KASHIMA — Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd each scored a pair of goals and the United States won the bronze medal in women’s soccer at the Tokyo Olympics with a 4-3 victory over Australia on Thursday, AP reported.
It was arguably the best the Americans had looked during the course of a rocky tournament that opened with an uncharacteristic 3-0 loss to Sweden. Rapinoe set the tone early with a goal scored directly from a corner kick.
The loss spoiled the Australians’ first-ever trip to the medal round at the Olympics. No Australian soccer team, men or women, has ever won a medal.
The Matildas were the underdogs against the United States, the top-ranked team in the world and the defending World Cup champions who came to Japan hoping for a fifth gold medal. But the Americans struggled at times during the tournament, including a 1-0 loss to Canada in the semifinals. The Canadians hadn’t defeated their North American counterparts since 2001.
The U.S. team that came out against Australia looked completely different.
Rapinoe scored from a corner kick in the eighth minute to give the Americans an early lead. It was the second time Rapinoe has scored an Olimpico, as goals from corners are known: She also had one in the semifinals of the 2012 Olympics against Canada.
Sam Kerr pulled the Australians even with a goal in the 17th minute that got past U.S. goalkeeper Adrianna Franch.
Franch got her first start in a major tournament in place of Alyssa Naeher, who injured her right knee in the U.S. team’s semifinal loss to Canada.
Just 27, Kerr became the all-time leading scorer for the Australians with 48 goals. She led all scorers remaining in the tournament with six goals.
Rapinoe’s second goal came on a stunning volley in the 21st, and it became obvious that the Australians were missing defender Ellie Carpenter, who was handed a red card late in the Matildas’ 1-0 semifinal loss to Sweden.
Lloyd made it 3-1 in first-half stoppage time when her left-footed shot got past Australia goalkeeper Teagan Micah. She added another on a break in the 51st minute, giving her a U.S. record 10 career Olympic goals.
Lloyd made her 312th appearance for the national team in the match, passing Christie Rampone for second on the all-time list. Kristine Lilly leads the career appearances list with 354.