TOKYO (UPI) —
The United States Women’s National Team experienced a very rare feeling Wednesday, ending up on the wrong end of a shutout to Sweden in their first game of the Tokyo Olympics
and snapping a 44-game unbeaten streak.
Sweden striker Stina Blackstenius scored twice in the 3-0 triumph at Tokyo Stadium. Fellow forward Lina Hurtig iced the group stage game with another goal in the 72nd minute.
Sweden, the No. 5 team in the FIFA Women’s World Ranking, outshot the top-ranked Americans 17-13 and totaled nearly twice as many shots on target.
Right-wing Sofia Jakobsson assisted Sweden’s first score in the 25th minute. Jakobsson dribbled the ball to the right of the U.S. box and ripped a cross toward the near post. Blackstenius ran into the area and flicked a header past U.S. keeper Alyssa Naeher for first blood.
Sweden held onto the lead through halftime and added a second goal about nine minutes into the second half.
Naeher failed to clean up a missed shot, which went off the left post, to start that sequence. Blackstenius was in the area and smacked in a follow-up shot from point-blank range.
The American women missed several chances to score down the stretch. Right-back Hanna Glas helped Sweden add some insurance midway through the second half. The defender received a pass on the right flank and chipped a cross toward the far post. The pass dropped into Hurtig, who headed a shot over Naeher.
The loss was the U.S. women’s first since a 3-1 setback to France on Jan. 19, 2019.
The Americans look to rebound in their second Group G match against New Zealand at 7:30 a.m. EDT Saturday at Saitama Stadium in Saitama, Japan.
Reporting by Alex Butler
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