Megan Rapinoe scores direct from a corner to earn consolation win for USA in the Olympic

Friday, August 6th, 2021 00:00 |
USA’s forward Megan Rapinoe (R) is congratulated by teammates after scoring during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women’s bronze medal football match between Australia and the United States at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium in Kashima city, Ibaraki Prefecture on August 5, 2021. Photo/AFP

Kashima, Thursday

Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd both scored twice as the United States claimed a consolation bronze in the Olympic women’s football tournament Thursday with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Australia.

Rapinoe, who refused to speculate on her international future after the semi-final loss to Canada, scored direct from a corner in Kashima before Sam Kerr’s equaliser that saw her become Australia’s all-time leading scorer.

Rapinoe struck again and Lloyd drilled in a third for the Americans just before half-time on her 312th international appearance -- second only behind Kristine Lilly, whose 354 caps are the most in the history of the sport.

The 39-year-old Lloyd added a fourth early in the second half after more suspect Australian defending, with a rousing comeback from the Matildas coming up just short despite goals from Caitlin Foord and Emily Gielnik.

“It’s amazing. It’s not necessarily what we wanted, we always have the standard of winning every game and winning every championship, but honestly this one means a lot,” said Rapinoe, who won Olympic gold in 2012.

Coach Vlatko Andonovski recalled both Rapinoe and Lloyd to the line-up following the USA’s first defeat to Canada in 20 years that ruined their hopes of a fifth Olympic title in seven editions.

“I’m so proud of the group, the way we responded today and the way we’ve stuck together through this whole tournament. It’s really easy to start pointing fingers,” said Rapinoe.

“I think we just kind of let it all go a little bit. Obviously we haven’t played our best football through this tournament and it just hasn’t really clicked. We wanted to end this tournament on a good note.”

This was a much more absorbing contest than the 0-0 draw between the teams in the group stage, with Rapinoe putting the USA ahead on eight minutes when she whipped in a corner that flashed beyond Australia goalkeeper Teagan Micah. 

Kerr edged ahead of Lisa De Vanna with her 48th international goal, squeezing the ball past Adrianna Franch to bring Australia level on the quarter-hour.

Franch then flew to her right to palm away a Kerr header, but Rapinoe soon punished a miscued clearance by Alanna Kennedy, rifling home a superb volley to put the Americans back in front.  - AFP

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