It’s time. The United States Women’s National Team take on Sweden in a pivotal Round of 16 match this morning, and we’re in win or go home territory. And of course we start the knockout stage against a Sweden team that we have seen in every Women’s World Cup except two. The last time the two teams faced off in a major competition was when Sweden humbled the USWNT in the opening match of the 2020 Olympics. Those memories are making this match even more of a tense moment for USWNT fans.
The USWNT’s path to get here was very shaky, with a win and 2 draws in the group stage to finish in 2nd in Group E, only the 2nd time they’ve failed to win their Women’s World Cup group. Sweden enters firing on all cylinders, winning all 3 of their group stage matches to top Group G.
Sweden has been great on set pieces, using their height to get to balls and head them home forcefully. The USWNT’s defense has been pretty good, only allowing one goal in the group stage. They will need to be diligent in keeping Sweden out of the box and defending set pieces aggressively so they don’t get free shots on net.
On offense, the USWNT need to string passes together and connect with each other to find open spaces. They need to be energetic on the high press and they need to make sure they’re covering their ground as they move the ball forward. USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski needs to put his players in the best position to excel on the field while utilizing the speed he has on his bench earlier to either force Sweden’s defenders into making a mistake or to otherwise find space to create goals. He needs to have his best coaching performance ever today, which goes along with the rest of the pressures attached to his job.
The USWNT will need to find the spirit that saw them destroy everyone on their way to winning 2 straight World Cup titles. They’ll need to match the intensity and the urgency of their opponents, and they’ll need to look sharp on offense. The Swedes aren’t invincible, but the USWNT have learned during this tournament that they aren’t either. So, fans will be looking for them to provide a performance that the entire country can get behind to tell the world that rumors of their impending demise were greatly exaggerated.
United States lineup: TBA
Sweden lineup: TBA
How to Watch
Advertised Kick-off Time: 5:00am Eastern, 2:00am Pacific
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Available TV: Fox (English), Telemundo (Spanish), Universo (Spanish)
Available Streaming: Fox Sports (English), Peacock (Spanish), Telemundo (Spanish), Univision Now (Spanish), FuboTV (Free Trial)
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