USWNT taking a look to avenge uncommon loss with its opener in opposition to Sweden
TOKYO Nothing like a just right ol formed grudge fit to kick off the Olympics.
The U.S. ladies start play Wednesday with a sport in opposition to Sweden. Yes, that will be the identical Sweden that knocked the Americans out of the Rio Olympics within the quarterfinals, their earliest go out ever at a big match.
What took place in 2016 used to be one of the vital worst effects that the senior nationwide staff has had in a big match, captain Becky Sauerbrunn stated Tuesday. From enjoying in that sport, I understand how disenchanted all of us had been. It has lit a hearth going into (the World Cup in) 2019, and likewise right here for 2020.
The competition between the USWNT and Sweden used to be already feisty ahead of Rio. The U.S. has confronted no staff extra ceaselessly on the Olympics and World Cup than Sweden the group-stage sport in Tokyo will probably be their 9th at a big global match together with at each and every of the closing 5 World Cups.
Seven in their closing 8 video games general were determined by way of one purpose or much less, together with a 1-1 attract April that snapped the USWNTs 16-game win streak, the third-longest in staff historical past.
But its that 2016 loss, on penalty kicks, that also stings.
The U.S. ladies dont lose ceaselessly all of six instances since 2015 and its truly a rarity when giant prizes are at the line. Since the World Cup started in 1991, the Americans have gained it 4 instances, together with the closing two. They have gained the gold medal 4 instances since womens football used to be added to the Olympic program in 1996.
And after they dont win, they normally come shut.
They had been runners-up on the 2011 World Cup, and completed 0.33 in 1995, 2003 and 2007. Before Rio, the Americans had been silver medalists on the one Olympics the place they didnt win gold.
So to lose in 2016 used to be galling sufficient. To do it ahead of even the medal rounds? It used to be nearly incomprehensible.
The avid gamers who had been there in 2016, its at the back of our minds, Alex Morgan stated ahead of the April pleasant. And those that werent there, smartly you should definitely remind them.
Sweden has potent forwards, and it has the dimensions and power to head toe-to-toe with the Americans. But its the Swedes angle that makes them any such ambitious foe.
If theyre intimidated by way of the Americans and all their good fortune, youd by no means realize it. They will do no matter it takes to win, even bunkering down as they did in Rio to take the sport to time beyond regulation after which consequences.
I feel its extra a query to the U.S. staff, what do they suspect we do excellent in opposition to them, Sweden captain Caroline Seger stated Tuesday, when requested to provide an explanation for her groups good fortune in opposition to the USWNT.
That doesnt imply Sweden takes the Americans frivolously, both.
We know we must be very ready. We need to step as much as a degree this is very top, Seger stated. The U.S. brings its easiest when it must be the most productive. Its going to be very tricky sport the following day, however I additionally know had been very ready.
The Americans are hoping to develop into the primary reigning World Cup champion to win the Olympic identify, and a loss or draw in opposition to Sweden would now not finish the ones probabilities. But beating Sweden would put the USWNT in keep watch over of Group G and, theoretically, an more uncomplicated trail throughout the medal rounds.
Those are considerations for any other day, then again. For now, the Americans have one idea and one idea simplest in thoughts.
Its a loss that Ive thought of so much during the last 5 years, and the way am I, how are we, going to get revenge? Kelley OHara stated. Hopefully had been going to overcome them.
Let the grudges, err, Games, start.
Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour.