The Matildas have held on for a deserved draw against World Champions, The United States Of America in the closing game of Group G.
Australia named an attacking lineup to face the U.S.A, Chloe Logarzo returned to the team for her first appearance under Tony Gustavsson. Mary Fowler was a shock late change, coming in for Caitlin Foord.
The U.S.A created the first real chance of the game. From an Australian free-kick, the ball was cleared and Alex Morgan raced in on goal. Teagan Micah was well-positioned to save comfortably.
Mary Fowler almost opened the scoring for Australia. A long throw was flicked on and she made good contact on the header. Only the crossbar saved America from conceding.
Australia received a lifeline when an Alex Morgan goal was controversially disallowed for offside. The VAR replay looked as though a goal should have been given but luck was on Matilda’s side.
Sam Kerr almost found space to shoot when she latched onto a bobbling ball in the box but desperate defending saved the U.S.A. Tameka Yallop also had an opportunity but her shot was saved.
Fowler again fashioned an opportunity, she created space but her shot flew wide of the post. Christian Press had an opening up the other end but Micah was equal to it.
The game remained in the balance as the 80th minute ticked over. The U.S.A brought on Carli Llyod in an attempt to create a goal but had to sacrifice Rapinoe after she was almost the recipient of a second yellow card.
A contest that had started brightly ended in an abundance of caution. Neither side was willing to risk a loss, but it was a result that should see Australia through to the next round.
AUSTRALIA REVERT TO OLD LINEUP
The Matildas included Alana Kennedy and Chloe Logarzo into the starting lineup for the first time in these Olympics. It was a more familiar look for long time Australia fans.
It indicated that The Matildas were trying for a more attacking lineup and to control the midfield and for the first half this worked well.
Logarzo brought back the spark and commitment that she is known for and confidence seemed to increase in the whole squad.
GIELNIK BROUGHT ON LATE
After featuring strongly in the warm-up friendlies Emily Gielnik has been reserved to cameo appearances off the bench. She has only appeared in the dying minutes of games and it remains a mystery why a player with game-breaking abilities like her has not been brought on sooner.
SET PIECES RE-WORKED
Tony Gustavsson is aware of the long-term Achilles heel of The Matildas. They are setting up differently from how they have in the past. Where under previous coaches they have simply seemed to just get numbers back, now they leave Kerr forward to keep the opposition cautious.
The Matildas now play a highly tactical offside trap, they were lucky with one but it was otherwise effective.
U.S.A: 13 Alex Morgan, 15 Megan Rapinoe (7 Tobin Heath 65), 11 Christian Press (9 Lynn Williams 74), (10Carli Lloyd 74) 3 Samantha Mewis ( 9 Lindsay Horan 65), 8 Julie Ertz, 16 Rose Lavelle (6 Kristie Mewis 88), 2 Crystal Dunn, 12 Tierna Davidson, 4 Becky Sauerbrunn, 5 Kelly O’Hara, 1 Alyssa Naeher.
Australia: 18 Tegan Micah, 2 Sam Kerr, 4 Clare Polkinghorne, 6 Chloe Logarzo (3 Kyra Cooney-Cross 62), 7 Steph Catley, 9 Caitlin Foord, 10 Emily van Egmond, 12 Ellie Carpenter, 13 Tameka Yallop, 14 Alanna Kennedy, 17 Kyah Simon (15 Emily Gielnik 85).
Yellow Cards: Megan Rapinoe 21, Kyra Cooney-Cross 69, Rose Lavelle 72
Red Cards: Nil