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A bronze medal is on the line as Australia meets the USA on Thursday evening at 6pm. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary of the Matildas’ final hit out of the Games.
Neither side would have expected to be battling it out for third but for very different reasons.
The Matildas recorded a win against New Zealand, a loss to Sweden, and a scoreless draw with the USA to progress out of the group. It took 120 minutes but Australia defeated Great Britain in the quarter finals before going down 1-0 to Sweden in the semis.
Competing for a medal was beyond even the most optimistic predictions for this team based on their lead in to Tokyo.
The USA’s group stage record was the same as Australia’s with a win against the Kiwis and a loss to the Swedes in addition to the draw. Their quarter-final against the Netherlands went all the way to penalties.
After having the wood on Canada for 20 years, their northern neighbours came up big in the semi-final to send the USA to uncharted territory: a bronze medal match.
Since women’s football was introduced to the Olympics in 1996, the United States have medaled in all but one edition – Rio 2016. Coming in to Tokyo, they hadn’t lost in 44 games. When ‘excellence’ is constant, ‘very good’ feels much worse than it is.
Both sides will be without star players for this match. USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher injured her knee and was subbed out of the semi-final at the half-hour mark.
On the other hand, Tony Gustavsson will have to go about replacing Ellie Carpenter after her red card in the dying seconds of the Sweden clash ruled her out of this game.
The Matildas have only ever beaten the USA once in 30 meetings. They have never looked riper for the picking, but it will take a monumental effort.
Australia has the chance to create some history, bringing home the first ever Olympic football medal down under.