Rapinoe and Lloyd bag bronze for USA
USA finish third at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament
Doubles from Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd make the difference
Lloyd and Kerr set scoring records in an action-packed encounter
Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd both bagged braces as USA claimed Olympic bronze in Kashima with a thrilling 4-3 win over Australia.
Ibaraki Kashima Stadium
These sides played out the drabbest of 0-0 draws in the group stage but, from the first whistle, this was a very different and entirely more dramatic affair.
A combination of attacking inspiration and defensive errors led to a flurry of first-half goals, with Rapinoe scoring direct from a corner and lashing home a ferocious volley either side of a typically clinical Sam Kerr finish.
Lloyd increased USA’s lead just before half-time with a wonderful left-foot strike inside the right-hand post and snatched on an Alanna Kennedy error to nutmeg Teagan Micah shortly after the restart.
But Australia refused to succumb to a seemingly inevitable defeat, and the world champions endured some nervy final stages after a fine Caitlin Foord header and a stunning long-range strike from Emily Gielnick left them grimly hanging on.
Third place match of the Women's Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020
Alanna Kennedy #14 of Team Australia is closed down by Carli Lloyd #10 of Team United States
KASHIMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 05: Alanna Kennedy #14 of Team Australia is closed down by Carli Lloyd #10 of Team United States during the Women's Bronze Medal match between United States and Australia on day thirteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kashima Stadium on August 05, 2021 in Kashima, Japan. (Photo by Hector Vivas - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Carli Lloyd #10 of Team United States scores their side's third goal
KASHIMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 05: Carli Lloyd #10 of Team United States scores their side's third goal during the Women's Bronze Medal match between United States and Australia on day thirteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kashima Stadium on August 05, 2021 in Kashima, Japan. (Photo by Hector Vivas - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
It’s known as an Olympic goal, and Rapinoe seems to take that very literally. Although mouths were left open and eyebrows raised when the US icon opened the scoring direct from a corner, it wasn’t her first such goal at the Games.
The 36-year-old also caught out Canada from an identical position in 2012, and just as in that Old Trafford thriller, Rapinoe ended today with a double in a 4-3 USA win.
How can we pick between the Americans’ golden oldies? Rapinoe had spoken after the semi-final defeat to Canada of a rush among the media to “put her out to pasture” and, with Lloyd three years her senior, those questions have dogged her for even longer.
Today, not just in their outstanding goals but in some sparkling all-round play, this evergreen pair reminded everyone of their enduring influence on this US team. Lloyd also set a new Olympic record, with her ninth and ten goals at this tournament eclipsing the benchmark set by her former team-mate, Abby Wambach,
With her sixth goal at Tokyo 2020 and 48th in the gold and green of her country, Sam Kerr became the Matildas’ all-time leading scorer. Having surpassed Lisa De Vanna’s benchmark, Kerr’s next target is the overall national record held by Tim Cahill (50).