Tokyo Olympics USA vs New Zealand: Everything You Need to Know About USWNT’s Next Opponent


The United States Women’s National Team didn’t exactly get the start they wanted. After their superb 3-0 loss to Sweden, they will have to regroup quickly and stabilize the ship. For their second game of the Olympics, the US team will face New Zealand on July 24 at Tokyo Stadium in Japan. Let’s take a closer look at which team many believe will cause the USWNT the most trouble during the Tokyo games.

Who is New Zealand?

The Football Ferns are making their fourth consecutive appearance at the Olympics and have already secured a spot for the 2023 World Cup as co-host of the world event with Australia.

The team is led by head coach Tom Sermanni, who is now in his fourth year with the Football Ferns after being hired in October 2018. Sermanni is familiar with American football systems after coaching the USWNT in January 2014 to April 2014 before being made redundant. Under his brief tenure as head coach, six players from the 2020 United States Olympic roster made their senior national team debuts – Julie Ertz, Kristie Mewis, Christen Press, Crystal Dunn, Lindsey Horan and Samantha Mewis . Sermanni also coached in the National Women’s Football League as head coach of Orlando Pride from 2016 to 2018.

The team haven’t had much time together over the past 18 months in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the team have just lost 2-1 in their Group G opener against its Pacific rivals, Australia.

Record against USWNT

The United States have played 17 times against New Zealand in total, including three games at the Olympics, and they lead the all-time series, 15-1-1 and have won the previous three games at the Olympics, beating the Football Ferns by an overall margin of 8-0.

This next match will make New Zealand the fourth different team the USWNT have faced four times at the Olympics, joining Brazil, Japan and Norway. The USWNT and New Zealand last met in 2019 in a series of USWNT World Cup starters, with the United States defeating the Ferns 5-0.

“I think New Zealand’s challenges are [that] they’re going to be very structured, very organized, “USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski said of New Zealand at a press conference.

“They change what they do in the game… when we saw that in the last game they step up their pressure and put the pressure on. Sometimes they defend the center block in 5-4-1 and sometimes they fall even more. low and playing in low blocks. So for us, properly recognizing all these moments and positions, being able to solve those challenges will be crucial. “

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Players to watch

The American public will know the New Zealand players who play in the NWSL. Defenders Abby Erceg (North Carolina Courage), Ali Riley (Orlando Pride) and midfielder Katie Bowen (Kansas City NWSL) all play for a club in the United States.

Erceg is a three-time NWSL champion, winning the 2016 title with the Western New York Flash and back-to-back championships in 2018 and 2019 with North Carolina. USWNT players Samantha Mewis and Lynn Williams are currently her teammates in North Carolina and they have all played with Crystal Dunn in both championship races in North Carolina.

Riley, currently plays alongside Alex Morgan for Orlando Pride and was a college teammate with Kelley O’Hara and Christen Press at Stanford University. Bowen is currently in her fifth season in the NWSL and previously played with Kelley O’Hara, Christen Press and Becky Sauerbrunn while she was a member of Utah Royals FC. She also won an NCAA Championship in 2012 with Dunn while playing for the University of North Carolina.

Several other players on the New Zealand roster have spent time in the US college system, including Hannah Wilkinson who had a remarkable career at the University of Tennessee before pursuing a professional career in Europe. Betsy Hassett was a teammate with Alex Morgan at the University of California at Berkeley. Gabi Rennie is currently in his second season at Indiana University, and Daisy Cleverley was named 2021 BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year with Georgetown University.

New Zealand Olympic Women’s Football Full List

Goalkeepers: 22-Victoria Esson (Avaldsnes IL, NOR), 18-Anna Leat (East Coast Bays AFC), 1-Erin Nayler (No ties)

Defender: 19-Elizabeth Anton (unattached), 8-CJ Bott (Vålerenga IF, NOR), 8-Claudia Bunge (Melbourne Victory, AUS), 8-Abby Erceg (North Carolina Courage, USA), 3-Anna Green (Lower Hutt City AFC), 5-Meikayla Moore (Liverpool, ANG), 7-Ali Riley (Orlando Pride, United States), 20-Marisa van der Meer (Unattached)

Midfielder : 14-Katie Bowen (Kansas City, USA), 15-Daisy Cleverley (Georgetown University, USA), 12-Betsy Hassett (UMF Stjarnan, ISL), 10-Annalie Longo (Melbourne Victory, AUS), 2-Ria Percival (Tottenham Hotspur, ANG), 16-Emma Rolston (Arna-Bjornar, NOR)

Forward: 11-Olivia Chance (Brisbane Roar FC, AUS), 9-Gabi Rennie (Indiana University, United States), 21-Michaela Robertston (Lower Hutt City AFC), 13-Paige Satchell (unattached), 17-Hannah Wilkinson ( without tie)

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