It was a wake-up call for USWNT on Friday, as Sweden scored on the counter in the 60th minute to take a 1-0 lead over the Americans. Stina Blackstenius got behind the defense, and calmly finished a low shot past Hope Solo for the goal.
Alex Morgan equalized in the 77th minute, keeping USWNT alive in the tournament.
Sweden are managed by Pia Sundhage, who won two gold medals managing USWNT but lost in the 2007 World Cup final. Earlier in the week, Sundhage acknowledged that “all the pressure” is on the Americans to advance.
USA are the World Cup champions, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Fondly remembered is their domination at the 2015 World Cup final but it’s forgotten how much the team struggled early in that tournament, especially during a 0-0 draw against Sweden. Defense has always been the strong suit of this edition of USWNT, but they’ve struggled to keep clean sheets in Rio after over 500 goalless minutes at WWC.
The winner advances to the semifinals on Sunday against either Brazil or Australia.