The United States women’s soccer team’s dream of winning the Olympic gold still lives on, after the team advanced to the next round with a 0-0 draw against Australia on Tuesday.
The United States faced the Matildas, as the Australian team are affectionately known, in Kashima, 70 miles east of Tokyo, in a close fight that ended in a stalemate towards the end.
A win or a tie would have seen the Americans move to Group G as a second qualifier and move on to the next round. Australia is also expected to make progress.
After a stunning 3-0 loss in their opener against Sweden, the United States rebounded with a convincing 6-1 victory over New Zealand. And now that they have faced another rival from the Antipodes without losing, the Americans are in the round of 16 on Friday morning. Friday’s American opponent has yet to be decided.
On a rare occasion for these Olympics, there were fans in the stadium to watch the game, although a small crowd of 1,000 local school children.
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The first half saw high levels of Australian possession and a few chances, but no goals. Australian Mary Fowler approached it with a head that curled up on the crossbar.
The United States put the ball in the net in the 31st minute, but Alex Morgan’s goal from a corner kick was disallowed after the video assistant referee ruled it offside by a beautiful margin.
U.S. fans on social media weren’t convinced by the call, with some speculating Morgan was offside due to the length of her ponytail.
Australian captain Sam Kerr burst into the US penalty area just before half-time and looked certain to score, only for US midfielder Julie Ertz to intervene with a crucial and timely diving tackle.
The second half lacked action from the first as both teams seemed to be content with the draw