The Matildas and USA have played out a lacklustre 0-0 draw to finish off their group stage, with the shared points looking enough to see the Aussies through to the quarterfinals.
An engaging first half that saw the Aussies pressuring the Americans’ box – coupled with a VAR dram – gave way in the second period, with neither side prepared to risk a loss.
A point each was enough to see USA through and likely Australia (who will await the results of the remaining games tonight), with the players, coaches and fans in attendance at Saitama Stadium all aware of the unfolding scenario.
Result aside, the Matildas will need to be in much tighter nick in the knockout stage if they want to make a deep run in Tokyo.
A glaring lack of midfield saw the Australians frequently lofting the ball upfield from defence, seemingly relying on errors from their opponents to attack. And despite getting plenty of ball into the Americans’ box, the Matildas consistently lacked execution, leading to a breakdown in the final third.
USA by contrast looked far more direct on their forays down the field. While they didn’t own the glut of possession, they still managed to give the Aussies a big scare after having a goal overturned under rather contentious circumstances by the VAR.
The Matildas are likely to advance as the third-place finisher in the group, but they have to wait until the end of play on Tuesday to determine their spot.
With 12 teams competing in the tournament, the top two finishers in each of the three groups advance to the knockout stage, along with the top two third-place finishers.
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!