Tokyo 2020: Sweden 3-0 USA: Blackstenius brace helps Blaguit dominate Stars and Stripes
Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Team USA suffered a shock 3-0 defeat to Sweden in their Group G women's soccer opener at the Olympics in the Tokyo National Stadium.

Stina Blackstenius scored in the 25th and 54th minutes before being substituted. Her replacement, Lina Hurtig, capped the scoring in the 72nd minute as Sweden defeated the US for the second straight Olympics, having knocked the Americans out in the 2016 quarterfinals.

Story of the match

Sweden dominated from start to finish and in the 14th minute, US goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was forced to make a save to her left. Kosovatre Asllani then curled one from outside of the box that Naeher again stopped. It was a hat-trick of diving saves after a chance from Fridolina Rolfo.

Finally, the Swedes were in front. Sofia Jakobsson sliced a cross from the right to Blackstenius, who saw the ball glance off of her forehead and into the back in of the net. Following the goal, Jakobsson dribbled all the way to the edge of the goal before Crystal Dunn slid to deny her.

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After Alex Morgan was wiped out by a Swedish player, the Stars and Stripes had their first chance. After some neat footwork by Kelley O'Hara, she eluded her defender and had a free look at a cross that was scooped up by Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl.

O'Hara had created the Americans' best opportunity as she drove inside the Sweden half and it was met by Rose Lavelle, who came in streaking from the left post. Her header beat Lindahl, but came back out off of the left post and back out.

Nine minutes into the second half, the lead was doubled as Amanda Ilestedt rose up highest out of the pack to knock a corner kick toward the U.S. goal. The shot bounced off the far post and dropped to the feet of Blackstenius, who blasted it into the roof of the net from point-blank range.

Lavelle then knocked a ball out of her own half and behind the Swedish defense where substitute Carli Lloyd collected, dribbled and fired a left-footed shot that deflects off of a defender's foot and dribbles away.

Megan Rapinoe came on for Tobin Heath and soon after was slipped in by Dunn, but Lindahl saved easily. She turned provider as she got down the left-hand side and feathered a pass to Christen Press, who rifled a shot that hit the left post, the second time that happened for the Americans.

Sweden killed the game off in the 73rd minute as Hanna Glas floated a high cross from the right to Lina Hurtig, who earlier replaced Blackstenius and she was all alone to head past Naeher to make it 3-0.

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Press had a couple of late chances and Lloyd headed wide as time expired, Sweden snapping the Stars and Stripes 44-match unbeaten streak in emphatic fashion.

Man of the match: Stina Blackstenius

When you're an underdog as Sweden was, you need to get off to a good start and Blackstenius made sure that happened. Her first goal showed her prowess in the air, heading past Naeher while the second was a slice of luck as the initial shot was stopped and she took full advantage by tapping home. Her central movement was also a key to the dominant Swedish effort.


Sweden has become the USA's nemesis

They knocked the Americans out of the 2016 Olympics, drew with them in Stockholm in April and now administered a sound thrashing to the Stars and Stripes in this Tokyo opener. They aren't scared to play the world champions and they had a sound game plan. 

USA center-backs exposed

Becky Sauerbrunn and Abby Dahlkemper were poor (as was the entire team) especially in the first half, as the U.S. midfield seemed to disappear. The experienced duo were given the runaround by Blackstenius and Co. and had no answer for their movement. 

Antonovski expected to make changes

Stars and Stripes coach Vladimir Antonovski has alluded to the heat in Tokyo and the need for squad rotation was there before this match. After what we saw today, it's a must that Julie Ertz, Lloyd and Rapinoe start against New Zealand. They all played well (especially Ertz) when they were brought in and could be what gets the Americans back on track.