Alessandra Tarantino / AP
The US has been relieved of the women's World Cup with a 2-0 win over Sweden. The US contributed to the victory with a strong defense and a relentless attack. For the Americans, it has been the toughest game yet and shows that the team is in top shape as it enters the knockout stages to defend its world title.
25,000 spectators at the Stade Océane in Le Havre, France, could see a jewel of a match. The US was sharp and precise right from the start. It was not long before the Americans scored. In the third minute Megan Rapinoe hit a corner into the box. It shot deep through the penalty area and Lindsey Horan threw it in the back of the goal for the fastest goal in the tournament.
The second goal fell in the second half in the 50th minute. Tobin Heath has done a lot to Tobin Heath with her feet. Faced with a crazy angle, she shot the ball from a Swedish defender in goal.
This was the toughest opponent the US has ever faced. In the last two games it was assumed that the USA would win. This time it was only known that a very good football would be played. And indeed it was. Sweden put pressure on the US, but it was never enough.
The US team was rested. Seven of his starters did not play in their last game against Chile. The biggest surprise was the absence of midfielder Julie Ertz. It is the anchor of the US backfield and is now excluded from the competition for prudent reasons. The US football said Ertz has a "slight hip bruise". Striker Alex Morgan played the first half, but dropped out late and was replaced at half-time by Carli Lloyd.
Both the US and Sweden had already advanced to the knockout stages, regardless of what happened on the field today. But this match was about giving rights. There is a long history between the US and Sweden.
The teams played 38 times since 1987 and faced each other in five previous World Cups. The US record in these games is three wins, one defeat and one draw.
In fact, it was in the Women's World Cup 2015, as these two teams against each other as today in the last group match. The Swedish coach was then Pia Sundhage, who led the USA until 2012, including the 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medals. It was also their Swedish team that defeated the USA in the quarter-finals of the 2016 Olympic Games.
This loss still hits the US football program. It was the first time that the Americans rebounded from a major tournament, forcing the team to switch to a more aggressive style of play that was both technical and tactical. US striker Christian Press says the loss is still with her today. "You do not forget the taste in your mouth when you fail and when you lose in a World Cup," she said. "A little bit of it will definitely serve as motivation and you always play to win and never have that feeling again."
With the victory, the USA compete in the round of 16 against Spain fought offensively and pushed for the first time in the knockout round of the Women's World Cup. The Spaniards defeated South Africa 3-1 in the first leg, then lost 1-0 to Germany and drew 0-0 against China. The match between the USA and Spain takes place on Monday afternoon at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims.
Laurel Wamsley contributed to this report.