Anything less than an Olympic gold medal simply won’t be good enough for the United States National Women’s Football Team. That’s the level of expectation and pressure the USWNT faces when it plays its opener at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics on Wednesday (4:30 a.m. ET), entering the tournament on a dominant streak of 44. unbeaten matches.
But the Americans, big favorites to win their fifth Olympic gold in football, will face a long-standing foe in this first match of the group stage: Sweden, ranked No.5 in the world, is also the winner. last team to bounce back. United States of a major tournament in the quarterfinals of the last Olympics. USWNT players say early elimination will be a big motivator in Tokyo.
Sweden will be the USWNT’s toughest opponent in Group G, which also includes Australia (ranked No. 9 in the world) and New Zealand (No. 22). Besides the 2016 Olympic victory (on penalties), the Swedes are also the last team to hold the USWNT tied: 1-1 in an exhibition match played on April 10 in Sweden (pictured below ). It is the only game the United States has failed to win since January 2019, and it took a late penalty to come away with a tie.
MORE: Watch USWNT vs. Sweden Live with fuboTV (7 Day Free Trial)
If history repeats itself on Wednesday and the United States fails to beat Sweden, it won’t have the same consequences. In the group stage, all the USWNT has to do is finish in the top two of Group G and it will advance to the knockout quarter-finals. The two best thirds also qualify.
How to watch US Olympic football vs Sweden
- Dated: Wednesday July 21
- Time: 4:30 a.m.ET
- TV channels: American network
- Television in Spanish: Telemundo
- TV reruns: NBCSN (8:30 a.m. ET and 6 p.m. ET)
- Diffusion: fuboTV, NBCOlympics.com, TelemundoDeportes.com, NBC Sports app and Telemundo Deportes app (with user authentication)
USA vs Sweden will air live on USA Network and Telemundo at 4:30 am ET. It is also scheduled to air later today on NBCSN at 8:30 a.m. ET and 6 p.m. ET. NBCSN can be streamed on fuboTV (7 day free trial).
All Olympic football games will be broadcast in the United States on NBCOlympics.com, TelemundoDeportes.com, the NBC Sports app and the Telemundo Deportes app, all with user authentication.
MORE: Complete Olympic Women’s Football Calendar
Scheduled USWNT lineups vs Sweden
Head coach Vlatko Andonovski is in his first major tournament at the helm of the USWNT and is not expected to surprise with his roster selections, which will certainly come under scrutiny. as has been the case with the major USWNT tournament coaches.
The only real question is the status of starting midfielder Julie Ertz (above), who is normally a regular but has been ruled out with a knee injury since May. She didn’t recover in time to play the tune-up matches ahead of the Olympics, but she was seen in full practice in Tokyo.
While conventional practice is to make it easier for players to act after a long injury absence and give them minutes off the bench, Ertz is such an important part of the squad and it’s such an important game, that it wouldn’t be entirely shocking to see its debut. If she doesn’t, Lindsey Horan would replace Ertz again, as she did throughout her injury layoff.
The Swedes played with a five-defensive back line against the United States in April and are expected to renew it to ensure they can again frustrate the Americans with a solid defensive position. But even if the Swedes stay behind, they are talented in attack and their three forwards will prove to be a challenge.
MORE: List of the United States Women’s Olympic Team
USWNT Projected Entries (4-3-3, left to right): 1-Alyssa Naeher – 2-Crystal Dunn, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 17-Abby Dahlkemper, 5-Kelley O’Hara – 3-Samantha Mewis, 9-Lindsey Horan, 16-Rose Lavelle – 15-Megan Rapinoe, 10-Carli Lloyd, 11-Christen Press
Substitutes provided by the USWNT: 18-Adrianna Franch-GK, 12-Tierna Davidson, 14-Emily Sonnett, 8-Julie Ertz, 19-Catarina Macario, 7-Tobin Heath, 13-Alex Morgan. Scheduled to sit: 22-Jane Campbell-GK, 20-Casey Krueger, 6-Kristie Mewis, 21-Lynn Williams
Sweden projected the starters (5-2-3, left to right): 1-Hedvig Lindahl – 2-Jonna Andersson, 6-Magdalena Eriksson, 14-Nathalie Bjorn, 13-Amanda Ilestedt, 4-Hanna Glas – 17-Caroline Seger, 9-Kosovare Asllani – 8-Lina Hurtig, 11-Stina Blackstenius, 10-Sofia Jakobsson
Sweden have planned the substitutes: 12-Jennifer Falk-GK, 3-Emma Kullberg, 5-Hanna Bennison, 15-Olivia Schough, 7-Madelen Janogy, 19-Anna An saved, 18-Fridolina Rolfo. Planned release: 22-Zecira Musovic-GK, 16-Filippa Angeldal, 20-Julia Roddar, 21-Rebecka Blomqvist
United States vs Sweden odds and predictions
The USWNT can hear the noise and when the pressure is on it’s a team that always seems to respond. Even if this is only the opening game, there will certainly be some urgency to his game, fueled by the 2016 rematch.
And the numbers certainly point to an opening victory for the USWNT. The team’s all-time Olympic record is 25-2-5 (outscoring teams 64-32) and they won the first game of five of six trips to the Olympics, with the only flaw being a loss to the Norway in 2008 (2-0).
MORE: Best Bets For The USWNT Olympic Tournament
But it will be a close match because these two teams know each other all too well. The United States has faced Sweden in major tournaments more than any other nation (nine times) and the familiarity is reflected in the results: the United States is only 7-3-6 in the last 15 meetings dating back to 2010 and seven of the last eight games between USA and Sweden have ended in either a draw or a one-goal win for one of the teams. The United States won the other game by a result of 2-0 at the 2019 World Cup.
Considering all of the above, the published odds for a USA goal win are unappealing. The way to play a close game might be to take a look at the first half draw (+110) or both teams scoring (+125) – there is just as much attacking talent on both sides. . A half-time draw coupled with a full-time American win is available at +255.
Prediction: United States 2, Sweden 1
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
- Winner of Sweden: +750
- Draw: +320
- United States to win: -235
- The two teams score: +125
- Sweden double chance (win or tie): +185
- First half draw: +110
- Half-time tie / Full-time USA victory: +255