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Thorns in Tokyo: Quarterfinals

How did Thorns players do with their respective national teams?

United States v Australia: Women’s Football - Olympics: Day 4 Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Canda 0-0 Brazil; Canada advance via penalties

Christine Sinclair and Canada advanced to the Olympic semifinals via a penalty shootout. Canada and Brazil played 120 minutes of scoreless soccer before the shootout. Sinclair missed her penalty, but Stephanie Labbe made two crucial penalty saves.

The first Olympic quarterfinal saw two of the game’s greats going head-to-head and captaining their sides in Sinclair and Marta. Marta’s Brazil got off to a better start, establishing control in midfield and pressing Canada into turnovers in their own half.

Canada was able to create the first opportunity in the match via a set piece. Brazilian goalkeeper Barbara came to punch out a corner kick. Ashley Lawrence shot from the top of the 18-yard box and the ball landed to the feet of Quinn. They had an open look on goal, but curled it over the crossbar.

Brazil had a chance of their own one minute later. Marta and Tamires linked up on the left side of Canada’s box and Tamires was able to get a shot off but the result was the same as Quinn’s shot.

The Canadians began to play through the Brazilian press as the half wore on and created the majority of the first half’s opportunities in transition. Lawrence flew down the flank and crossed to Sinclair, whose touch let her down in the box. Then Quinn chipped a pass to Janine Beckie. She laid it off to Jessie Fleming, who shot just wide from the top of the box. In the 29th minute, Nichelle Prince played a weighted through ball to Beckie. The forward took her shot early, first-time and spurned an opportunity to get a better look on goal.

Brazil had a penalty shot waved off and had a great chance of their own go begging in the 40th minute. Debinha pressured Vanessa Gilles, won the ball, and drove into the box. Labbe came off her line quickly to close down the Brazilian’s angle and came up with an important stop.

Canada dictated the tempo to start the second half and limited the space afforded to the likes of Marta and Debinha. Gilles had a great opportunity to break the deadlock in the 59th minute. Beckie put a free kick into the box and the Canadian defender headed the ball off the crossbar.

Brazil only sent 2-3 runners forward for the majority of the second half. But Debinha and substitute Ludmila found space and caused danger. Ludmila’s run forced Gilles to make multiple sliding interventions and Debinha tested Labbe from distance.

The match became a little more stretched toward the final 10 minutes of regulation. In the 85th minute, Deanne Rose ran onto a lofted ball and it looked like she would have a chance to test Barbara. But Erika made a brilliant recovery run and tackled the ball away.

Both teams had half-chances in transition but neither could find a goal and the match would go to extra time. Extra time was very similar to the end of the half with both Canada and Brazil looking to take advantage of transition. As the match neared penalties, Debinha became very active and swung a cross to the head of Erika, who forced Labbe into a diving save in the 118th minute.

Extra time ended without either team scoring, so the match would be decided from the penalty spot. Sinclair took the first penalty of the shootout, but Barbara dove to her right and parried it wide. The next six takers converted. Labbe guessed the right way and saved Andressa Alves’s penalty to even things out. Gilles converted her penalty and Labbe came up with another big save to keep out Rafaelle.

Canada advance to the Olympic semifinals and will play the U.S. on Monday, Aug. 2 at 1:00 a.m. PST.

USA vs. the Netherlands

Crystal Dunn, Lindsey Horan, and Becky Sauerbrunn started for the USWNT in their match as they defeated the Netherlands in penalties.

The Americans started the match well. They pressed the Dutch and were strong in possession. The U.S. also continued their streak of scoring offside goals. Tobin Heath made a run into the 18-yard box and Julie Ertz found her. Heath finished well but was ruled to be just offside.

In the 14th minute, the U.S. thought they had the lead. Lynn Williams crossed to Horan, whose header looked destined for the bottom corner. Sari van Veenendaal made an outstanding diving save to push the ball off the post and out.

The Dutch took the lead five minutes later. Danielle van de Donk shot from the top of the box and the ball found Vivianne Miedema in the box. Miedema took an immaculate touch before turning and dispatching to make it 1-0.

The Americans responded well. Williams got the ball down the right and cut back to create a good crossing angle. She found Sam Mewis in the box, who threw herself at the ball to score a diving header.

Williams was at it again in the 31st minute. The U.S. took a corner and the ball bounced around in the box. Williams pounced on it and half-vollied the U.S. into a 2-1 lead that they would take into halftime.

The Dutch had much more of the ball to start the second half. Despite that, the U.S. had the opportunity to double their lead in the 53rd minute. Horan turned well and swung a cross behind the back line to Carli Lloyd. Her touch let her down and the chance was wasted.

Miedema made the Americans pay one minute later. She cut inside past Abby Dahlkemper and shot between the legs of Ertz. The low shot found its way past Alyssa Naeher at the near post.

In the 63rd minute, Horan crossed to substitute Christen Press. She put the ball in the back of the net but it became the seventh offside goal that the USWNT scored in this Olympics.

Kelley O’Hara gave away a penalty in the 80th minute after a collision in the box. Naeher dove to her left and saved Lieke Martens’ penalty kick. van de Donk looped a header wide in the 86th minute. The teams couldn't separate themselves in regulation and the match went to extra time.

The Netherlands put the ball into the back of the net toward the beginning of first half extra time after Naeher mishandled a ball that bounced off the crossbar. The goal was ruled off for offside. Naeher made another every important save on a Miedema header in the 103rd minute.

In the 105th minute, Horan swung a ball to the head of Press. She attempted to redirect it on goal, but floated it over the bar. In the second half of extra time, Megan Rapinoe played Press in behind. Press finished but it would be the eighth goal the U.S. scored that would be denied by the offside flag. Alex Morgan also scored, but the goal was waved off.

Horan’s shot went just wide in the 120th minute after Dahlkemper put a lofted vertical ball into the box. The match would be decided with a penalty shootout.

Rose Lavelle, Morgan, Press and Rapinoe all converted and Naeher saved Miedema and Aniek Nouwen’s penalty as the U.S. advanced to the semifinals.

The USWNT advance to the Olympic semifinals and will play Canada on Monday, Aug. 2 at 1:00 a.m. PST.