Women’s Olympic soccer quarterfinals on Friday had drama, anxiety, cheer and tears, as the tournament set a semifinal field that is full of publicly out LGBTQ athletes. The semifinal matches will both take place Monday, Aug. 2.
United States 2, Netherlands 2 (USA wins on PKs 4-3)
After 120 minutes of a wild, dramatic match in Yokohama, two clutch saves by Alyssa Naeher set up Megan Rapinoe to place a penalty shot past Netherlands keeper Sari van Veenendaal to advance Team USA to a semifinal match against rival Canada.
Despite two score by tournament scoring leader Vivianne Miedema, who ends the Olympic 10 goals total, Naeher had 4 saves, including two in the shootout to keep the United States alive in a game were they were outshot and were the Netherlands held the possession advantage.
Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams had first-half goals to give the USA a 2-1 lead at the half. Miedema equalized in the 55th minute, but key saves by Naeher closed the net in regulation and helped close the show in the shootout.
Canada 0, Brazil 0 (CAN wins on PKs 4-3)
Through 120 minutes in Miyagi, Japan, Canada goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé was kept Brazil off the board. In a penalty shootout that saw Canada’s all-time leader scorer Christine Sinclair start off with her attempt shut down, Labbé’s save on Andressa Alves gave Canada a chance, after giving up two three goals.
Vanessa Gilles converted for Canada on the next shot to grab the advantage. Labbé then stepped on the line again to stop Brazil’s Raffaele and send Canada into the semifinals against the United States.
Canada is one step closer to their goal of “changing the color of the medal” after two straight bronze-medal finishes at the Olympics. Labbé is also step closer in what could be a multiple-medal family. The goalkeeper’s spouse, Canada cyclist Georgia Simmerling, is a part of Canada’s women’s pursuit team who are a medal favorite.
Sweden 3, Japan 1
Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl stymied Japan’s early momentum with a scoreless second half, while Magdalena Eriksson, Stina Blackstenius and Kosovare Asllani carded goal to send Sweden through to a semifinal meeting with Australia, with a 3-1 win in Saitama, Japan.
Australia 4, Great Britain 2
The Matildas needed 120 minutes in Kashima City, Japan. The brilliance of their best player Sam Kerr withstood a hat trick by Britain’s best boot in the tournament Ellen White to survive 4-3 and move forward to the semifinals.
Kerr scored two goals in the match. The first was a strike in the 89th minute that forced extra time. At the start of second half of extra time, Kerr made a run toward goal and placed a header past Roebuck to give Australia the cushion they needed. Despite White getting her third goal and a desperate set of late rushes, Great Britain’s tournament would end and Australia would move on to face Sweden in the semifinals.