Match Preview: USWNT faces Sweden yet again

It truly isn’t an international tournament until the USWNT and Sweden play each other. After Sweden won Group G and the USWNT came in second in Group E, the two teams are set to play each other for the seventh time at the World Cup. The match will kick off at 5 am ET on Sunday, Aug. 6.

The USWNT has a 23-7-12 record in 42 matches against Sweden, but Sweden has recently stepped up their game. In their most recent matchup, Sweden dismantled the USWNT with a 3-0 win in the Tokyo Olympics group stage. Sweden went on to win the silver medal, while the USWNT took home the bronze. Of the last ten matches between the teams, nine were decided by two goals or fewer. There is no room for error against an opponent this tough, especially since the USWNT will be without Rose Lavelle.

The USWNT’s identity crisis

This is not the same USWNT that fans have watched in past World Cups. The US had its worst group stage in World Cup history, with a win against Vietnam and two draws against the Netherlands and Portugal. Even coach Vlatko Andonovski admitted that the team’s performance against Portugal was “crap.” Despite the fact that many players on the roster have played together for years, there appears to be no chemistry and no one can put away their scoring chances. Is five days enough time to work through these issues before playing a powerhouse team like Sweden?

Final score prediction: USWNT 0, Sweden 2

Players to watch

Amanda Ilestedt is Sweden’s scoring leader so far. Although she is a center back, a position that doesn’t usually find the back of the net, Ilestedt is a major threat on set pieces. All three of her goals in the tournament have come from corner kicks. If the USWNT wants to contain Ilestedt, they must limit the set piece opportunities they give Sweden.

Naomi Girma has quietly been having a solid tournament. With Becky Sauerbrunn, Abby Dahlkemper, and Tierna Davidson all off the roster due to injuries, Girma has had big shoes to fill at center back but has not disappointed. While the USWNT has struggled offensively, they have only conceded one goal in three matches. If there is a bright spot to this struggling US team, it is Girma.

Fans can watch the USWNT vs. Sweden on Fox or Telemundo. Who do you think will move on to the next round? Let me know in the comments below. Can’t get enough women’s soccer? Tune into Paramount+ to watch the 2023 NWSL season. Follow me on Twitter and check out Beyond Women’s Sports for more sporting news.

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About Ally Bichsel

Big fan of all things women's soccer. I mostly follow national teams, WSL and NWSL, but am starting to get into the Frauen-Bundesliga and Primera División.

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