Stina Blackstenius’ brace and Lina Hurtig’s thumping header gave Sweden a deserved victory, with the US trying a shadow of the aspect that gained the World Cup two years in the past.
Sweden was unquestionably the higher staff from the primary whistle to the final and the USWNT, which got here into this Olympics as a powerful favourite, has a lot to enhance on in the approaching video games towards New Zealand and Australia ought to it wish to win a fifth gold medal.
This historic consequence for Sweden will give the staff confidence it will probably go one higher than Rio 2016, the place it fell to Germany on the last hurdle in the gold medal match.
For the US, the defeat ends a 44-game unbeaten run — 40 wins and 4 attracts — that had stretched all the best way again to January 2019 when it misplaced 3-1 to France in a pleasant.
Sweden bought the higher of the US the final time these two groups met on the Olympic stage, popping out on prime after a penalty shootout in the quarterfinals 5 years in the past in Brazil.
However, there wasn’t a lot signal of that motivation through the opening exchanges of the match in Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium — earlier than which each groups took a knee in the empty enviornment — as Sweden exerted its dominance from the opening whistle.
The Swedes quickly bought the purpose their early play deserved as Sofia Jakobsson’s whipped cross was glanced house brilliantly by Blackstenius on the close to submit after 25 minutes.
The US had barely managed to get out of its personal half in this opening 45 minutes, a lot much less get any form of foothold in the sport, with Sweden having fun with greater than 60% of possession.
Blackstenius had an exquisite alternative to double Sweden’s lead simply earlier than the break, controlling a protracted go brilliantly on her chest however simply getting the ball caught underneath her toes to permit US keeper Alyssa Naeher to come back out and smother the possibility.
Given the extent of the expertise in the US squad, nonetheless, it was all the time going to be unlikely Sweden might comprise its opponents for the complete half. It was Rose Lavelle who had the possibility to equalize, however her header from a protracted ball into the field crashed towards the surface of the submit.
That it was the reigning world champion’s solely actual probability of word in the primary half was a testomony to Sweden’s superiority, the yellow shirts swarming the US gamers in midfield and never permitting them a second to loosen up on the ball.
The solely unfavorable from Sweden’s perspective was that it had solely managed to open up a one-goal lead — would the staff rue that profligacy in entrance of purpose?
USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski made two substitutions firstly of the second half, with the vastly skilled Carli Lloyd and Julie Ertz approaching to switch Alex Morgan and Samantha Mewis.
Ertz appeared to instantly breath new life into the US staff, however simply when it seemed just like the momentum of the sport was shifting, Sweden doubled its benefit.
Blackstenius this time picked up the scraps on the far submit after a Swedish nook induced mayhem in the US field and poked the ball previous Naeher into the roof of the web.
From there, it solely bought worse for the US staff.
After substitute Megan Rapinoe hit the submit when she maybe she ought to have scored, Sweden put an exclamation mark subsequent to its efficiency as Hurtig rose excessive in the field to go house from Hanna Glas’ cross.
The digital camera reduce to the US bench the place a bemused Andonovski sat helplessly on the bench.
He now has lots to ponder now forward of the powerful upcoming fixtures towards New Zealand and Australia ought to the US wish to keep away from a shock early exit.