When and where: The Olympic quarterfinal match kicks-off from St James' Park, Newcastle, at 9.30 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the NBC Sports Network, with a live stream available on NBCOlympics.com.
Preview: With a quarterfinal spot already guaranteed, the U.S. women's soccer team continued their 100 percent record at the Olympics as they cruised to a 1-0 win against North Korea last time out. Abby Wambach scored game's lone goal in the 25th minute, and the veteran forward has scored a goal in each game thus far.
On Friday, the U.S. faces New Zealand, who, in contrast, made the quarterfinals by the slimmest of margins. After suffering two 1-0 losses to Great Britain and Brazil, the Kiwis got a crucial 3-1 victory over Cameroon on Tuesday.
The U.S. will start as a heavy favorite to progress through to the semifinals and a chance to compete for medals but, despite less than inspiring results in the group stages, New Zealand are capable of providing strong resistance.
In their opening game against Great Britain, New Zealand had much of the play in the first half, before allowing a goal in the 64th minute. Against powerhouse Brazil, the Kiwis defended stoically for much of the contest until Brazil grabbed the only goal four minutes from time. New Zealand was finally able to pick up their first points with decisive victory over a weak team Cameroonian side.
Although she has not scored yet at these Games, forward Amber Hearn is one of the more experienced players on the New Zealand squad and has a fine goal-scoring record, finding the net at the Olympics in Beijing as well as last year's World Cup. She will be the greatest threat to the U.S. backline along with forward Sarah Gregorius.
Unlike previous U.S. opponents, Colombia and North Korea, the New Zealand squad boasts several physically imposing defenders, including captain Rebecca Smith. This will give veteran U.S. forward Wambach fewer opportunities to impose her impressive physical and aerial play, though she will likely remain a key figure in the game.
It is the speedy Alex Morgan that could pose the biggest threat to New Zealand's backline, however. The 23-year-old has been on fire all year and looked a constant menace in the United States' last match against North Korea. If she or anyone on the U.S squad is able to score early in the game, New Zealand's Olympic lifeline will be cut short very quickly, as the Kiwis will be forced to push forward and divert from their counter-attack style.
Prediction: New Zealand's squad is relatively inexperienced and has struggled to capitalize on their limited scoring opportunities so far at these Olympics. Given the U.S.'s improving backline, the gold medal favorites will likely be able to shutout their opponents.
Going forward the U.S. boasts an efficient midfield and perfect blend of skills in attack, making it difficult to see that New Zealand has any chance of causing what would be a momentous upset.