It sure isn’t 2019 World Cup all over again, yet, for the reigning American champs. At least for one game.
Two years later in an empty stadium in Tokyo to start the Olympics, the American women were soundly taken down in the first game in Group play. The good news is Team USA has a chance to regroup when they play New Zealand on Saturday.
Excerpted from The Guardian 7.21.2021
Megan Rapinoe said “it is what it is, we got bopped” after two goals from the striker Stina Blackstenius helped Sweden to a stunning 3-0 defeat of the United States at the Tokyo Stadium in their opening game of the Olympics.
“We got our asses kicked, didn’t we? I thought we were a little tight, a little nervous, just doing dumb stuff. There’s no time to dwell and think about if Sweden is living in our heads or not. We’ve got another game in three days.”
The US team arrived in Japan as overwhelming favourites to win gold but they were brutally exposed by Sweden. “They found a lot of space on us,” said Rapinoe. “I don’t remember the last time we gave up a goal. So to give up three is not great …
“I wouldn’t say they’ve got in our heads,” said the forward of the team that knocked them out of the Rio Olympics at the quarter-final stage and more recently earned a 1-1 draw against the world champions that ended their 16-game winning streak.
“They’re one of the best teams in the world,” Rapinoe added. “If we play a France [or] an England four times a year, we’re going to have those kinds of results.
With that said, we always expect to win every game that we play. So do we expect this result tonight? No, and it’s frustrating, and of course frustrating that it’s Sweden.”
Blackstenius’s 26th-minute header gave Sweden the lead. In the second half the USA manager, Vlatko Andonovski, who had not lost since taking charge after Jill Ellis stepped down, shuffled the pack, bringing on Carli Lloyd for Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz for Sam Mewis but his team could not break through a resilient defence that was without the key centre-back Magda Eriksson, who reached the Champions League final with Chelsea last season. Instead, Blackstenius scored a second in the 54th minute before substitute Lina Hurtig added a third.