USWNT lose 3-0 to Sweden in first game at Tokyo Olympics in 2021
Posted On July 21, 2021
TOKYO – Instead of revenge for their ouster at the Rio Olympics, the United States women’s football team has been embarrassed.
The defending World Cup champions were completely outclassed by the old foe Sweden in their opener at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday, a 3-0 loss that, frankly, could have been a lot worse. The Americans have been dominated, out of sync and, on the few occasions they’ve had, off target.
It was their worst performance in a major international tournament since a 4-0 loss to Brazil in the 2007 World Cup semi-finals. It was their first loss since January 2019 – ending a streak of 44 matches without defeat.
The only bright spot is that, unlike the loss to Sweden in 2016, it wasn’t a knockout game, and the top two in each group are sure to progress. But unless the United States kicks in – quickly – it will consider a similar early exit from Tokyo.
The United States will face New Zealand next Saturday.
The Americans had been singling out this game for five years, since losing to Sweden on penalties in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympics. It was their worst result in a major tournament, the first time ever. they hadn’t won a medal at the Olympics or at a World Cup.
The defeat pushed them into 2019, when they won their second consecutive World Cup. And they were convinced that the extra year to prepare, due to the COVID-19 delay, would work in their favor as they attempted to become the first reigning world champions to win the Olympic title.
But the Americans looked against Sweden like the teams usually look against them: Ineptes and unable to do anything about it.
It wasn’t just Stina Blackstenius’ two goals, one in each half. Or the head of Lina Hurtig in the 72nd. These are largely the same team that won their second consecutive World Cup in 2019, but there are pickup teams that seem more consistent.
Sweden shredded and slid their way through the midfield as if the Americans were invisible. Or still. Their defensive errors were baffling; on Blackstenius’ second goal, for example, she went largely unnoticed at the far post from a corner, which allowed her to bounce off Alyssa Naeher’s header in the 54th.
When the Americans got the ball, it wasn’t for long – or too much effect. Too often passes have been made in empty spaces, and there has never been a feeling that the Americans are in control. At one point in the first half, when the game was still a little close at hand, Rose Lavelle held out her hands as if to say: “What do we do?
The only threats were shots fired from the posts by Lavelle and Christen Press.
Even the additions of Carli Lloyd and Julie Ertz at halftime had little impact. Oh, the Americans seemed a little more active, but they still couldn’t contain Sweden’s pace or produce anything that looked like an offensive attack.
The loss in 2016 came on penalties, and the Americans could at least be reassured that the game could have gone one way or the other. There are no excuses to be found in this game. The best team in the world For much of the past three decades, the Americans have simply been dominated.