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TOKYO — It was a devastating begin to the Tokyo Olympics for the U.S. girls’s soccer crew. The U.S, ranked primary and the reigning World Cup champions, performed a well-known foe: Sweden. And sadly for the U.S., it was a well-known end result. Sweden beat them 3-0.
In the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Sweden beat the U.S. within the quarterfinals, denying the squad a medal. The U.S. got here into these Games in search of to develop into the primary girls’s crew to ever take Olympic gold after profitable the World Cup.
Today’s loss to fifth-ranked Sweden will make that feat harder, however doesn’t rule it out.
The overwhelming majority of the beginning lineup on this sport – seven out of 11 – have been gamers who performed in that 2016 match in opposition to Sweden. Those embody stars comparable to Alex Morgan and Kelley O’Hara.
The motion happened in an almost empty stadium, since Olympic occasions in Tokyo are occurring with out followers on account of a state of emergency. As the gamers warmed up, an announcer known as out every of their names – and no cheers adopted for superstars comparable to Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle.
The stadium was so quiet that press within the stands may really hear snippets of what the gamers are yelling to one another. The gates the place crowds normally enter are sealed closed, and the one meals that gave the impression to be obtainable was offered within the media heart.
In a standard Olympics, the primary U.S. girls’s soccer sport can be performed in entrance of a packed stadium with throngs of followers who travelled from everywhere in the world.
It was a most uncommon sport for the U.S., which performed with out its common attacking zeal. Sweden dominated the primary half with robust attacking runs and several other defensive stops. Sweden bought on the board within the twenty fifth minute when Stina Blackstenius headed the ball into the aim. “Song 2” by Blur was startling because it blasted by the stadium, which was in any other case quiet aside from a couple of claps within the press space.
The U.S. nearly equalized simply earlier than halftime when midfielder Lavelle narrowly missed a aim off the put up.
During halftime, a video of a small group of cheering followers got here onto the stadium jumbotron — nearly emphasizing their absence within the stadium.
The U.S. blended up its lineup with two substitutions on the half, together with defensive star Julie Ertz and veteran Carli Lloyd. Rapinoe subbed in about 10 minutes later. Still, Sweden scored two extra occasions — with one other aim from Blackstenius and one from Lina Hurtig.
In the group stage, the U.S. girls may have two extra video games – in opposition to Australia and New Zealand. The prime two groups of their group of 4 will then transfer on to the knockout spherical.