Ah the simple joy of only having to watch one match a day and it being on at a respectable time, it’s certainly not as if I woke up at 8:48am in a slight panic, ahem. So, the bronze medal match…
Typical innit, just when you’ve gotten used to the USA being a bit rubbish, they show up with their best football of the Olympics and it’s of course, it’s at the same time that it looks like the tournament had finally caught up with the Aussies.
Credit to the Matildas in their first ever major tournament final, they took the fight right to the USA and tried to bag an early goal, or as it could be called, “Giving them the ol’ g’day treatment.” Unfortunately for the Tillies, their early pressure did not tell and after Micah had tipped over a cracking effort from Press, the US took the lead at the resulting corner. Just as she had against Canada in 2012, it was Pinoe with an Olimpico at an Olympics, which is, quite frankly, dank.
The goal, true to all Olimpicos properly mugged off Micah and forced Australia out of their composed state, and lads, for as wonky as the US have looked, damn if that goal didn’t give them a reason to puff out their chests and just like Pink in 2001, they were finally ready to get the party started. But just when you’re thinking the Aussies were as cooked as a prawn on an outdoor grill, Kerr picked up Foord’s throughy to sneak the ball in at Franch’s near post. One shot, one kill stuff.
In a tournament of bad defending, the match was a long way from done and a bizarre moment when Alanna Kennedy woofed the ball from one side of the box to the other, or, directly *to* Pinoe brought about a right stunner. The American said thanks in the most imperious of fashions when she NO LOOK VOLLEY’d the ball just under the bar, or as we in the bizz’ would say: FILTH.
Heading into the break at just 2-1 down, the Tillies were still well in the game which is why the timing of Carli Lloyd’s goal – 45+1 (!) – must have felt similar to being roundhouse kicked in the chops by a kangaroo. Needing to find multiple goals, the Aussies pushed up and left themselves shorthanded at the back and then… oh god, look away, just, oh, not Kennedy again, that is unfortunate. A miss-timed header as she was scrapping with Lloyd gave the American veteran something to latch onto and fire between Micah’s legs. But of course, Australia weren’t deterred and a jumping header from Foord brought the difference right back to two.
It took the Aussies just two minutes to fashion their next gilt-edged chance when another ball from the right was swept into the box with Kerr only able to head it against the post. Time ticked away for the Matildas, two goals a massive ask but just as hopes were fading Emily Gielnik popped up with her own nasty goal when she let rip from over 20-yards. But it was already the 90th minute and the team in their first major medal match ran out of time.
In some respects, I wanted Australia to win (an unlikely medallist, a team battling against the odds, a more consistent side in Japan, etc) but in others, I just didn’t want the US to medal wearing those horrible blue and red kits. But as my mate Mick used to say, you can’t always get what you want, and those damn dizzy kits picked up bronze.
Follow Soph on Twitter: @lawson_sv