The US Girls’s Nationwide Crew goals of profitable Olympic Gold on the again of the FIFA World Cup for the primary time of their historical past suffered a blow when their Tokyo 2020 marketing campaign started with a humiliating 3-0 defeat to their outdated nemeses from Sweden in Tokyo at this time.
It was america first defeat since in 44 video games since dropping to France in Le Havre in 2019, their first defeat within the Olympic Video games since a gaggle stage defeat to Norway in 2008 and ended Vlatko Andonovski’s 23-game unbeaten begin as head coach of the four-time world champions. The three-goal margin additionally made it their heaviest defeat since dropping to France within the 2017 She Believes Cup and the heaviest in a worldwide event since a 4-0 humiliation in opposition to Brazil within the 2007 FIFA World Cup.
Sweden had been the world champions’ conquerors within the earlier Olympic Video games following an acrimonious defeat on penalties in Belo Horizonte after which United States goalkeeper Hope Solo accused the defensive Swedish crew of taking part in like “a bunch of cowards”. That was not the case at this time because the Scandinavians attacked from the outset and fully-deserved their victory following two objectives from Stina Blackstenius and a header from substitute Lina Hurtig.
But it was the style of the defeat which left head coach Andonovski with most inquiries to face because the Scandinavians repeatedly tore his world champion crew aside within the first half with solely a mix of poor ending, good goalkeeping from Alyssa Naeher and two last-ditch tackles from Crystal Dunn on the excellent Sofia Jakobsson holding the rating all the way down to 1-0 on the break.
Within the warmth and humidity of the Japanese capital, the world champions had no reply to the tempo and energy of the Swedish crew. Regardless of spending weeks acclimatizing in Florida and Texas earlier than flying out to Tokyo, the skilled United States squad boasting a median age of just below 30 appeared to flag in temperatures in extra of 30 levels centigrade.
The 2 FIFA World Gamers of the Yr, 39-year-old Carli Lloyd and 36-year-old Megan Rapinoe began the sport as substitutes. Each have been launched within the second half with Rapinoe instantly creating the crew’s greatest alternative of your complete recreation, crossing for Christen Press who might solely hit the put up. Extra encouragingly, midfield lynch-pin Julie Ertz efficiently got here by the second half after approaching for her first taking part in time since recovering from a Medial Cruciate Ligament harm which threatened to rule her out of the Video games.
The US now should win no less than considered one of their remaining two matches within the group in opposition to New Zealand in Saitama on Saturday or in opposition to Australia in Kashima on Tuesday to qualify for the quarter-finals.