US women’s soccer team survives shootout with Netherlands, advances to semifinals

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Megan Rapinoe converted the deciding penalty in a shootout and the United States advanced to the semifinals of the women’s Olympic soccer tournament 4-2 following a 2-2 draw with the Netherlands on Friday.

United States goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher stopped Vivianne Miedema’s opening attempt in the shootout and then saved a shot from Aniek Nouwen before Rapinoe put her penalty away.

Keep scrolling for a gallery of photos from the game

After Rapinoe scored, she turned to her teammates, folded her arms and grinned in triumph.

Miedema scored a pair of goals in regulation time for the Netherlands, giving her 10 goals for the tournament — an Olympic record.

Miedema put the Netherlands ahead in the 18th minute but the Americans equalized when Sam Mewis headed in a goal off a feed from Lynn Williams in the 28th. Williams then gave the Americans the lead in the 31st.

Miedema, who was playing in her 100th game for the Netherlands, made it 2-2 in the 54th.

The United States will next face Canada in Kashima on Monday. The Canadians advanced to the semifinals 4-3 on penalties after a scoreless draw with Brazil in Rifu.

The Americans were playing in a shootout for the fifth time in a major tournament. The last time was at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, when the U.S. was bounced by Sweden in the quarterfinals.

Friday’s game at the International Stadium brought together the two teams that played in the World Cup final two years ago in France. The U.S. women won that 2-0 and afterward the crowd chanted “Equal Pay!” in support of the team’s legal fight for equity with the men’s national team.

United States coach Vlatko Andonovski tinkered with his lineup for Friday’s match, with Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Christen Press and Rose Lavelle on the bench at the start.

The grueling game was the latest hurdle in what has been a particularly uncharacteristic tournament for the United States. The normally stalwart Americans lost to Sweden 3-0 in its opener before beating New Zealand 6-1. They then advanced to the knockout round following a 0-0 draw with Australia.

The United States hadn’t been shutout since 2017.

The Netherlands, meanwhile, poured on the offense in the group stage with an Olympic record 21 goals — smashing the previous record of 16 set by the United States in 2012.

Miedema, who plays for English club Arsenal, is only 25 and is already the all-time scoring leader for the Netherlands with 82 goals in 100 appearances. She is also the leading scorer in the Women’s Super League in England.

The United States also played the Netherlands in Breda in November, winning 2-0. The Americans were unbeaten in 44 straight matches before the loss to Sweden at the Tokyo Games.

In Rifu, Canada goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe stopped Rafaelle’s attempt and was rushed by her teammates. Canada has won bronze medals at the last two Olympics.

Australia earned its first trip to the semifinals by beating Britain 4-3 in extra time in Kashima. The Matildas will face Sweden, who beat host Japan 3-1 in Saitama.