Perennially a juggernaut on the women’s soccer stage, the United States entered the Tokyo Olympics in uncharted territory. That’s because the last time this team walked off the field at an Olympics, it was walking away without a gold or silver medal.
In five trips prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics, Team USA took home four golds (1996, 2004, 2008, 2012) and one silver (2000). Disaster struck in 2016 when the U.S. fell to Sweden in the quarterfinals during penalty kicks.
Team USA got its first taste of revenge at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, when it defeated Sweden in the group stage and then won the final over the Netherlands.
Watch all the action from the Tokyo Olympics live on NBC
Back on the Olympic stage, Sweden once again beat the USWNT. With a dominant 3-0 win to open the group stage in Tokyo on Wednesday, Sweden showed it is a force to be reckoned with in the U.S. women's path to reclaiming gold.
Here’s everything you need to know for women’s soccer at the Tokyo Olympics:
What is the TV schedule for USWNT at the Tokyo Olympics?
All women’s soccer games at the Tokyo Olympics will be aired on NBC and NBC-affiliated channels, including NBCSN, the Olympic Channel and Peacock.
More information on how to watch the USWNT can be found on NBC’s full TV and live streaming schedule that includes 5,000-plus hours of Olympic coverage.
When does the U.S. women’s soccer team play?
Team USA was placed in Group G for the group stage matches, along with Australia, New Zealand and Sweden. Each team will play each other once with the top two teams automatically advancing to the knockout rounds. The remaining squads could still qualify for the knockout rounds depending on the final rankings.
Here’s the remaining group stage schedule for the U.S. women’s soccer team following its defeat against Sweden:
- USA vs. New Zealand -- Saturday, July 24 at 7:30 a.m. ET (Stream)
- USA vs. Australia -- Tuesday, July 27 at 4 a.m. ET (Stream)
Eight countries will advance to the knockout rounds after the group stage. The quarterfinals will be played on Friday, July 30, and the semifinals are set for Monday, Aug. 2. The bronze medal match begins at 4 a.m. ET on Thursday, Aug. 5, while the gold medal match will be played the same day at 10 p.m.
Who is competing in the Tokyo Olympics for USWNT?
There are a handful of familiar faces competing for Team USA in Tokyo. Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC) returns to the squad for her fourth Olympic appearance at the age of 38. Tobin Heath, 33, will also compete in her record-tying fourth Olympics.
Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit) and Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC) will all compete in their third Olympics after playing in 2012 and 2016.
Christen Press, Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC) and Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars) are set to compete in their second Olympics.
The final seven athletes will all compete in their first Olympics in Tokyo -- Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit) and Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC).
Head coach Vlatko Andonovski will lead the team in the Olympics after former coach Jill Ellis stepped down in 2019 following the World Cup victory tour.
Which teams are most likely to beat the USWNT in Tokyo?
The U.S. is currently ranked No. 1 in the FIFA World Ranking and entered the Olympics as the favorite to take home another gold. No. 2 Germany and No. 3 France both failed to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, despite Germany winning gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
No. 4 Netherlands and No. 5 Sweden both represent huge threats to Team USA. The Netherlands fell to the U.S. in the 2019 World Cup Final, 2-0, after winning its first six matches. Sweden defeated the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics before losing to Germany in the gold medal match, 2-1. The Swedes also placed third at the 2019 World Cup.
Some of the other best players in the world will also compete in Tokyo, including Australia’s Sam Kerr, Great Britain’s Lucy Bronze and Brazil’s Debinha.
The U.S. must take each and every opponent seriously if it hopes to avoid another Olympic heartbreak.