The United States Women’s National Team’s quest for a fifth Olympic gold medal is not off to a good start.
Stina Blackstenius’ two goals helped Sweden lead the United States in their group opener in Tokyo, where the reigning Women’s World Cup champions have always been behind.
Sweden, who knocked the United States out of the 2016 Olympics in Brazil in the quarterfinals, came out aggressively and insisted relentlessly on destabilizing the United States. Sofia Jakobsson cross in the 25th minute. It was Blackstenius who scored against USA in those 2016 Games in a 1-1 draw that was settled by penalties.
Rose Lavelle managed to hit the post with a header just before half-time after a precise delivery to the back of Kelley O’Hara, but it was as close to scoring as the United States in the first half. In total, Sweden dominated the United States 10-3 (6-1 shots on goal) and scored seven corners against that of the United States in the first 45 minutes.
Sweden doubled their lead in the 54th minute, with Blackstenius scoring their second. A header on a corner came out of the post, but the forward was not marked by that same post and calmly beat Naeher at close range, with a VAR review confirming the goal and showing she was not out. -Game.
The United States has had a few opportunities to pull one off. Carli Lloyd, half-time substitute with Julie Ertz (substituting Alex Morgan and Sam Mewis), broke free on the right and was chosen by Lavelle. His low curling attempt, however, was deflected and pushed back for a corner.
After another substitute, Megan Rapinoe, arrived, Christen Press hit the post with her chance in the 70th minute.
Things changed drastically in Sweden’s favor a few minutes later. Lina Hurtig, who scored against the United States in April, led the Swedes to third place on a cross from Hanna Glas, making the score 3-0 and ending the game.
The game seriously jeopardizes the United States’ unbeaten streak. The United States did not lose under Vlatko Andonovsky, and their unbeaten Wednesday ended in 44 matches, dating back to a friendly defeat in January 2019 against France.
Sweden had come as close as anyone to ending that streak in April, tying the United States 1-1 after a late penalty gave Megan Rapinoe the chance to secure the draw.
The United States will face New Zealand on July 24 and Australia on July 27 to conclude the group game in Japan. The top two from each of the three groups advance to the knockout stage, while the top two thirds also advance.
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