This one could get ugly.
Following their biggest loss at the Olympics and their first loss since January 2019, the gold medal-favorite United States women’s national team is expected to give an irate response when they face No. New Zealand, who occupies 22nd in their second of three Group G games. Midfielder Lindsey Horan hinted at the air around the team in her pre-game talk to the media.
Lindsey Horan at the #USWNTloss to Sweden:
“That game pissed us off, and that’s the reality.”
He acknowledges Sweden’s game plan and execution, says all US players know they need to play better and the mindset needs to be better.
– Jeff Kassouf (@JeffKassouf) July 23, 2021
Despite the shocking 3-0 setback in the tournament opener that made headlines Wednesday, the No. 1 ranked USWNT is still in good shape to advance to the quarterfinals of the Olympic tournament. The top two teams in each group and the top two teams in third place pass. Therefore, two wins in their last two group games should be more than enough (and achievable) to reserve a spot in the quarters.
The Football Ferns, the lowest ranked team in Group G, make opponents work hard for their goals and wins, but that effort is often not enough to make up for the physical and technical gap that exists against elite teams. like the USA. That has not helped have had limited competitive action and training time due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in your country and region.
New Zealand’s 2-1 loss to Australia in their first Olympic game was a flattering score that speaks more of Australia’s unconvincing play than the quality of the Ferns. They were rarely dangerous, handling just five total shots in a match, they had to win to have any real hope of advancing. Their goalkeeper, Erin Nayler, was especially poor on Australia’s two goals, though she redeemed herself with two strong saves later in the game.
New Zealand should try exactly what the doctor prescribed to cure the USWNT of its post-Sweden malaise. There is also a little detail from the goal difference column that the Americans will want to address before the final match against Australia. That could come into play as a tiebreaker on the final day.
MORE: Updated Women’s Olympic Football Group G Rankings
How to watch USWNT vs. New Zealand Olympic football
- Date: Saturday July 24
- Weather: 7:30 am ET
- TV channels: NBCSN
- Spanish television: Telemundo
- Transmission: fuboTV, NBCOlympics.com, TelemundoDeportes.com, the NBC Sports app and the Telemundo Deportes app (with user authentication)
The second game of US Group G will air at 7:30 am ET on NBCSN in English and on Telemundo in Spanish. Both channels are available to broadcast on fuboTV (7-day free trial).
As with all Olympic football games, they can be streamed in the US on NBCOlympics.com, TelemundoDeportes.com, the NBC Sports app, and the Telemundo Deportes app, all with user authentication.
DECOURCY: The loss of Sweden is humiliating, but the pursuit of gold by the United States continues
USWNT vs. New Zealand: projected lineups
So Vlatko Andonovski could go in different directions with his lineup against New Zealand. He could send in his starting lineup and let them experience the catharsis of correcting what went wrong against Sweden. He could also rotate the team and make sure his key players are fresh for the final against a tough team from Australia. Or you will probably combine both approaches.
Players like Julie Ertz and Tobin Heath could use more action as they continue to work towards their best form after long periods of inactivity due to injuries. And the starting midfield unit of Sam Mewis, Ertz and Rose Lavelle could use 45 strong minutes to find themselves in a competitive environment. Then expect the five second-half substitutes to potentially include: Horan for Ertz, Catarina Macario for Lavelle, Emily Sonnett for Kelley O’Hara, Megan Rapinoe for Heath, and the Carli Lloyd for Alex Morgan trade that has become a regular occurrence.
MORE: Six Reasons for America’s Debacle Against Sweden
The Ferns came out in a 5-2-3 formation against Australia, but it will look more like a 5-4-1 with both forwards as midfielders. Led by graceful central defender Abby Erceg, they will sit deep to hold out as long as possible in hopes that standout forward Hannah Wilkinson can leap into goal. But without help, it is a difficult task for her.
USWNT Projected Starters (4-3-3, left to right): 1-Alyssa Naeher – 2-Crystal Dunn, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 17-Abby Dahlkemper, 5-Kelley O’Hara – 3-Samantha Mewis, 8-Julie Ertz, 16-Rose Lavelle – 11-Christen Press, 10-Carli Lloyd, 7-Tobin Heath
USWNT Projected Substitutes: 18-Adrianna Franch-GK, 12-Tender Davidson, 14-Emily Sonnett, 19-Catarina Macario, 9-Lindsey Horan, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 13-Alex Morgan
USWNT is projected not to participate: 22-Jane Campbell-GK, 20-Casey Krueger, 6-Kristie Mewis, 21-Lynn Williams
New Zealand projected headlines (5-4-1, left to right): 1-Erin Nayler – 7-Ali Riley, 5-Meikayla Moore, 8-Abby Erceg, 3-Anna Green, 4-CJ Bott – 13-Paige Satchell, 15-Daisy Cleverley, 14-Katie Bowen, 2-Ria Percival – 17-Hannah Wilkinson
New Zealand projected substitutes: 18-Anna Leat-GK, 6-Claudia Bunge, 20-Marisa Van der Meer, 10-Annalie Longo, 12-Betsy Hassett, 11-Olivia Chance, 9-Gabbie Rennie
New Zealand is projected not to participate: 22-Victoria Esson-GK, 19-Elizabeth Anton, 16-Emma Rolston, 21-Michaela Robertson
USWNT vs. New Zealand: Odds and Prediction
There is only one prediction here. The reality today is that New Zealand will need a football miracle to beat or even tie the USWNT. The only question is how many goals the Americans will score.
The story is uneven: the USWNT is 15-1-1 all-time with the only loss in 1987 and the only draw in a friendly played in October 2013. The USWNT has won all five meetings since 2015. 19 goals and conceded only once.
Add in the USWNT’s need for a winning statement after the shocking loss to Sweden, coupled with the negative impact of pandemic restrictions on New Zealand’s preparations, and you have the recipe for an inflated score. The Americans could use the goals to address the goal difference situation, which may come into play in the final group match against Australia.
Although bettors seem to be expecting a three-goal difference in the match, a win by a four-goal margin is not far-fetched and there are several ways to play it in the odds market.
Prediction: United States 4, New Zealand 0
Fees courtesy of DraftKings
- New Zealand to win: +3000
- Draw: +1700
- USA to win: -2500
- Asian Handicap US -3: -115
- United States -3.25 Asian Handicap: +115
- USA -1.5 Asian Handicap 2nd half: -110
- Team USA Total Goals Over 3.5: -110