The United States women’s national team (USWNT) will be looking to secure top spot in Group G when they take on bottom-placed Colombia in their final first-stage encounter (6pm ET Tuesday).
Things have been rather straightforward for Team USA so far, with two wins from two sending them through to the quarter-finals with one match to spare. Jill Ellis’ (pictured) side got off to the perfect start with a 2-0 triumph over New Zealand, goals from Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan seeing off Tony Reading’s charges at the Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.
That win was followed up by another against France, with Lloyd’s 64th minute strike ultimately making the difference in a tight encounter on Saturday. USWNT will now have at least half an eye on the knockout stage of the competition as they seek to win their fifth gold medal in the women’s football section of the Games.
Colombia, on the other hand, are clinging to their place in the tournament after falling to successive defeats against France and New Zealand last week. The former ran out comfortable 4-0 winners in the sides’ first fixture in Brazil. The latter secured a potentially valuable 1-0 victory to move up to third place and give themselves an excellent chance of making it through to the last eight at the South American nation’s expense.
That defeat by New Zealand came as a major shock, with many having tipped Colombia as dark horses to claim gold and the Football Ferns widely expected to finish bottom of a tough Group G. Instead, it is the Colombians who face the prospect of going home early unless they can record a win against the favourites, the United States – and even that might not be enough.
Lindsey Horan, Ali Krieger, Christen Press, Megan Rapinoe and Alyssa Naeher could all be handed their first starts of the competition as Ellis looks to rest some key players ahead of the quarter-finals. Morgan, Ellis, Hope Solo, Becky Sauerbrunn and Julie Johnston are among those who could drop to the substitutes’ bench for the United States’ third and final Group G match.
Colombia, conversely, will field their strongest possible XI as they look to score their first goal and pick up their first points at the Games. Lady Andrade, the forward who plays her club football in the United States with Western New York Flash, will be essential to Felipe Taborda’s women’s chances of a surprise victory. Goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda will have to display her best form in between the sticks to keep the United States out.
Despite the fact that Team USA are already through and therefore may not be taking this encounter particularly seriously, they should still have enough about them to record a third successive victory at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus. They are around -909 odds with the USA sportsbooks to do just that.
Colombia will likely be somewhat dispirited after already losing twice in their first couple of outings. Although they will be determined to go out on a high even if they are to exit the competition this week as expected, they may lack the quality to overcome a United States side who are the best in the world at present.
So our preview believes that a 3-1 victory could therefore be the best betting pick for this match, with the United States likely to dominate even if they do rotate their starting line-up. This could be a high-scoring encounter because Colombia know that they will probably have to win heavily to stand any chance of progressing to the next round. Their opponents are excellent going forward and should take advantage if they are afforded significant space on the counter. So ‘over 3.5 goals to be scored’ is another prediction that is worth exploring.
- Total Goals Pick: Take over 3.5 goals to be scored @ best betting odds of +122 with BetOnline Sportsbook. This is the only offshore bookie with this market at time of writing.
- Correct Score Pick: USWNT to beat Colombia by the correct score margin of 3-1. The correct score betting is not yet priced up with the offshore sportsbooks, but likely Bovada, 5Dimes and BetOnline should all have this option nearer game time. We expect this to be around a 10/1 chance.