The United States fell behind 2-0 to an aggressive Sweden team in the first half and failed to complete the comeback, dropping their first ever World Cup group stage match. Instead of winning the group as expected, the Americans finished second and must now take on Marta and Brazil in Sunday’s quarterfinals. The U.S. is 23-2-2 all time against Brazil, which is looking to win its first World Cup.
*Keep it tuned to Soccer Insider where Steven Goff himself will be publishing a new thread momentarily on the Americans’prospects in the knockout stages. Things just got a lot more interesting in this tournament...
FINAL - Sweden 2, USA 1. That’s it. The U.S. has lost for the first time in World Cup group play and they’re forced to play Brazil in the quarterfinals. Lots of questions to be answered — particularly on the back line — for the Americans. By far the biggest upset of the tournament so far.
90 + 1 - Sweden should have had a third there but the flag goes up. U.S. back line struggled with the offside trap all night.
90 - The U.S. is mere moments away from losing its first ever group stage match at a World Cup.
86 - Tremendous opportunity for O’Hara on a left-footed volley that spins wide of the right post. Great chance there but it goes begging for the young midfielder.
83 - Time running out for the Americans as Wambach is stripped of the ball and Sweden clears.
80 - Julie Foudy still looking on the bright side - “If you can get through Brazil, then you avoid Germany in the semifinals.” Ian Darke not buying it: “There is that...”
The rest of the live blog after the jump...
73 - Kelley O’Hara on for Rapinoe now for the U.S.
67 - GOAL USA! GOAL WAMBACH! The Americans’ top offensive weapon finally gets on the board as she gets a left shoulder on a corner that bangs into the back of the net far post. Finally some good fortune for the U.S. and Wambach in particular. Sweden leads 2-1.
65 - Goransson on for Sjorgran for the Swedes who are clearly not sitting back trying to defend their two-goal lead. They’re still pressuring and the Americans need more possession and better finishing — and they need it now.
60 - Set piece is on target for Lloyd but right at Lindhal, who juggles and picks it up.
59 - LePeilbet (tonight’s Jonathan Bornstein) is off for Stephanie Cox.
50 - Lindhal can’t handle a heavy shot from Boxx from distance but no one in white is there to pounce on the jersey.
46 - Alex Morgan is on for Amy Rodriguez as the U.S. tries to add some much-needed speed to its attack.
HALF - Sweden leads it 2-0 and the U.S. really need to regroup. What type of changes should Pia Sundhange make after the break? They need better connecting play up top but they’d be hard pressed to give away more space at the back.
41 - Lloyd stabs at a loose ball in the box but Lindahl punches it away.
39 - Very rough night for LePeilbet so far who committed the penalty on the first goal and then could have been credited with an own goal on the second. The back line as a whole is getting shredded like it did in the first half against North Korea, but the Swedes are making them pay.
35 - GOAL SWEDEN! 2-0 and they’re dancing. Nilla Fischer’s free kick from 22 yards out deflects off LePeilbet on the wall and Solo can’t get back to keep it from going into the vacant left side of the night. The U.S. back line is in shambles and Sweden isn’t slowing down.
32 - Rodriguez holding off a defender, draws Lindhal out of her net anf cleverly flicks a right-footed lob that skims of the crossbar.
29 - Corner to U.S. and Boxx gets a head on it at the back post but can’t put it on target.
20 - Great chance for Cheney on a horrible clear by the Swedes but she pushes is wide of the left upright.
18 - If this score were to hold, USA would be matched up with Group D winners Brazil in the quarterfinals. Another corner here for Sweden.
15 - GOAL! Dahlkvist’s shot is into the top left corner just over a diving Solo — who got two fingertips on it — and the U.S. has conceded its first goal of the World Cup. (The goal snaps 781 minutes of scoreless netminding from Solo.)
14 - Clumsy challenge from Amy LePeilbet gives Sweden a penalty. Lisa Dahlkvist to take it.
13 - Nice through ball from Amy Rodriguez to Abby Wambach who doesn’t get enough on the shot and it’s an easy save for Hedvig Lindahl.
7 - Hope Solo guesses wrong but keeps her left foot back enough to make a tremendous save on Lotta Schelin who was one-on-one with the keeper and should have done better.
7 - Carli Lloyd with a right-footed blast that sails well wide. Good pressure from the Americans early.
With a pair of shutout victories already under their belts, the Americans have already secured a spot in the quarterfinals, meaning Wednesday afternoon’s Group C finale against Sweden is about maintaining form, avoiding injuries and trying to keep a clean sheet.
But while the U.S. will no doubt be gunning for a third multiple-goal victory, the knockout round bracket may make things interesting going forward.
By winning the group, Abby Wambach and the Americans avoid Brazil in the quarterfinals but would face a like matchup with two-time champions and hosts Germany in the semifinals.
USA lineup: Solo; Rampone, Buehler, LePeilbet, Krieger; Boxx, Lloyd, Rapinoe, Cheney; Rodriguez, Wambach.
Sweden lineup: Lindal; Rohlin, Larsson, Thunebro, Svensson; Fahlkvist, Fischer, Sjogran, Forsberg; Oqvist, Schelin.
Earlier Wednesday, Australia advanced with a 2-1 victory over Norway while Brazil cruised to a 3-0 win against Equatorial Guinea to win Group D.
As always, your in-game chatter is welcome and encouraged in the comments below.