Olympics: Alyssa Naeher leads U.S. past the Netherlands in soccer quarterfinal

The United States' goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher, makes a save during a penalty kick against the Netherlands during the Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Friday. Photo courtesy of U.S. Women's National Team/Twitter
The United States' goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher, makes a save during a penalty kick against the Netherlands during the Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Friday. Photo courtesy of U.S. Women's National Team/Twitter

July 30 (UPI) -- Goalie Alyssa Naeher provided clutch saves in extra time and a penalty shootout to spark a win over the Netherlands and send the U.S. women's soccer team to the 2020 Summer Games semifinals Friday in Yokohama, Japan.

The Americans will battle Canada in the semifinals Monday at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium in Kashima, Japan. The game airs at 4 a.m. EDT Monday on USA.


Canada beat Brazil in another women's soccer quarterfinal, which also went to penalties, Friday at Miyagi Stadium in Rifu, Japan. Canada or the U.S. women will play Australia or Sweden in the 2020 Summer Games gold medal game Aug. 6 at Tokyo's Olympic Stadium.

Naeher denied the Netherlands of several chances late in regulation time, which ended in a 2-2 draw. She continued her blockade in extra time and saved two of the Netherlands' four penalty shot attempts.

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Forward Megan Rapinoe iced the victory when she made the Americans' final penalty kick.

Christen Press, Rose Lavelle and Alex Morgan converted on the Americans' first three attempts from the penalty spot. The game featured four offside calls that disallowed goals for the Americans.

Netherlands striker Vivianne Miedema scored twice in the loss. U.S. forward Lynn Williams registered a goal and an assist in the first half of the victory.

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The Netherlands outshot the Americans 21-16 and put seven shots on target. Naeher totaled five saves.

Miedema put the Netherlands ahead in the 18th minute of regulation. American defenders blocked several shots from the Netherlands during the sequence.

Miedema collected one of the deflections inside the box. She tapped the ball away from defenders, turned and ripped a right-footed shot just inside the left post past Naeher.

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Williams helped the U.S. women answer about 10 minutes later. She sent a cross in from the right side to spark the sequence.

The ball fell into left wing Sam Mewis, who ran into the box and flicked a diving header into the right side of the net to beat Netherlands keeper Sari van Veenedaal.

Williams struck again less than three minutes later. The Americans and the Netherlands headed a corner kick around the box a few times at the start of that play. The ball then fell into Williams in the middle of the box.

Williams let the ball bounce before she ripped a half-volley into the far-post netting. The Americans led 2-1 at halftime.


Miedema responded with an equalizer in the 54th minute. The star striker held off defenders as she dribbled at the top of the box. She then curled the ball back with her heel and ripped a 20-yard shot inside the left post to beat Naeher.

Naeher and van Veenedaal kept the game tied for the remainder of regulation.

Naeher saved Lieke Martens' penalty attempt in the 81st minute to deny the Netherlands of a late go-ahead score. She also took the ball off the foot of Netherlands winger Lineth Beerensteyn with an aggressive stop in the final 10 minutes of regulation.

Morgan and Press each found the net in extra time, but both goals were disallowed due to offside calls.

Naeher proceeded to save the first Netherlands attempt of the penalty session, taken by Miedema. Lavelle beat van Veenedaal on the next attempt to put the Americans ahead.

The Netherlands' Dominique Janssen beat Naeher on the third penalty attempt. Morgan answered with a shot into the bottom right corner. The Netherlands' Stefanie van der Gragt leveled the shootout with another shot into the net on the next attempt.

Press followed with the third successful penalty for the Americans. Naeher then saved Aniek Nouwen's attempt, to send Rapinoe to the penalty spot for the game-winner.


Rapinoe ran up to the line and ripped her shot into the upper right corner to beat van Veenedaal and send the U.S. women to the semifinals.

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