It’s a matchup between Olympic women’s soccer pre-tournament favorites and it’s occurring in the quarterfinals. The knockout match between the No. 1-ranked U.S. women’s national team and No. 4-ranked Netherlands is easily the most anticipated showdown of the round.
It was only two years ago that the sides met in the final of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, a championship won by the USWNT 2-0. But the Americans haven’t been looking like world champions of late, finishing second in their group after a humbling 3-0 loss to Sweden and a drab 0-0 draw against Australia. Those sandwiched a 6-1 win over New Zealand, but all the talk has revolved around the roster management and player rotation adopted by head coach Vlatko Andonovski in an effort to keep his squad fresh.
After Sweden, the Netherlands has looked like the strongest team at the Olympics following the group stage: They topped Group F and scored a record 21 goals in the process. Forward Vivianne Miedema (below) set an Olympic record with eight goals and she potentially has three more games to add to her total.
But while the Dutch have been knocking them in, they have also conceded eight goals, allowing multiple goals in all three group games. The USWNT won’t mind after getting shut out twice in the group stage.
WATCH: USWNT vs. Netherlands on fuboTV (free 7-day trial)
Something else the USA has going for it: history. The Americans hold an 8-1-0 all-time record and eight straight wins over the Netherlands. The most recent meeting was a November 2020 friendly, which also finished 2-0 for the USA, although the Dutch didn’t have their first-choice squad for that one.
The winner of the quarterfinal will advance to the semis to take on Canada or Brazil. Thirty minutes of extra time and, if necessary, a penalty-kick shootout will decide a winner if the teams are deadlocked after 90.
How to watch USWNT vs. Netherlands Olympic soccer
USA vs. Netherlands will air live on NBCSN and Telemundo at 7 a.m. ET. Both networks are available to be streamed on fuboTV (free 7-day trial).
All Olympic soccer matches are also streamed in the USA on NBCOlympics.com, TelemundoDeportes.com, NBC Sports app and the Telemundo Deportes app — all with user authentication.
USWNT vs. Netherlands: Projected lineups
We’ll see which team’s tournament player management strategy pays off in this match. While the USA rotated some players from match to match, the Netherlands used nine of 11 starters in all three group matches.
For the USA, Lindsey Horan (below) should probably be favored to start in midfield over Sam Mewis based on current form (unless Mewis was holding something back against Australia).
Forward will present the most interesting decisions for the USA: Does Andonovski go with his best transition players to start the match in the hope of taking advantage of the Netherlands’ wide-open style of play? Or do veterans Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd get on the field?
One reason to sit Rapinoe: a yellow card against the Netherlands and she’d be suspended for an eventual semifinal. Midfielder Rose Lavelle is in the same boat, but the USA needs her on the field to start. It might be a consideration to make an earlier sub if the Americans can build enough of a lead.
USWNT projected starters (4-3-3, left to right): 1-Alyssa Naeher — 2-Crystal Dunn, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 17-Abby Dahlkemper, 5-Kelley O’Hara — 9-Lindsey Horan, 8-Julie Ertz, 16-Rose Lavelle — 11-Christen Press, 13-Alex Morgan, 7-Tobin Heath
Netherlands projected starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right): 1-Sari van Veenendaal-GK — 5-Merel van Dongen, 4-Aniek Nouwen, 3-Stefanie van der Gragt, 17-Dominique Janssen — 10-Danielle van de Donk, 14-Jackie Groenen, 6-Jill Roord — 11-Lieke Martens, 9-Vivianne Miedema, 7-Shanice van de Sanden
USA vs. Netherlands: Odds & prediction
Facing group stage opponents like China and Zambia may have made the Netherlands look more intimidating than they truly are. What’s for certain is that the U.S. won’t be intimidated given its history against the Dutch. And if the Netherlands couldn’t keep Zambia and China off the board, it will be a real surprise if the Americans can’t also find the back of the net.
So the side you pick will boil down to which team’s defense you are trusting to allow the fewest goals. That answer has to be the USA, barring a complete meltdown. All eyes will be on American center back Abby Dahlkemper, who did not have her best performances in the opening two matches and will need to deal with tournament leading scorer Miedema.
The both-teams-to-score/no draw prop at +110 catches the eye, as do the Asian Handicap numbers in favor of a U.S. win.
Prediction: USA 3, Netherlands 1
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
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