Megan Rapinoe admitted that the United States Women’s National Team was presented by Sweden in their Olympic women’s football opening game on Wednesday.
The pre-tournament favorites and reigning world champions made the worst possible start to their Group G campaign on Wednesday, losing 3-0 to Sweden thanks to two goals from Stina Blackstenius and a header from Lina Hurtig .
As a result, the United States lost their record of 44 games unbeaten, but Rapinoe felt they were masters of their own fall at Tokyo Stadium.
“We got our ass kicked, didn’t we?” Rapinoe said after the game. “I think we were a little tight, just a little nervous. Just doing stupid things like not passing the ball, not kicking the ball.”
Megan Rapinoe on the loss to Sweden: “We got our ass kicked, didn’t we? I thought we were a little tight, a little nervous, just doing stupid stuff.
– Andrew Keh (@andrewkeh) July 21, 2021
In her post-match press conference, the 36-year-old added: “I don’t think we played a very good game and that doesn’t take away from Sweden, I think they played a great game.
“They found a lot of space in our form and were able to be very clinical when they walked into the goal and gave their shot really well. Sometimes I feel like if we ever lose or tie or if someone gives us a game, it’s amazing and it’s really offensive to all the other teams.
“It’s the highest level and they are the best teams in the world, Sweden being one of the best teams of all time, certainly in Europe, so if we don’t play well, match in, match out, we let’s not win these games.
“So there are a lot of things [to improve on]. We want to be much better. I think we played a bit tight and hurt a lot. I don’t think we can really say one thing in particular, they took a chance, got better and inevitably scored more goals. “
How did Sweden fare?
US head coach Vlatko Andonovski hadn’t suffered a loss in his previous 23 matches, but his side were second-best from the first whistle against a determined Swedish side.
Blackstenius led Sweden in the lead after just 26 minutes, and the USWNT were fortunate enough to enter halftime with just one goal clear as No.1 goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was forced to make several crucial saves. .
The pressure continued into the early part of the second period, and Peter Gerhardsson’s side doubled their advantage shortly before the hour mark thanks to another smart ending from Blackstenius.
Hurtig then ended any hopes of a US return by nodding in the 72nd minute, with Christen Press then squandering two late opportunities to reduce the backlog.
The United States have already won four gold medals at the Olympics, but will likely have to win their next game against New Zealand on Saturday to have any hope of qualifying for the quarter-finals this time around.
2016 silver medalists Sweden can secure their spot in the knockout stage by beating Australia on the same day, and will now be among the favorites to win the tournament for the first time in the history of the country.