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Thorns in Tokyo: Matchday 3

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Dunn, Sauerbrunn and Horan feature for the U.S.; Sinclair doesn’t feature for Canada.

Sweden v United States - Women’s Football - Olympics - Day -2 Photo by Berengui/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

The USWNT play to a scoreless draw with Australia, securing second place in Group G

Crystal Dunn and Becky Sauerbrunn started for the U.S. Women’s National Team in their 0-0 draw with Australia on the final matchday of the Group Stage. Lindsey Horan and Adrianna Franch were on the bench. Horan appeared as a substitute.

The U.S. sat in a mid-block and let Australia have the ball. The Matildas had a lot of the ball but didn’t create too much from open play. Australia held a high line which the U.S. tried to exploit by playing overly direct.

The directness did create a few opportunities in the first half. In the 8th minute, Rose Lavelle picked up possession on the top of the 18-yard box after an Australian throw-in. She lofted a ball to Alex Morgan, who sprinted toward goal while bodying off a defender. Morgan shot directly at the keeper.

The Matildas had a chance of their own ten minutes later. Former Thorn Ellie Carpenter took a long throw that was flicked on and then bounced in the box. Mary Fowler got on the end of it and headed the ball off the crossbar.

The offside flag haunted the U.S. again as they scored their fifth goal of the tournament that would be ruled off. The U.S. took a short corner to Kelley O’Hara. She crossed to Morgan, who met it at the front post and fired it past the keeper but it didn’t count.

The U.S. created one more chance to end the half. Dunn won the ball in midfield and it bounced to Morgan. She slotted a ball in behind the defense and Christen Press ran onto it. Her first touch took her wide and her shot was tame.

The second half started slowly. The U.S. continued to sit in their mid-block and Australia passed around the back. When the U.S. won the ball they quickly launched it forward, bypassing the midfield.

Lindsey Horan was introduced in the 65th minute as part of a double substitution that also saw Tobin Heath enter the match. In the 69th minute, Tierna Davidson played a free kick into the box. Horan got on the end of it but redirected it wide of the goal.

Both teams looked as though they would settle for a point that would propel Australia and the U.S. through to the knockout rounds and the match finished with little urgency and goal scoring intent.

The U.S. finished in second place in Group G behind Sweden. They will meet the Netherlands on Friday, July 30. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 a.m. PST.

Canada 1-1 Great Britain; Sinclair was not included in the game day roster

Canada and Team GB draw 1-1 as Canada finishes second in Group E. Canada rotated heavily in their final match of Group E. Portland Thorns FC’s, and Canadian captain, Christine Sinclair was not included in the 18-player matchday roster.

Team GB and Canada traded spells of possession throughout the first half. Great Britain was organized in defense and forced Canada’s defenders to play long, bypassing the midfield.

The first big chance of the match fell to Rachel Daly. Team GB countered quickly in the 33rd minute. Daly was played through and just as she was unleashing her shot Ashley Lawrence made a sliding challenge to deflect the shot.

Five minutes later, Caroline Weir tried to receive in a dangerous position in the 18-yard box. Her touch let her down and the chance was gone.

Canada made two halftime substitutions, bringing on Jordyn Huitema and Jessie Flemming. The Canadians ramped up the pressure and forced goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck into a giveaway. The ball landed at the feet of Adriana Leon, who shot but Millie Bright blocked the shot.

In the 55th minute, Lawrence sprinted onto a pass down the left flank. She played a cutback cross through the box past multiple Canada and British players. It found its way to Leon, who was positioned at the back post. Leon side-footed the ball into the back of the net to give Canada a 1-0 lead.

Team GB responded with pressure and substitutions of their own but it was starter Weir, who took control of the match. In the 67th minute, Weir was played the ball in the box and she unleashed a shot that bounced off the crossbar and then off the far post.

Great Britain found a late equalizer courtesy of Weir and a very fortunate deflection. The Scot fired from distance and Nichelle Prince tried to head the shot away from goal. Instead, the ball took a wicked deflection and found its way into the goal.

Canada finished in second place in Group E. They will face Brazil on Friday, July 30 at 1:00 a.m. PST.