Tokyo Olympics women’s soccer: Quarterfinal drama as USWNT fight on while Australia rally past Team GB

The women’s Olympic soccer semifinals are now set after a day of high drama in Japan saw the hosts, Brazil and Team GB all eliminated.

Canada sent the South Americans home on penalties after a goalless draw while Australia needed extra time to top the British in a seven-goal thriller.

Sweden weathered resistance from the Japanese before making their dominance tell and it was dramatic between the USWNT and the Netherlands too with Vlatko Andonovski’s side advancing on penalties.

Some takeaways from an absorbing Friday.

Miedema’s Netherlands penalized by USWNT

This quarterfinal lived up to its billing with a 2-2 draw which saw each side go in front and fight back to level once each before it went to extra time and penalties.

Vivianne Miedema’s brace took her tournament tally to 10 goals for the 2017 European champions, but Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams’ efforts ensured that it was level after 90 minutes.

A bizarre spate of disallowed strikes saw extra time come and go with the USWNT now on nine annulled goals all competition which is more than they have scored in Japan.

Alyssa Naeher, who saved a penalty in regulation, then stepped up to the plate to save the Americans by saving from both Miedema and Aniek Nouwen to enable Megan Rapinoe to confirm the semifinal berth.

Penalty pain for Brazil

Brazil also suffered from the spot against Canada after a stalemate between the two in Rifu with Andressa and Rafaelle the two unlucky players who failed to convert and enabled the Canucks to overcome Christine Sinclair’s opening setback.

It was in-line with the progress made so far by Bev Priestman’s team who have been a model of efficiency as they have rarely blown opponents away on their way to the semifinals while also proving tough to beat.

However, despite their solid record in Japan so far, this was their first clean sheet, and they will need more of the same against the USWNT.

White treble not enough

Ellen White is the latest player to have scored a hat-trick and still found herself on the losing team these Games with Zambia’s Barbra Banda perhaps the most memorable example after her six-goal haul from across just two games.

White leaves the Olympics level with Banda on six but trailing Vivianne Miedema of the Netherlands as the tournament’s leading goal scorer after an absorbing encounter with Australia ended in extra time defeat.

After levelling once and putting Team GB ahead once, the 32-year-old could not do much more to keep British hopes alive, having provided all but one goal in Japan, as Sam Kerr netted twice to help the Matildas to a 4-3 success in Kashima.

Sweden too strong

Meanwhile, the Swedes march on after a relatively comfortable win over hosts Japan in Saitama with Stina Blackstenius back in the goals after scoring three times in the opening two fixtures in Group G.

Mina Tanaka had temporarily given Nadeshiko hope with an equalizer after Magdalena Eriksson’s opener, but Blackstenius and Kosovare Asllani ensured that Peter Gerhardsson’s girls are not stopped just yet.

The Swedes have hit at least three goals in three of their four games in Japan so far and the only time they did not reach that mark was a 2-0 win over New Zealand with a rotated squad and that was also one of two clean sheets to date as Blagult emerge as one of the form teams.

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