The United States women's national soccer team is one step closer to earning an Olympic medal. On Friday, the squad defeated the Netherlands in penalty kicks 4-2 in the Tokyo Olympics after the game was tied 2-2 in regular and extra time. They will now advance to the semifinals for the first time since the 2012 Olympics in London. USWNT will face Canada, and will either advance to the gold medal match or bronze medal match.
Megan Rapinoe kicked the game-winning goal in the penalty round, but the hero was goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher as she had three saves from the penalty spot, including one in the second half. She then saved two penalties from Vivianne Miedema and Aniek Nouwento to help the U.S. get a huge win.
THIS GAME. THIS TEAM. AHHHHHH. pic.twitter.com/v1QRf1Byqn— Team USA (@TeamUSA) July 30, 2021
"This team just kept pushing for 90 minutes, 120 minutes, and we just kept believing that we were going to find a way to get it done," Naeher said, per ESPN. "Very proud of the four players to step up and score their four penalties to go 4-for-4. That is huge." Naeher has been with the USWNT since 2013 and currently plays for the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL. She helped the U.S. win the World Cup in 2019.
Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle, Alex Morgan and Christen Press scored the penalties for the USWNT. "I just try to be calm," Rapinoe said after the game. "I say to myself, the worst that's going to happen is that we lose the whole thing." Things have not been easy for the USWNT in the Olympics. The team lost to Sweden in the first group match before winning their second group stage match against New Zealand and tying Australia. Sweeden defeated the U.S. in the quarterfinals in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and will play Australia in the semifinals on Monday.
"Coming in and losing the first game, and actually, not just losing but getting our butts kicked, it's not easy for this team that is not used to losing," U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said after the match against the Netherlands. "They're not even used to having a bad game, and to lose like that was not easy.