Team USA and Australia played out to a stagnant goalless draw in their last group stage game of the Tokyo Olympics women's football tournament on Wednesday. The result sees both teams advance to the knockout stages as they eye a place on the medal podium.
The two sides finish the group on four points, with the US taking second place on goal difference after thumping New Zealand 6-1 in their previous game.
An early chance came for the USA when Alex Morgan broke through on goal with two Australian defenders in pursuit. Morgan was unable to shake off her pursuers and was forced to pull the trigger early, failing to trouble Matildas keeper Teagan Micah.
At the 33-minute mark, Morgan was to be denied again, this time by VAR. Kelley O'Hara swung in a corner which Morgan soundly headed home. The flag went up and the referee ruled the goal as offside. The decision was routinely checked by VAR, which subsequently upheld the original call.
The first half came to a close with Australia seeing slightly more of the ball with 60% possession. Both sides lacked urgency and seemed content on preserving themselves for the knockout stages with just a three-day turnaround.
The second half also passed with very few chances for either side. However, Australia were able to impose themselves more on the world champions, who seemed to be somewhat void of goal-scoring ideas on the night.
With the quarter-finals in mind, both sides began to substitute key players from early on. Megan Rapinoe made way for Lindsay Horan at the 65-minute mark with Lynn Williams and Christen Press replacing Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan shortly after.
In the final moments of the game, Australia seemed content in passing the ball along the backline and keeping possession. Tony Gustavsson's side are looking much improved since their surprise loss to hosts Japan in a warmup match earlier this month and seem to have rediscovered their form.
Team USA, however, are looking somewhat disjointed and a far cry from the side that won the 2019 World Cup in France.