Olympic Football

Sweden stuns US with 3-0 win in first day of women’s football

Sweden women’s football team provided the first shock of the Tokyo 2020 Games before it’s officially started. The opening ceremony officially launches the Games on Friday (23 July). The fluorescent yellow and blues beat the four-time Olympic gold medallists, the United States, 3-0 on the first day of the Olympic football tournament.

Stina Blackstenius’ header into the far corner off a cross from Sofia Jakobsson in the 26th minute gave Sweden the first-half lead.

The United States came out stale, with its best chance of the opening half coming in the final moments when Rose Lavelle’s shot hit the post. The half-time stats of six shots on goal for Sweden with 10 on target, to the US’ one and three, tells the story.

Coach Vlatko Andonovski made changes for the second half, subbing in Carli Lloyd for Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz for Sam Mewis.

But Blackstenius scored again in the 54th minute, beating goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, as the Americans continued to struggle. Lina Hurtig then scored in the 72nd.

The loss was the first for the United States under Andonovski, who took over when former coach Jill Ellis stepped down following the team’s World Cup victory in France.

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 kept out of the opener.

The USNWT last lost a match 44 games ago, so this feeling for the US will be unwelcome. Neverthless, two teams go through from each group, with Australia and New Zealand also in Group G. They play later today.

Sweden’s next match is against Australia at the Saitama Stadium on Saturday (24 July). Team USA follow a few hours later against New Zealand. The men’s competition starts Thursday 22 July.

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