While it was certainly not the start of the Olympics that the US women’s football team had anticipated, a rare defeat did not dampen the team’s hopes for gold.
TOKYO — While it certainly wasn’t the start of the Olympics that the US women’s soccer team had anticipated, a rare defeat didn’t dampen the team’s hopes for gold.
The United States lost 3-0 to Sweden in the team’s opener in Tokyo on Wednesday night, breaking a 44-match unbeaten streak. It was a surprising result for the favorites in the field.
In fact, it must have lit a fire.
Defender Tierna Davidson said on Thursday that veteran Kelly O’Hara was rallying the team ahead of Saturday’s match against New Zealand.
“She was like: ‘We don’t have a choice. We have to come out of the next game and we have to be absolutely ruthless.'” Davidson said. “So I think that’s what’s on everyone’s mind right now.”
“We have a long winning streak and I think we don’t have too many games where we have to come back,” Press said. “I think it was really good to have this match actually. In 2008 we lost our first match and the team won the gold. So I think now we are looking at it as a learning opportunity. And The message is already ‘Heads up, put this behind us, next game.’ This is not the time to be in a tournament like this.”
It was the first loss for the United States since January 2019, when the team lost 3-1 to France at Le Havre. America won the World Cup that summer.
Americans are vying for their fifth overall gold medal in a sport more than any other nation, having only entered the Olympics in 1996. Their goal is to become the first women’s team after the World Cup to win an Olympic title.
The United States failed to win a medal at the Rio de Janeiro Games, when it was knocked out – yes – Sweden in the quarter-finals. And Sweden drew a 1-1 draw with the Americans in April, the team’s only non-contest this year.
“I guess we just got a little bit in our heads,” admitted Megan Rapinoe. “We’ll obviously watch the movie and all that, but you drop points at the start of a tournament and now you’re in do or die mode. So you have to collect points, otherwise we’re going home early, and you’re like that.” Do not want to.”
The United States advance to Saitama, where they will play the Ferns on Saturday as the group stage continues. Sweden will play Australia in the group.
Matilda beat New Zealand 2-1 on Wednesday in their opening match in Group G.
With the win, Sweden made a strong case as potential medalists in Tokyo. Fifth-placed Sweden won silver in 2016 after losing to champions Germany in the final match.
“I think now the expectations will be there and you don’t know how it will affect everyone, but I think we are ready for whatever emotions come,” said veteran goalkeeper Hedwig Lindahl.
There are three groups of four teams playing in the Olympics. The top two and third-place finishers from each group advance to the knockout stage.
Britain are at the top of Group E after a 2-0 win over Chile. The Netherlands led Group F on goal difference after a 10–3 victory over Zambia, the lowest ranked team in the competition.
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