The US Women’s National Team got off to a listless start in the Tokyo Games with a disheartening 3-0 setback at the hands of Sweden to begin group play. While the team was ultimately able to sneak through into the quarterfinals after a win over New Zealand and draw against Australia, the presumptive gold medal favorites can’t be too pleased with the way they have played since arriving in Japan.
On Friday, the USWNT faces a daunting clash against an in-form Netherlands side in the quarterfinals. The Dutch will be out for revenge against the Americans after losing to Team USA in the 2019 World Cup final.
The stage is set 🔥
🇺🇸 vs. 🇳🇱 // Friday // 7am ET pic.twitter.com/l6CQjCTzSF
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) July 29, 2021
The Netherlands have undoubtedly been the most impressive team in the women’s field since these Olympics began. The Dutch started group play with an embarrassing 8-2 win over China, which was followed by a 3-3 draw against Brazil and a 10-3 shellacking of Zambia.
Olympics betting sites have this game as a pick’em. The US are slight +140 favorites, with the Netherlands coming in at +180 at DraftKings. You can get +275 odds on the game finishing tied after 90 minutes, as well. FanDuel is offering +185 and +290 on the tie after 90 minutes bet.
Can the Americans Stifle Miedema?
As mentioned, Miedema has spearheaded the Netherlands’ unstoppable attack to this point. Her eight goals have come in just 177 minutes of action, with two of her goals coming against the vaunted Brazilian defense in their aforementioned 3-3 draw in the group stage.
Miedema plies her craft with Arsenal in the England Women’s Super League, where she has averaged one goal every 83 minutes of play. That rate pales in comparison to her track record at these Olympics thus far, but slowing her down will be an obvious area of focus for the Americans’ defense.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 27, 2021
Miedema scored a hat-trick in just 15 minutes of play in just her second-ever game for the Dutch senior national side several years ago. She was playing for Bayern Munich by the time she was 18, with a move to England at 21.
Compare the Netherlands’ youth to the Americans’ collective age and there is clearly cause for concern if you’re a supporter of Team USA. While the current crop of players have won just about everything there is to win over the past decade, it’s fair to wonder whether the “golden generation” has finally reached its end.
Does the US Have One More Run Left?
Followers of the USWNT are familiar with the vast majority of the names that will line up on Thursday. Alex Morgan has never stopped scoring goals as the lynchpin of the American attack. Ditto for Carly Lloyd, while Megan Rapinoe, Julie Ertz, Christen Press, and Rose Lavelle are still key contributors for the side that came into the Olympics as presumptive favorites to win gold yet again.
The team bounced back with a dominant 6-1 demolition of New Zealand before being held to a disappointing scoreless draw against the Aussies. That game had no real bearing on either team’s future in the tournament, but the fact that the US didn’t really go after the game doesn’t inspire much confidence in their chances against the high-octane Dutch attack.
I’m not naive about the pragmatic side of tournament soccer, but USWNT fans waking up in the middle of the night should never be subjected to their team not even trying to score for much of the 2nd half anytime, anywhere. https://t.co/WsWWekiXwv
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) July 27, 2021
Goals from Rapinoe and Lavelle helped the US to a 2-0 win over the Netherlands at the 2019 World Cup final, but holding this version of the Netherlands without a goal will be an incredibly tall order.
The over/under for this game has been set at 2.5 goals, which feels very attackable. Games involving the Netherlands have combined for 10, 6, and 13 goals to this point, with the Dutch doing the vast majority of the damage. The Americans are a more resolute defensive side than any of the Netherlands’ opponents thus far, but this game has the potential to be a very fun, high-scoring affair.
You’re not getting great bang for your buck given the sizable -330 odds on the over, but it feels close to a lock given the talent on both sides in this one.