Tokyo Olympics: Women's Football: Sweden ends USA's 44 match unbeaten run
Sweden started their Tokyo Olympics with a bang, by scoring three goals and keeping a clean sheet against tournament favorites USA.
It's Sweden again at the Olympics who deliver a massive blow to the USA's Women's Team. The Swedes beat the USA by 3 goals to nil in the opening fixture of Group F of women's football at the Tokyo Olympics. A sublime brace from Blackstenius and a goal by Hurtig have led Sweden to a victory in Japan. The loss throws an uphill challenge to the USWNT team if they want to qualify for the tournament's next round.
Team USA were favorites coming into the tournament after winning the FIFA World Cup in 2019 and were on a 44-match unbeaten run. Sweden took the lead in the 25th minute from a header from Stina Blackstenius as she headed home from the right side of the six-yard box into the net. She doubled Sweden's lead in the 54th minute from a left-footed shot from inside the six-yard box, after the ball dropped into her path from a Sweden corner.
The two goals kept Sweden in the driving seat, but the USA kept knocking on the door. The game was becoming a classic case of one team chasing the match and the other counter-attacking to extend their lead.
The substitution of Meghan Rapinoe accelerated the USA's attack, but in the 72nd minute, Lina Hurtig headed home from a cross by Hanna Glas, to seal the deal for the Swedes. Sweden were also the team that knocked out team USA in the Rio Olympics on penalties in the quarter-finals and caused a huge upset.
The loss was also the first loss faced by the United States Women's team in 44 matches, and the scoreline has made things difficult for them in the group.
The Swedes were without Magda Eriksson because of injury. The team said she has been training, but because of the compact schedule of the tournament she was held out of the opener. Tokyo is Sweden's seventh Olympics. After eliminating the Americans on penalties in the quarterfinals five years ago, the Swedes went on to win the silver medal, losing to Germany 2-1 in the final.
The United States has four Olympic gold medals, more than any other nation. The team is vying to become the first to win Olympic gold following a World Cup title. Sweden now leads Group G heading into Saturday's game against Australia in Saitama, while the United States faces New Zealand. The top two teams in the group advance the knockout round.