mary Fowler
Sitting out: 22-Mackenzie Arnold-GK, 12-Ellie Carpenter (suspended), 8-Elise Kellond-Knight, 20-Charlotte Grant
How to watch USWNT vs. Australia bronze medal game
- Date: Thursday, Aug. 5
- Time: 4 a.m. ET
- TV Channels: USA Network
- Spanish-language TV: Telemundo
- Streaming: fuboTV , NBCOlympics.com, TelemundoDeportes.com, NBC Sports app and Telemundo Deportes app (with user authentication)
The USA vs. Australia bronze medal match will air live on USA Network and Telemundo at 4 a.m. ET. Both networks are available to stream on fuboTV (free 7-day trial) .
All soccer matches are also streamed in the USA on NBCOlympics.com, TelemundoDeportes.com, NBC Sports app and the Telemundo Deportes app — all with user authentication.