Sweden ended a 44-match unbeaten streak for the United States in women’s soccer on Wednesday, defeating the Americans 3-0 in their opening match at the Tokyo Olympics.
Stina Blackstenius scored twice and Lina Hurtig also netted a goal in a dominant win for the Swedes.
Sweden continues to vex USWNT
Sweden has remained a thorn in the sides of Team USA, even during its current run of form. The two teams played to a 1-1 draw in April, one of only four draws for the Americans during the unbeaten run, and their only draw this year.
The Swedes also eliminated the Americans from the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro in the quarterfinals, winning on penalties after fighting to a 1-1 draw.
|Olympic Women’s Soccer Odds – To Win Gold (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|USA: +105||Netherlands: +500|
|Great Britain: +500||Sweden: +500|
|Brazil: +1400||Australia: +1900|
|Japan: +2100||Canada: +2900|
|Chile: +10000||New Zealand: +10000|
Wednesday’s result stood in marked contrast to those tight encounters. Sweden controlled the game from start to finish, with the United States looking lost at times on the pitch. After the game, the American players acknowledged that they must get better if they want to secure a medal.
“We got our asses kicked, didn’t we?” Megan Rapinoe, who came on as a substitute in the 64th minute, said after the match. “It’s frustrating, and it’s frustrating that it’s Sweden. They found a lot of space on us. I don’t even know how many goals we have given up this whole year. I don’t remember the last time we gave up a goal. So to give up three is not great.”
The best news for the United States is that it still has room to qualify for the knockout stage. Team USA will next play New Zealand on Saturday. The Americans come into that match as an overwhelming -1800 favorite to get a win, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Women’s soccer odds tighten, USA remain gold favorite
The Americans don’t quite find themselves in a must-win situation in that match, but any other result would leave them on the brink of elimination. The top two teams in each of the three four-team pools will advance to the quarterfinals, as will the two best third-place teams.
Still, oddsmakers see the USA as the clear favorites to win gold in women’s soccer, even after the stunning loss. FanDuel lists the United States as the +105 favorite for gold, ahead of the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Sweden, all of whom sit at +500.
“It’s obvious we put ourselves in a big hole,” American coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “But we’re the only ones who can get ourselves out of it.”
Netherlands 10-3 Zambia
Miedema may have netted 4, but Babra Banda (21) will make the headlines.
She's just scored a Hat-trick in Zambia's first ever match at an Olympics ❤️🇿🇲 pic.twitter.com/yduyfmJHmB
— COPA90 (@Copa90) July 21, 2021
The USA upset was just part of the first day of Olympic women’s soccer action. One of the biggest headlines came in the Netherlands’ 10-3 victory over Zambia. While the Dutch team dominated the game, Zambia’s Babra Banda managed a hat trick in her team’s first-ever appearance in the Olympic Games.