USA beat Australia 4-Three to win Olympic bronze, most certainly on the finish of the golden period of ladies’s soccer
The United States beat Australia 4-3 on Thursday to secure a bronze medal in women’s football in what could be the final prize in the international careers of several iconic American stars.
Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe secured the Olympic medal for Team USA with two goals each in Kashima, supported by a late defensive effort to survive a dramatic comeback.
The team’s pursuit of another gold ended in a 1-0 loss in the semi-finals against Canada, which will face Sweden in the gold medal game on Friday.
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The USWNT will leave Japan disappointed in third place, in a scene very different from 23 months ago.
The Americans bragged about the World Cup in France and were celebrated days later with a ticker tape parade in New York City.
The Americans also won gold medals in the 1996, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Games and silver in Australia in 2002.
But there was no such fame at the Tokyo Olympics, where the team looked upset throughout the tournament.
After all, they delivered an achievement with a medal.
Rapinoe gave the USA the lead on 8 minutes with an unorthodox goal straight from a corner kick – appropriately named Olimpico.
Australia’s legendary striker Sam Kerr leveled briefly after 17 minutes when the game threatened to become the latest gigantic battle between the two countries in Olympic sports.
But Rapinoe restored the American lead shortly afterwards with a stunning volley, and from that point on there seemed to be only one winner.
Lloyd scored on both sides of half-time, overtaking Abby Wambach as the leading American goalscorer at the Olympics, in what would be her final appearance.
Australia scored again minutes later, but the US seemed to be taking a comfortable win until a goal from Emily Gielnik made it 4-3 in stoppage time.
It was too little, too late for Australia’s Matildas, however, and the US survived to seal the golden end of a golden era in women’s football.
The U.S. squad that just ended in Japan included nearly a dozen players, 30 or older, who have become household names thanks to their coats filled with Olympic medals, World Cup trophies, and individual honors.
When the USWNT forms for the 2023 World Cup, it will be difficult to imagine strikers Lloyd, 39, Rapinoe, 36, and defender Becky Sauerbrunn, 36, packing for Australia and New Zealand.
And US fans could have to prepare for a World Cup team, goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher (33), defender Kelley O’Hara (33) and striker Tobin Heath (33), Alex Morgan (32) and Christenpresse, 32.
These US veterans have been the backbone of World Cup victories in 2015 and 2019 and the 2012 gold medal in London. Lloyd and Heath were on the Golden Team in Beijing in 2008.
Not only did this group bring home hardware, they were responsible for some of the sport’s most memorable moments in the past decade.
Lloyd introduced itself to the world football stage in 2008 and scored a legendary extra-time winner in the gold medal game against Brazil. Her hat trick in the 2015 World Cup final was known to include an absurd goal from midfield that stunned Japan.
Morgan will forever be known for the 123rd-minute header she scored in the 2012 London Olympic semifinals that gave the US an epic 4-3 win over Canada. Her tea drinking and Rapinoe’s outstretched arms were among the most unforgettable images of the 2015 World Cup, which the USA won in the final against Japan behind a Lloyd hat-trick.