(CBS Local)- After dropping their opening match of Olympic play, the USWNT rebounded nicely with a 6-1 win over New Zealand and a 0-0 draw against Australia to finish second in Group G and see themselves through to the knockout round. Their opponent is yet another familiar face as the Netherlands stands in the way of a berth in the semifinals.
The match is a rematch of the 2019 Women’s World Cup final and an opportunity for the Netherlands to get revenge for that loss. For the U.S. it marks a chance to advance past the quarterfinals after being knocked out in this round by Sweden back in Rio in 2016.READ MORE: Small Business Saturday Offers North Texans Another Day Of Deals And Steals
The two teams will take the pitch on Friday morning, 7 a.m. Eastern Time. With the preparations underway, here are four things fans should know heading into the matchup.
Netherlands Attacking Play Has Been Best Of The Olympics
The Orange Lionesses were relentless on the attack in the group stage producing the most goals of any team in the tournament thus far by a good distance. The Netherlands scored 21 goals, twelve more than Brazil who finished second in their group and Sweden which won Group G.
Granted, 10 of those goals came in the first match against Olympic debutante Zambia. But, they tallied three times against Brazil and eight times against China. The 21 goals is a record for the most scored by any teams at an Olympics surpassing the 16 that the U.S. scored in its entire gold medal run at the 2012 London Games.
Striker Vivianne Miedema leads the tournament with eight goals and teammate Lieke Martens is tied for third with four. The Dutch attack has been prolific which could signal trouble for a U.S. back line that showed some vulnerability in their first match against Sweden.
The U.S. has dominated the all-time series between the two sides winning eight of the nine meetings. The lone loss came back in 1991 in the first meeting between the two with the Dutch capturing a 4-3 victory.
Each of the last two matches have seen the USWNT take 2-0 victories with the biggest coming in the Women’s World Cup final in France in 2019.READ MORE: TCU Falls 48-14 To Iowa State
This matchup marks the third time that the World Cup finalists have met in Olympic knockout stage play in the following cycle. In 2008 Brazil and Germany met in the Olympics semifinals after playing in the World Cup final in 2007. And in 2012, the U.S. beat Japan 2-1 to avenge their loss in the 2011 final. The Dutch will be hoping for a similar result this time around.
Win One For Wiegman?
The Netherlands have further motivation in this tournament outside of knocking out the U.S. team who kept them from winning the World Cup in 2019. Their coach, Sarina Wiegman, is leaving the team after this Olympics to take over as head coach of the English squad.
Wiegman led the Netherlands to the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro championship and now is hoping to cap off her tenure with a gold medal at the Olympics.
Can The U.S. Attack Find Its Form?
The U.S. scored six goals in the group stage but they all came against one opponent, New Zealand, in the second match of the stage. Against both Sweden and Australia, the Americans were held off the score sheet.
U.S. fans will of course point out that the team had multiple goals called off due to offsides across all three matches. That is true and certainly points to an ability to engineer scoring chances. But, getting into those offsides position is a matter of mistiming runs or passes and thus far that’s been part of the problem for the U.S. attack.
Finding that timing and, quickly, will be important against a Dutch team that has scored inside the first 12 minutes of each of their three group stage matches.MORE NEWS: Happy Black Friday! Experts Predict 159 Million People Ready To Shop This Weekend
The United States Women’s National Team faces the Netherlands on Friday, July 30 at 7 a.m. Eastern Time.