The world champions were stunned today 3-0 in Tokyo, with striker Stina Blackstenius scoring twice, before substitute Lina Hurtig added a third for Sweden.
This was the first competitive defeat for the USA since their 2016 Olympic elimination by the same team, and then, they went to win the 2019 World Cup title with a perfect winning record (44 games).
Sweden were without Chelsea’s captain Magdalena Eriksson, while the USA started with key players Rose Lavelle, Sam Mewis, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath and Lindsey Horan.
After the match, USA new coach Vlatko Andonovski said:
“It’s obvious we put ourselves in a big hole, but we’re the only ones who can get ourselves out of it.
“It’s not going to be easy. We’ve got to get positive results in the next two games, but the fact there is still a chance [means] I know this team is not going to give up.”
USA’s captain and Ballon D’Or, Megan Rapinoe, added:
“I thought we were a little bit nervous, a bit tight, doing dumb stuff.”
“ [But] That’s what it is,” Rapinoe said. “We were fluttering, and we have two more games coming faster and faster. And now we know exactly what we need to do. We have these games. You have to win and eventually get out of the group and go from there. “
Sweden is currently leading Group G and they will play against Australia in Saitama on Saturday. Meanwhile, the United States will face New Zealand at the same stadium later on. The top two teams in the group proceed to the knockout round, so the USA still has chances to go into the next stage of the competition.
Yet, other games also took place later on today:
Zambia lost 10-3 on their Olympic debut in women’s football against European champions The Netherlands; while, striker Marta scored twice as Brazil thrashed China 5-0.
By doing so, Marta became the first player to score in five consecutive Olympics, taking her total tally to 12, while 43-year-old defender Formiga extended her record of competing in all seven women’s Olympic tournaments since women’s football was introduced in 1996.
On the other side, England’s National Team got off to a winning start thanks to a double from Ellen White as they comfortably beat Chile 2-0 in their Group E opener. In the same group, hosts Japan drew 1-1 with Canada after Arsenal midfielder Mana Iwabuchi cancelled out Christine Sinclair’s opener and Canada goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe saved a penalty to deny the win to the hosts.
Sinclair extended the all-time international goals record to 187 and became only the fourth player in football history to reach 300 games for her country. Finally, in the last match of the day, Australia recorded a 2-1 win over New Zealand as Chelsea striker Sam Kerr scored one goal and provided an assist for the other.