Injury Forces Alyssa Naeher Out of USWNT Bronze Medal Match at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 08/03/2021, 2:27 PM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Soccer Football – Women – Semifinal – United States v Canada – Ibaraki Kashima Stadium, Ibaraki, Japan – August 2, 2021. Alyssa Naeher of the United States reacts after sustaining an injury REUTERS/Henry Romero


Women’s football at the Tokyo Olympics witnessed its biggest shock in the semifinals this week. Entering as a favorite, USA saw themselves lose in the semifinals to Canada by a narrow 1-0 margin. However, many consider an injury to their star goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher as the turning point of the match.

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The 33-year-old suffered a knee injury which forced her off the field after just 20 minutes of play. Ahead of their bronze medal match against Australia, they did not receive the update they hoped for on Naeher’s fitness.

Alyssa Naeher ruled out of USA’s bronze medal match against Australia in the Tokyo Olympics

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Many consider Naeher as one of the best goalkeepers to step foot in women’s football. Since she made her international debut in 2014, she stacked several clean sheets in various competitions.

Although USA suffered a shock 3-0 loss to Sweden in their opening match at the Games, they recovered to make the knockout stages. Naeher played a part in their recovery, conceding just three goals in three matches after that defeat. While she started the semifinal against Canada, disaster struck in the 20th minute.

As a cross came in, Naeher went to collect the ball to dissolve Canada’s attack. However, she landed awkwardly on the ground, which left her in tears. This forced USA to switch her for backup goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, who couldn’t stop Jessie Fleming’s penalty putting USA 1-0 behind in the 74th minute.

While that result sent them to the bronze medal match, the team issued a statement admitting the injury to Naeher’s knee ruled her out of the crucial game.

The statement read“Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher will not be available for the bronze medal match after suffering a hyperextension of her right knee and a bone contusion in Monday’s semifinal.”

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Can USA secure a medal despite Naeher’s absence?

There’s no doubt that Naeher gives USA’s defense a more secure feeling. Hence, her absence in goal during their bronze medal match against Australia will not go unnoticed.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Soccer Football – Women – Semifinal – United States v Canada – Ibaraki Kashima Stadium, Ibaraki, Japan – August 2, 2021. Alyssa Naeher of the United States receives medical attention after sustaining an injury REUTERS/Henry Romero

However, the USA still look favorites against Australia. With stars like Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, the Americans will rely on their star power up front to salvage their tournament with a bronze medal. The bronze medal match will take place on Thursday, August 5 at 5:00pm local time.

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WATCH STORY: US Women Football Team’s Dominance at Summer Olympics

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Sanket Nair

623 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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