Olympic Schedule Highlights for Thursday: Gold Medal Match: USA women vs. Japan

By Jim Donahue

It’s a rematch of last summer’s World Cup final when Japan, who won the match, and the United States face off for the gold medal on Thursday night at London’s famed Wembley Stadium. The United States is a -107 favorite.

Japan beat France 2-1 and the United States defeated Canada 4-3 in extra time in their semifinal matches. Japan opened a two-goal lead against France and then held on for the victory, surviving a missed penalty kick by the French in the final minutes.

The U.S. came from behind three times to send the match against Canada into extra time, then got an injury-time winner from Alex Morgan to advance. She headed the ball into the net after a cross by Heather O’Reilly as time was about to expire, putting the U.S. in the gold medal match for the fifth straight time.

Morgan had not scored since her two-goal performance in the USA’s 4-2 victory against France in the Group G opener on July 25. O’Reilly had entered the game in 101st minute for Lauren Cheney and picked up her first assist of the 2012 Olympics. Megan Rapinoe scored in the 54th and 70th minutes for the USA, and Abby Wambach converted the penalty kick in the 80th for the U.S. Canada’s Christine Sinclair, who had a hat trick vs. the Americans, and Wambach are now tied for second all-time with 143 international goals apiece, both chasing Mia Hamm’s world record of 158.

Morgan has a team-high 20 goals this year, moving into a tie for fourth place on the all-time list for goals during a calendar year with Hamm (1998), Kristine Lilly (1999) and Wambach (2007), who all had 20 goals in their respective campaigns.

The USA has won gold in three out of the four Olympic women’s soccer tournaments that have been contested previously while also taking a silver medal in 2000. The USA had two different leads in the World Cup final last year but Japan eventually triumphed in the penalty kick shootout. The Japanese will try to become the first team to win the Women’s World Cup and Olympic crown in back-to-back years.

Athletics (all times London)

At Olympic Stadium

Men’s 4×400 Relay round 1, Decathlon: 110 hurdles, discus, pole vault; Women’s High Jump qualifying, 9 a.m.

Men’s 200 final, 800 final, Triple Jump final, Decathlon: javelin, 1500 (medal); Women’s 800 semifinals, 4×100 Relay round 1, Javelin final, 6:30 p.m.

Basketball

At North Greenwich Arena

Women

Semifinal, 5 p.m.

Semifinal, 9 p.m.

Beach Volleyball

At Horse Guards Parade

Men’s bronze and gold medal matches, 7 p.m.

Boxing

At ExCeL

Women’s Flyweight (51kg); Women’s Lightweight (60kg) and Women’s Middleweight (75kg) finals, 4:30 p.m.

Canoe (Sprint)

At Eton Dorney, Buckinghamshire

Men’s Canoe Double 1000 final; Men’s Kayak Four 1000 final; Women’s Kayak Single 500 final; Women’s Kayak Double 500 final, 9:30 a.m.

Cycling (BMX)

At BMX Olympic Park

Men’s quarterfinals, 3 p.m.

Diving

At Olympic Park-Aquatics Centre

Women’s 10-Meter Platform semifinal, 11:30 a.m.

Women’s 10-Meter Platform final, 7 p.m.

Equestrian (Dressage)

At Greenwich Park

Individual Dressage: grand prix freestyle, (medal), 12:30 p.m.

Field Hockey

Men

At Olympic Park-Hockey Centre

Classification (9th-10th places), 8:30 a.m.

Classification (7th-8th places), 11:30 a.m.

Semifinal, 3:30 p.m.

Gymnastics

At Rhythmic Wembley Arena

Women’s Individual All-Around qualification, rotations 1 & 2 Women’s Group All-Around qualification, rotation 1, Noon

Sailing

At Weymouth and Portland, Dorset

Men’s 470 (medal race); Women’s Elliott 6m, Noon

Soccer

Women

At City of Coventry Stadium

Bronze medal match: Canada vs. France, 1 p.m.

At Wembley Stadium

Gold medal match: USA vs. Japan, 7:45 p.m.

Swimming

At Hyde Park

Women’s Marathon 10km, Noon

Synchronized Swimming

At Olympic Park-Aquatics Centre

Women’s Teams technical routine, 3 p.m.

Taekwondo

At ExCeL

Men’s -68kg and Women’s -57kg preliminary round of 16, 9 a.m.

Men’s -68kg and Women’s -57kg quarterfinals, semifinals, 3 p.m.

Men’s -68kg and Women’s -57kg repechages, bronze medal contests, gold medal, 8 p.m.

Team Handball

Women

At Copper Box

Semifinal, 5 p.m.

Semifinal, 8:30 p.m.

Volleyball

Women

At Earls Court

Semifinal, 3 p.m.

Semifinal, 7:30 p.m.

Water Polo

Women

At Olympic Park-Water Polo Arena

Classification match (7th-8th places), 2:30 p.m.

Classification matches (5th-6th places), 3:50 p.m.

Bronze medal match, 6:40 p.m.

Gold medal match, 8 p.m.

Wrestling (Freestyle)

At ExCeL

Women’s 55kg and 72kg qualifications, 1/8 finals, quarterfinals, semifinals, 1 p.m.

Women’s 55kg and 72kg repechage rounds, bronze and gold medal contests, 5:45 p.m.

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