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Players of the U.S. team react during the penalty shoot out during the quarterfinal game agsint the Netherlands. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The U.S. women's national soccer team boasts back-to-back World Cup champion status, has ranked first or second in the world every year since 2003 and until its Olympic opener against Sweden, had not lost a game in 44 matches.

The big picture: But after a disappointing performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where the women failed to reach the gold medal game for the first time in history, the team was looking for redemption on the Olympic stage in Tokyo. Their hopes were dashed on Monday, however, when they lost to Canada in the semifinals.

  • The loss also crushes the team's chances at a historic back-to-back double — winning the Olympics after emerging victorious at the Women's World Cup.
What happened:
  • Group stage:
    • July 21 - Sweden defeated USA, 3-0
    • July 24 - USA overwhelmed New Zealand, 6-1
    • July 27 - USA tied Australia, 0-0, securing them a spot in the quarterfinals.
  • Quarterfinals - USA beat the Netherlands in a penalty kick shootout on July 30.
    • After 90 minutes of stoppage time and two 15-minute halves of overtime, the U.S. won the penalty kick shootout 4-2.
  • Semifinals - USA lost 1-0 to Canada on Aug. 2.
  • Medal matches - Aug. 5
    • The U.S. will play Australia for the bronze medal on Thursday at 4 a.m. ET
Who to watch:

An 18-player team of predominantly WNT veterans — 17 played on the 2019 World Cup squad — will vie for a medal in Japan. Some familiar faces include:

  • Alex Morgan, who has scored 110 goals in 180 international game, is one of the most prolific strikers in women's soccer history.
    • The 32-year-old, who gave birth in May 2020, scored the game-winning goal in the final seconds of extra time in a nail-biting semifinal against Canada at the 2012 London Games.
  • Carli Lloyd will play in her fourth Olympic Games at age 39, making her the oldest player the U.S. women's national team has ever sent to the Olympics.
    • Lloyd was named the best women's player in the world twice by FIFA and is one of three players — male or female — to appear in 3oo or more international matches, per NPR.
  • Megan Rapinoe, 35, who scored the game-winning goal in the 2019 World Cup final, will become a three-time Olympian this summer.
    • Former co-captain of the team and winner of the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards in 2019, Rapinoe is active off the pitch as an outspoken advocate for pay equity and the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • Check out the full U.S. WNT roster here.
Olympic medals...
  • 🥇- 1996 Atlanta Games
  • 🥈- 2000 Sydney Games
  • 🥇- 2004 Athens Games
  • 🥇- 2008 Beijing Games
  • 🥇- 2012 London Games
Go deeper:

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Go deeper

John Frank, author of Denver
Nov 8, 2021 - Axios Denver

Colorado Rapids win first regular-season conference title

Dominique Badji of the Colorado Rapids scored a goal Sunday. Photo: Timothy Nwachukwu/Getty Images

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Driving the news: Over 85 new models are slated to launch in model years 2022-2025 (calendar 2021-2024), they said in a note that says a "tsunami" of new cars are coming.

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