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USA, Netherlands meet in quarterfinal in 2019 World Cup final rematch

USA, Netherlands meet in quarterfinal in 2019 World Cup final rematch
Posted at 12:04 AM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 04:10:31-04

Two years ago, the United States and Netherlands met in the World Cup final in France. Today, they cross paths again in the Olympic quarterfinals.

While some things about the sides are the same - the star power is there and both nations are still among the elite - there's plenty that's changed since the two fought for the most prized trophy in international soccer.

Before tuning into the match at 8:00 p.m. local (7:00 a.m. EST), have a look at how this battle differs from the one in Lyon that saw the Americans lift the World Cup trophy.

NEW FACES

In terms of roster turnover, the squads that the United States and Netherlands have brought to Tokyo are actually quite similar to those of the World Cup final. But there are some changes to how the squads are composed, and the biggest change may be one that doesn't even play.

The figure leading the United States out of the tunnel will be Vlatko Andonovski, who took over as head coach four months after the Americans conquered the world with Jill Ellis in charge. Andonovski has been nearly perfect in his stint with the national team so far - he's won 23 of his 25 matches in charge and his only loss was the 3-0 defeat to Sweden on Matchday 1.

The Dutch team is largely the same from the 2019 World Cup but contains one major addition in the form of promising young centre back Aniek Nouwen. Nouwen, who signed for 2020/21 WSL winners Chelsea back in May, is regarded as one of the best young defenders in Europe. She's been a mainstay in this Dutch defense all tournament long, playing 266 of a possible 270 minutes in the group stage.

CHANGING OF THE GUARD

When the United States and Netherlands took the pitch in Lyon in 2019, eventual Ballon d'Or winner Megan Rapinoe and transcendent striker Alex Morgan were at the peaks of their powers. This time around, the best player on the pitch will be wearing orange.

The Netherlands' Vivianne Miedema has developed into arguably the best player on the entire planet in the 24 months since her nation lost to the U.S. in the World Cup final. The Arsenal forward has scored 81 goals from 99 international caps, was crowned the PFA Women's Player's Player of the Year in 2018/19, and is a two-time WSL Golden Boot winner.

Oh, and she's scored eight goals at this tournament already. Eight. That's one every 22 minutes.

SEE MORE: Netherlands' Miedema pulls hat trick goal against Zambia

USA LOOK HUMAN

There's one word that we haven't used to describe the United States in a while... vulnerable.

The Americans were stunned by Sweden in a 3-0 loss on Matchday 1 - their first loss in 45 matches - and they could only afford a scoreless draw on the final matchday against Australia.

Sandwiched between those two results is a dominant 6-1 win against New Zealand, but compared to the U.S.' world-beating form from the summer of 2019, the Netherlands may smell blood in the water.

AMERICAN REDEMPTION TOUR

Five years ago in Rio, the United States were eliminated by Sweden in the quarterfinal via penalty shootout. We've heard time and time again that the squad never want to relive those emotions.

That's a stark contrast from the World Cup final in 2019, when the Americans were defending world champions.

Some say after a team wins a trophy, the desire to win it again drops. Nobody really knows if that's true, but what's definitely true is that when a team gets upset in the early stages of a tournament, the hunger to win it the next time around builds. A lot.

That's added motivation for the top-ranked team in the world. The Netherlands didn't face that in 2019. This time, they will.

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