If the US women’s soccer team is the predominant force in the world, what do we say about Sweden?
The same team that knocked the Americans out of the 2016 Rio Games five years ago thrashed them again in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Group G opener, 3-0, on Wednesday morning.
The result ended the United States’ 44-game unbeaten run, which dated back to January 2019.
They had no answer for Sweden’s Stina Blackstenius, who recorded a brace in her side’s momentous victory — opening up the scoring in the 25th minute before doubling Sweden’s advantage in the 54th.
Lina Hurtig put the exclamation point on the day for the Swedes with a towering header of a goal in the 72nd minute to add further embarrassment for the US.
“Bad night tonight, so we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us,” US veteran defender Becky Sauerbrun said. “But I have the faith that we can do it.”
So bad, in fact, that Wednesday was just the second-ever loss in regulation suffered by the women’s national team at the Olympics and their worst loss at a major tournament since a 4-0 thrashing to Brazil at the 2007 World Cup semifinals.
“We got our asses kicked, didn’t we?” midfielder Megan Rapinoe sarcastically asked (h/t Andrew Keh, New York Times). “I thought we were a little tight, a little nervous, just doing dumb stuff.”
There isn’t much time for the United States to sort things out as it faces New Zealand — the weakest team of the group — on Saturday. Three points are vital to get its tournament back on track in hopes of becoming the first side ever to follow up a World Cup win with an Olympic gold medal; especially when the dangerous Sam Kerr-led Australia looms in the Group G finale next week.
“It’s really, really important for us to not dwell on this game,” forward Carli Lloyd said. “We have a quick turnaround and have to focus on the next one. At the end of the day, 3-0 isn’t good. It’s disappointing. We can be better.”