Tokyo 2020: US Ladies’s Nationwide Crew hammered by Sweden in opening Olympics match

2021-07-21 16:17:40

Stina Blackstenius’ brace and Lina Hurtig’s thumping header gave Sweden a deserved victory, with the US wanting a shadow of the aspect that gained the World Cup two years in the past.

Sweden was unquestionably the higher staff from the primary whistle to the final and the USWNT, which got here into this Olympics as a robust favourite, has a lot to enhance on within the coming video games towards New Zealand and Australia ought to it wish to win a fifth gold medal.

This historic outcome for Sweden will give the staff confidence it may go one higher than Rio 2016, the place it fell to Germany on the last hurdle within the gold medal match.

For the US, the defeat ends a 44-game unbeaten run that had stretched all the best way again to January 2019 when it misplaced 3-1 to France in a pleasant.

Scintillating Swedes

Sweden acquired the higher of the US the final time these two groups met on the Olympic stage, popping out on prime after a penalty shootout within the quarterfinals 5 years in the past in Brazil.

Becky Sauerbrunn advised the Guardian that defeat was “one of many worst outcomes that the senior nationwide staff has had in a significant match,” saying it offered further motivation going into the victorious 2019 World Cup marketing campaign and this Olympics.

Nonetheless, there wasn’t a lot signal of that motivation in the course of the opening exchanges of the match in Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium — earlier than which each groups took a knee within the empty area — as Sweden exerted its dominance from the opening whistle.

The Swedes quickly acquired the purpose their early play deserved as Sofia Jakobsson’s whipped cross was glanced house brilliantly by Blackstenius on the close to submit after 25 minutes.

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

The US had barely managed to get out of its personal half on this opening 45 minutes, a lot much less get any kind of foothold within the recreation, with Sweden having fun with greater than 60% of possession.

Blackstenius had a beautiful alternative to double Sweden’s lead simply earlier than the break, controlling an extended go brilliantly on her chest however simply getting the ball caught beneath her toes to permit US keeper Alyssa Naeher to return out and smother the possibility.

Given the extent of the expertise within the US squad, nevertheless, it was all the time going to be unlikely Sweden might comprise its opponents for your entire half. It was Rose Lavelle who had the possibility to equalize, however her header from an extended ball into the field crashed towards the skin of the submit.

That it was the reigning world champion’s solely actual likelihood of be aware within the first half was a testomony to Sweden’s superiority, the yellow shirts swarming the US gamers in midfield and never permitting them a second to chill out on the ball.

The one unfavorable from Sweden’s perspective was that it had solely managed to open up a one-goal lead — would the staff rue that profligacy in entrance of purpose?

The US players look bemused after conceding the second.

USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski made two substitutions at first of the second half, with the vastly skilled Carli Lloyd and Julie Ertz approaching to switch Alex Morgan and Samantha Mewis.

Ertz appeared to right away breath new life into the US staff, however simply when it regarded just like the momentum of the sport was shifting, Sweden doubled its benefit.

Blackstenius this time picked up the scraps on the far submit after a Swedish nook triggered mayhem within the US field and poked the ball previous Naeher into the roof of the web.

From there, it solely acquired worse for the US staff.

After substitute Megan Rapinoe hit the submit when she maybe she ought to have scored, Sweden put an exclamation mark subsequent to its efficiency as Hurtig rose excessive within the field to go house from Hanna Glas’ cross.

Stina Blackstenius got her Olympics off to a dream start with a brace.

The digital camera lower to the US bench the place a bemused Andonovski sat helplessly on the bench.

He now has lots to ponder now forward of the robust upcoming fixtures towards New Zealand and Australia ought to the US wish to keep away from a shock early exit.

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