Meghan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd scored a pair of braces to guide their side to the victory.

Braces from Meghan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd took USWNT to a 4-3 win over Australia in the Tokyo Olympics bronze medal match. After a disappointing start to their campaign, which saw them begin with a loss, they also were defeated by Canada in the semis, they advanced to the bronze medal match. Although Australia came close on multiple occasions, Llyod’s 51st-minute strike proved out to be the difference-maker.

Australia, on the other hand, ended on the opposite side of what was expected of them in football before the Tokyo Olympics began. With a young and talented squad, The Matildas were expected to win a medal. However, Emily Gielnik’s 91st minute goal was too late for them to recover from the deficit as they finished at the fourth spot.

Here are the five major talking points as USWNT defeated Australia to grab the Tokyo Olympics bronze medal.

5. Megan Rapinoe’s stunning Olimpico goal

While it was impressive that USWNT scored within the first 10 minutes of the game, it was even stunning in regards to how it was scored. After Australian shot-stopper Teagan Micah pulled off a brilliant save, Megan Rapinoe scored directly from the corner to put them in front.

Delivering from the left corner spot, Rapinoe scored from a curling effort, directly from the spot-kick. Micah, continuously put under pressure by Lloyd throughout the sequence, lost balance and helplessly watched the ball go past her at the far post. Rapinoe followed this goal with an impressive volley later on in the Tokyo Olympics bronze medal match.

4. Carli Lloyd’s brace that caught Australia off guard

Carli Llyod’s decorated career has seen her develop into one of the best female footballers of all-time. Her goalscoring prowess, especially the ability to operate behind the opposition defence is unparalleled in the women’s division. In her last game for the national side, Llyod displayed why she has been successful to make a name for herself.

After Rapinoe’s brace put USWNT upfront in the Tokyo Olympics medal match, it was Lloyd who scored from an error out in the opposition defence. After scoring the first goal in added time before the first half, Lloyd doubled it up with another in the 51st minute. On both occasions, the 39-year-old controlled the ball well and shot past the goalkeeper, delivering sleek finishing touches.

3. USWNT’s experienced forwards finally deliver

Tokyo Olympics
Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe scored braces (Courtesy: FIFAWWC)

The USWNT have looked disjointed compared to the performances that they had delivered in the past. Struggling to get behind the opposition defence has been one problem and the lack of a connection between the midfield and attack has been another. While the second was visible against Australia, USWNT improved on the first.

Carli Lloyd and Meghan Rapinoe’s start meant the attacking third was more functional. The front line performed well off the ball, continuously pressing and forcing errors to capitalise on them. At the heart of it all was Lloyd, who led from the middle and was always available for a pass.

2. Flurry of defensive errors from both sides

It was 4-1 to the USWNT at one point, and four of those five goals came out of defensive errors. While Rapinoe’s goal was exceptional, but what followed was not pleasing by defensive means. Samantha Kerr scored capitalising Tierna Davidson’s error, equalising momentarily in the 17th minute.

On the other hand, Rapinoe’s volley that put the USWNT in front was the result of a poor back pass. Similarly, both of Lloyd’s goals came following errors forced out of the Australian defence. Australia’s efforts to play out from the back paid a heavy price in front of the USA’s aggressive pressing, resulting in three open play goals against them.

1. Australia close, yet far from the bronze medal

Tokyo Olympics

Australia’s efforts to come back from 4-1 to make it 4-3 was impressive, yet not enough to clinch the medal. After being 4-1 down in less than an hour, the Matildas pulled another back in the 54th minute. Kyah Simon’s assist was converted by Caitlin Foord and the goals that followed were too late for a comeback. Gielnik’s goal after a quick counter-attack came with just three minutes of added time left and the USWNT held on to win bronze medal at Tokyo Olympics.

The game, overall, saw the Matildas make most from the chances they created. While creating limited chances was a bad sign in itself, the effectiveness was an optimistic takeaway for this young side.

For more updates, follow Khel Now on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.