The Olympic women’s tournament group stage wraps on Tuesday and the U.S. women’s national team (second place, three points) will face No. 9-ranked Australia (third place, also on three points) in a battle for second place in Group G and a berth into the quarterfinals. (Sweden has virtually secured first place, barring a calamitous loss to New Zealand on the final day.) A win or draw against Australia would be enough for the USA to clinch second place because the Americans win the tiebreaker against Australia (goal difference).
The top two teams in each group advance to the quarterfinal round, along with the two best third-place teams. But the team that finishes in third place between the USA and Australia won’t learn if it has qualified until hours after the match because it will need to wait on the final results and standings from the other groups.
The second-place team in Group G will most likely face No. 4-ranked Netherlands in the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, should the third-place team from Group G have a good enough record to make it through, the opponent would be No. 8-ranked Canada or Great Britain (England is ranked No. 6). A USA vs. Netherlands matchup would be a rematch of the 2019 World Cup final.
After a shocking opening 3-0 loss to Sweden, the USA recovered for its highest scoring output in an Olympic match: a 6-1 win over New Zealand, which also represented the widest margin of victory at the Olympics in USWNT history. All those goals have put the Americans in position to win the goal difference tiebreaker over Australia in case of a draw (+2 vs. -1).
Australia also lost to Sweden, 4-2. But the Matildas’ win over New Zealand wasn’t as lopsided as the USA’s: It was a narrow 2-1 win. What’s notable about the two Australia matches thus far is that the team has rolled out the same lineup outside of a change at goalkeeper, and star forward Sam Kerr has been on the mark in both matches (three goals total and she had a penalty attempt stopped against Sweden).
The USA has dominated the 30 all-time matches played against Australia (26-1-3), and in the only other Olympic matchup, the teams tied 1-1 in the group stage of the 2004 Olympics.
How to watch USWNT vs. Australia Olympic soccer
- Date: Tuesday, July 27
- Time: 4 a.m. ET
- TV Channels: USA Network
- Spanish-language TV: Telemundo
- Replays: USA Network (10 a.m., 6 p.m. ET), NBCSN (11:45 p.m. ET)
- Streaming: fuboTV, NBCOlympics.com, TelemundoDeportes.com, NBC Sports app and Telemundo Deportes app (with user authentication)
USA vs. Australia will air live on USA Network and Telemundo at 4 a.m. ET. Those channels can be streamed 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.
USWNT vs. Australia: Projected lineups
Head coach Vlatko Andonovski promised more lineup changes in his attempt to keep the squad fresh ahead of the knockout rounds, which start with the quarterfinals on Friday, July 30. Based on the minutes played thus far, and assuming that Julie Ertz and Tobin Heath continue to see minutes as they work their way back to full match fitness, that could mean Christen Press, Alex Morgan and Sam Mewis all come back into the starting XI after starting on the bench against New Zealand.
Center back Abby Dahlkemper, who has made rare errors in both matches thus far, is the only field player to go the full 90 each time. Left back Crystal Dunn (80 and 84 minutes) and midfielder Lindsey Horan (90 and 84 minutes) have also come close to playing every minute. The three would seem to be the next candidates for rest, but Dahlkemper and Dunn are also critical to the team’s defensive functioning, and this is a game that can’t be taken lightly.
Tierna Davidson could potentially fill in for Dunn (below) at left back, but with Australian star forward Sam Kerr on a scoring hot streak, it’s hard to see Dahlkemper not starting. And although it’s not ideal to replace a center back midway through a match, if the USA can build enough of a cushion, that might be the opportune moment to give her a breather.
It would also seem like this game could see the inclusion of U.S. forward Lynn Williams. In addition to helping with squad rotation, it would also ensure that she’d receive a medal should the team win one. Olympic rules state that a player has to be part of an 18-player roster to be eligible to win a medal. She’s the only player not to make a gameday roster.
Australia has started the same lineup in both matches outside of a swap at goalkeeper, and with qualification on the line — Group G’s matches will be done before the other group games even start — the Matildas probably have no choice but to roll out the same XI again.
USWNT projected starters (4-3-3, left to right): 1-Alyssa Naeher — 2-Crystal Dunn, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 17-Abby Dahlkemper, 5-Kelley O’Hara — 3-Samantha Mewis, 8-Julie Ertz, 16-Rose Lavelle — 11-Christen Press, 13-Alex Morgan, 21-Lynn Williams
USWNT projected substitutes: 18-Adrianna Franch-GK, 12-Tierna Davidson, 14-Emily Sonnett, 9-Lindsey Horan, 19-Catarina Macario, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 7-Tobin Heath
USWNT – projected to sit out: 22-Jane Campbell-GK, 20-Casey Krueger, 6-Kristie Mewis, 10-Carli Lloyd
Australia projected starters (3-4-3, left to right): 1-Lydia Williams — 5-Aivi Luik, 4-Clare Polkinghorne, 12-Ellie Carpenter — 7-Steph Catley, 13-Tameka Yallop,10-Emily van Egmond, 16-Hayley Raso — 9-Caitlin Foord, 2-Sam Kerr, 17-Kyah Simon
Australia projected substitutes: 18-Teagan Micah-GK, 3-Kyra Cooney-Cross, 21-Laura Brock, 14-Alanna Kennedy, 6-Chloe Logarzo, 15-Emily Gielnik, 11-Mary Fowler
Australia – projected to sit out: 22-Mackenzie Arnold-GK, 19-Courtney Nevin, 20-Charlotte Grant, 8-Elise Kellond-Knight
USA vs. Australia: Odds & prediction
The USWNT is once again a heavy favorite, but the recent matches between both teams would make you believe that this one could be tighter than than expected. The USA is only 2-1-1 in the past four matches against the Matildas since 2015 and Australia has also scored in three of those games. Going back 10 matches in the series (since 2008), the record leans heavily toward the USA (8-1-1), but it’s notable that both teams also scored in eight of those 10 matches.
The past three matches have finished: a 1-0 Australia win (July 2017), a 1-1 tie (July 2018) and a 5-3 U.S. win (April 2019) in which the Americans had to come back from 2-1 down.
There are different ways to play the “both teams to score” (BTTS), but the most interesting one might be the BTTS and no draw (-105) if you’re assuming a U.S. win. There’s also a first half BTTS at +210: Australia has scored in the first half in both of its group stage matches thus far and there has been a noticeable dropoff in the second half. The Aussies also scored in the first half in their past two outings against the USWNT.
Prediction: USA 3, Australia 1
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
- Australia to win: +800
- Draw: +525
- USA to win: -360
- Both teams to score: -170
- Both teams to score, no draw: -105
- Both teams to score in 1st half: +210
- USA -1.5 Asian Handicap: -120
- USA -1.75 Asian Handicap: +105:
- Australia +1.75 Asian Handicap: -115