TOKYO: Megan Rapinoe scored direct from a corner as the United States won the Olympics women’s football bronze medal in a 4-3 win over Australia in Kashima.
The Americans, World Cup winners in 2019, had gone into the Tokyo Games as heavy favourites for gold but after some underwhelming displays were beaten by Canada in the semi-finals.
For spells against the Australians, seeking their first medal in the sport, the old swagger of the U.S. team was back with two of their veterans, in what could well be their final appearance in a major tournament, offering a reminder of their quality.
Rapinoe fired the U.S. ahead in the eighth minute direct from a corner and Sam Kerr levelled for Australia in the 17th minute, her 48th goal for the Matildas making her their all-time top scorer.
Captain Rapinoe restored the Americans’ advantage with a fine volley after a woeful attempted clearance from Alanna Kennedy looped across the box to the grateful forward.
The 39-year-old Carli Lloyd produced a clinical finish to make it 3-1 just before the break, collecting a pass from Lindsey Horan and burying it, first time, into the far corner.
Another defensive error from Kennedy, this time a weak head back towards her keeper, gifted Lloyd her second which she slipped between Micah’s legs to make it 4-1 in the 51st minute.
Three minutes later though, a Caitlin Foord header from a Kyah Simon cross brought Australia back into the match and Kerr then hit the post with a fine, glancing header.
But the Americans held firm until Aussie substitute Emily Gielnik added a third with a long-range effort in the 90th minute.
Sweden and Canada meet in the gold medal game on Friday.