U.S. women draw Australia to reach Olympic soccer knockout rounds

KASHIMA, JAPAN - JULY 27: Alex Morgan #13 of Team United States is closed down by Sam Kerr #2 of Team Australia during the Women's Football Group G match between United States and Australia on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kashima Stadium on July 27, 2021 in Kashima, Ibaraki, Japan. ( (Photo By Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images))

The United States women's soccer team officially overcame its tournament-opening stumble to clinch a spot in the knockout rounds with a 0-0 draw with on Tuesday.

Head coach Vlatko Andonovski's team finishes second in Group G, the first runner-up finish in an Olympic group since 1996, and will meet the winner of Group F, likely either Netherlands or Brazil, in the quarterfinals.

The U.S. fell to Sweden 3-0 on the opening day of its Olympics, ending a 44-match unbeaten run, but rebounded to beat New Zealand 6-1 before an admittedly sleepy stalemate with Australia.

Alex Morgan held off a strong challenge to meet a picture-perfect pass from Rose Lavelle, but the Orlando Pride star's shot was right to Australia goalkeeper Teagan Micah.

Australia forced a decent save out of Alyssa Naeher as the match neared the midpoint of the first half, the U.S. no closer to opening the scoring in Japan.

Morgan planted a terrific header home off a Kelley O'Hara cross in the 31st minute, but the assistant referee's flag meant that Video Assistant Referee would have to find a clear and obvious error in the razor-thin offside call. It did not.

Megan Rapinoe was shown a yellow card for a foul and then post-whistle kick of the ball in the 38th minute.

Morgan then sent Christen Press into the box but the former Manchester United striker took herself out-of-position for a dangerous shot with a wayward first touch. That sent the match to halftime at 0-0.

O'Hara's dangerous dribble into the right of the box then saw an inviting cutback pass miss three suitors and instead was blazed over the bar by Morgan, as the sharpness continued to evade the Americans.


SEE MORE: Sweden seals perfect group stage with win over New Zealand

Sweden claims Group G with win over New Zealand

Sweden entered Tuesday's match assured of a knockout round berth, and didn't need long to assert itself as Group G's winner.

Anna Anvegard scored off an Olivia Schough feed after just 17 minutes against New Zealand at the Miyagi Stadium, and Madelyn Janogy had it 2-0 at the half-hour mark when she turned Hanna Bennison's cross over the line.

Those were the only goals in the match, as New Zealand finished 0-3 with two goals scored and 10 conceded.

Sweden will face the third-place team from either Group E or Group F.