Stena Blackstein’s double and Lena Hurtig’s crushing header gave Sweden a deserved victory, as america solid a shadow over the group that received the World Cup two years in the past.
Sweden was undoubtedly the higher group from begin to end and the USA, who got here to those Olympics as a powerful candidate, have a whole lot of issues to enhance within the upcoming matches in opposition to New Zealand and Australia if they’re to win a fifth gold medal.
This historic end result for Sweden will give the group confidence that they’ll go higher than Rio 2016, as they fell to Germany within the closing hurdle within the gold-medal match.
For america, the defeat ends 44 video games unbeaten – 40 wins and 4 attracts – that ran via January 2019 after they misplaced to France 3-1 in a pleasant match.
Sweden overtook america the final time these two groups met on the Olympic stage, they got here out on high after a penalty shootout within the quarter-finals 5 years in the past in Brazil.
Nevertheless, there was not a lot proof of that impulse in the course of the match’s opening exchanges at Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium – with each groups having beforehand hit a knee within the empty area – as Sweden established their dominance for the reason that opening whistle.
The Swedes rapidly scored the purpose they deserved early as Sofia Jakobsson’s cross was brilliantly caught by Blacksteinius on the close to put up after 25 minutes.
The US barely managed to interrupt out of their very own half in these opening 45 minutes, not to mention achieve any type of foothold within the recreation, with Sweden with greater than 60% of possession.
Blacksteinius had a unbelievable alternative to double Sweden’s lead simply earlier than the break, masterfully controlling a protracted cross to her chest however merely hanging the ball below her toes to let USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naher out and weaken the chance.
Nevertheless, given the extent of expertise within the American group, it was at all times unlikely that Sweden would be capable to comprise their opponents in the complete half. It was Rose Lavelle who had the prospect to equalize, however her header from a protracted ball contained in the penalty space hit the put up from exterior.
The world champion’s solely actual probability within the first half was a testomony to Sweden’s supremacy, the yellow jerseys crowding the US gamers into midfield and never permitting them a second to chill out on the ball.
The one destructive from Sweden’s viewpoint is that they solely managed to open a one-goal lead – will the group remorse this waste in entrance of purpose?
USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovsky made two substitutions early within the second half, with Carli Lloyd and Julie Earts changing Alex Morgan and Samantha Moyes.
Ertz appeared to instantly breathe new life into the American group, however solely when the momentum of the sport appeared to alter did Sweden double their benefit.
This time Blackstenius grabbed the scraps on the far put up after a Swedish nook kick brought about chaos within the American penalty space and dumped the ball previous Naher into the roof of the online.
From there, issues obtained worse for Group USA.
After substitute Megan Rapinoe hit the put up when she most likely ought to have scored, Sweden put an exclamation mark subsequent to their efficiency as Hurtig climbed excessive into the penalty space to move house from Hanna Glass’s cross.
The digicam minimize to the American bench as Andonovsky sat helplessly confused on the bench.
He now has lots to consider forward of the upcoming powerful matches in opposition to New Zealand and Australia if the US is to keep away from a sudden early exit.