The United States women's national team is set to close out their Olympic group play against Australia on July 27 at Kashima Soccer Stadium in Japan. Second-place is still in play for Group G, and USA need a win or draw to seal a second place finish in the group. The Matildas won't make things easy for the USWNT, let's take a closer look at Australia ahead of Matchday three.
Who are Australia?
The Matildas are the number one ranked team in Asia, ninth overall in the FIFA rankings, and are competing in their fourth Olympics. The team is lead by head coach Tony Gustavsson, who was the assistant coach for the USA from 2012 to 2019 where he earned the Olympic gold medal in the 2012 London Games and Women's World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019. He hasn't had extended time with the Matildas due to COVID-19, but the team has been scoring goals and has their sights on advancing out of the group still with a game remaining.
Despite USA dominating the overall meetings with a 26-1-3 all-around record, recent matches between the two sides have been split 1-1-1 and decided by two goals or fewer. The Matildas opened up group play with a 2-1 win over their Oceanic rivals New Zealand, followed that up with a 4-2 loss to Sweden and are now level with USA in the group with three points. They sit in third place based on goal differential.
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Players to keep an eye on
Australia has talent across all parts of the field this tournament, and ties to team USA don't end with their head coach as many of the players on Australia's roster, have at one time or another played in the United States on NWSL clubs, though currently Chloe Logarzo is the lone Matilda still playing stateside with Kansas City NWSL.
The Matilda's star striker Sam Kerr leads the team with 45 international goals in 95 caps, and needs just three goals to pass Lisa De Vanna to become all-time leading scorer in Australia Women's National Team history. She currently plays with Chelsea FC and won the golden boot in FAWSL and still remains the all-time leading scorer in the NWSL after her departure. Kerr has been in directly involved in every goal Australia has scored so far at the Tokyo Games and her three goals are tied for the fourth-most by any player in the tournament through the first two match days. Kerr is a bonified goal scoring superstar and the kind of player who can terrorize any defensive line, no matter how good.
Caitlin Foord has been active for the Matildas in attack as well and is another offense option for Australia. The team also poses threats in defenders Ellie Carpenter and Steph Catley who play for Olympique Lyon and Arsenal respectively as wide defenders or wing backs depending on the situation.
Australia Sweden Olympic Women's Full Soccer Roster
Goalkeepers: 1-Lydia Williams (Arsenal, ENG), 18-Teagan Micah (Sandviken, NOR), 22-Mackenzie Arnold (West Ham United, ENG)
Defenders: 4-Clare Polkinghorne (Vittsjo GIK, SWE), 14-Alanna Kennedy (Tottenham, ENG), 7-Steph Catley (Arsenal, ENG), 12-Ellie Carpenter (Lyon, FRA), 19-Courtney Nevin (Western Sydney Wanderers), 20-Charlotte Grant (Rosengard, Sweden), 21-Laura Brock (Guingamp, FRA)
Midfielders: 3-Kyra Cooney-Cross (Melbourne Victory), 5-Aivi Luik (Sevilla, ESP), 6-Chloe Logarzo (Kansas City, USA), 8-Elise Kellond-Knight (Hammarby, SWE), 10-Emily van Egmond (Unattached), 13-Tameka Yallop (West Ham United, ENG)
Forwards: 2-Sam Kerr (Chelsea, ENG), 9-Caitlin Foord (Arsenal, ENG), 11-Mary Fowler (Montpellier, FRA), 15-Emily Gielnik (Vittsjo GIK, SWE), 16-Hayley Raso (Everton, ENG), 17-Kyah Simon (PSV, NED)