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U.S. women’s Olympic soccer team seeks redemption in Tokyo after shocking loss in Rio

Sports

The U.S. women’s national soccer team boasts back-to-back World Cup champion status, has ranked first or second in the world every year since 2003 and has not lost a single game under its new coach in 23 matches.

The big picture: But after a disappointing performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where the women failed to reach the gold medal game for the first time in history, the team is looking for redemption on the Olympic stage in Tokyo.

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  • The team is also seeking a back-to-back double — winning the Olympics after winning the Women’s World Cup — which has never been done before by any women’s team.

When to watch:

  • Group stage:

  • July 21 at 4:30 a.m. ET vs. Sweden

  • July 24 at 7:30 a.m. ET vs. New Zealand

  • July 27 at 4:00 a.m. ET vs. Australia

  • Quarterfinals – July 30

  • Semifinals – August 2

  • Medal matches – August 5

Who to watch:

An 18-player team of predominately WNT veterans — 17 played on the 2019 World Cup squad — will vie for gold in Japan. Some familiar faces include:

  • Alex Morgan, who has scored 110 goals in 180 international game, is one of the most prolific strikers in women’s soccer history.

  • The 32-year-old, who gave birth in May 2020, scored the game-winning goal in the final seconds of extra time in a nail-biting semifinal against Canada at the 2012 London Games.

  • Carli Lloyd will play in her fourth Olympic Games at age 39, making her the oldest player the U.S. women’s national team has ever sent to the Olympics.

  • Lloyd was named the best women’s player in the world twice by FIFA and is one of three players — male or female — to appear in 3oo or more international matches, per NPR.

  • Megan Rapinoe, 35, who scored the game-winning goal in the 2019 World Cup final, will become a three-time Olympian this summer.

  • Former co-captain of the team and winner of the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards in 2019, Rapinoe is active off the pitch as an outspoken advocate for pay equity and the Black Lives Matter movement.

  • Check out the full U.S. WNT roster here.

What they’re saying:

  • We have a very experienced roster that has been through adversity at the highest levels,” coach Vlatko Andonovski said, per USA Today.

  • “It can feel like there is a bit of a burden just with the pressure of being on this team and the expectations we hold for ourselves,” captain Becky Sauerbrunn, 36, told the Post.

  • “But this team, when we are at our absolute best is when everyone is brave and feels free to do what they need to do on the ball and their best is showcased. … We know how good we can be as long as we are free,” Sauerbrunn added.

Olympic medals…

  • 🥇- 1996 Atlanta Games

  • 🥈- 2000 Sydney Games

  • 🥇- 2004 Athens Games

  • 🥇- 2008 Beijing Games

  • 🥇- 2012 London Games

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