Alex Morgan says knockout stage is when Olympics really start for USWNT

(Francois Nel/Getty Images)

After the USWNT qualified for the knockout stage with a 0-0 draw with Australia on Tuesday, forward Alex Morgan talked about the team’s tactical strategy in the final group stage game.

While Australia out-possessed and outshot the USWNT in the game, Morgan said goal prevention was part of their plan as they looked ahead to the quarterfinals.

“This (knockout stage) is when the tournament starts,” Morgan said at a news conference after the game. “It was a tactical decision by (coach Vlatko Andonovski) to shift defensively, a little more conservatively, and really allow them to get impatient, play along and give it back to us.

“Eventually, I feel like both teams kind of sat in, and it became a matter of playing a professional game and moving on. It’s seeing how Vlatko wants us to set up against that (next) team. Tactically we had a little shift this game, we’re experienced enough and professional enough to be able to do so and face a team in a way that puts us on top and really plays to our strengths.”

The U.S. will face Vivianne Miedema and the Netherlands on Friday. The two teams previously met in the 2019 World Cup final, which the USWNT won 2-0.