USWNT hammered by Sweden in Tokyo 2020 opener


Stina Blackstenius’ brace and Lina Hurtig’s beating header gave Sweden a deserved victory, with the United States appearing to be the shadow of the squad that won the World Cup two years ago.

Sweden were hands down the best team from the first whistle to the last and the USWNT, who entered these Olympics as a big favorite, have a lot to improve in the coming games against New Zealand and Australia. ‘he wants to win a fifth gold medal. .

This historic result for Sweden will give the team confidence that they can do better than Rio 2016, where they fell to Germany in the final hurdle of the gold medal match.

For the United States, the loss ends a 44-game unbeaten streak – 40 wins and four draws – that stretched back to January 2019 when they lost 3-1 to France in a friendly match.

Glittering Swedish

Sweden got the better of the United States the last time the two sides met on the Olympic stage, winning the lead after a quarter-final penalty shootout five years ago in Brazil.

Becky Sauerbrunn told The Guardian the loss was “one of the worst results the senior national team have had in a major tournament,” saying it provided additional motivation for the winning 2019 World Cup campaign and these Olympics.

However, there weren’t many signs of that motivation during the game’s opening trade at Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium – before both sides knelt in the empty arena – as Sweden exerted their dominance. from the opening whistle.

The Swedes quickly scored the goal their first game deserved as Sofia Jakobsson’s whipped cross was brilliantly pushed back by Blackstenius at the near post after 25 minutes.

Stina Blackstenius opens the scoring for Sweden with a smart header.

The United States had barely managed to get out of their own half in those opening 45 minutes, let alone gain a foothold in the game, with Sweden enjoying over 60 percent of possession.

Blackstenius had a wonderful opportunity to double Sweden’s lead just before the break, brilliantly controlling a long pass to his chest but contenting himself with putting the ball under his feet to allow USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to come out and out. stifle the opportunity.

However, given the extent of the USA team’s talent, it was still unlikely that Sweden could contain their opponents for the entire half-time. It was Rose Lavelle who had the chance to equalize, but her head from a long ball in the box crashed against the outside of the post.

That this was the reigning world champion’s only real chance to score in the first half was testament to Sweden’s superiority, with the yellow jerseys invading American players in midfield and not allowing them a moment to relax on the ball.

The only downside from Sweden’s point of view was that they only managed to open up a one-goal lead – would the team regret this lavishness in front of goal?

The American players seem puzzled after conceding the second.

USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski made two substitutions early in the second half, with highly experienced Carli Lloyd and Julie Ertz replacing Alex Morgan and Samantha Mewis.

Ertz seemed to immediately breathe new life into the USA team, but just when it looked like the momentum of the game was changing, Sweden doubled their advantage.

Blackstenius this time picked up the leftovers at the far post after a Swedish corner caused chaos in the American box and pushed the ball past Naeher into the roof of the net.

From there it only got worse for the American team.

After substitute Megan Rapinoe hit the post when maybe she should have scored, Sweden put an exclamation mark next to her performance as Hurtig soared high in the box to go home after the cross by Hanna Glas.

Stina Blackstenius started her dream Olympics with a brace.

The camera cut across the American bench where a puzzled Andonovsky sat helplessly on the bench.

He now has a lot to think about ahead of the next tough games against New Zealand and Australia if the United States is to avoid a premature exit.

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