USA and Sweden faced off in Le Havre in a Group F decider, despite being one of the biggest matchups in women’s football that dates back to the inaugural world cup in 1991 USA player Ali Krieger decided to fan the flames of the rivalry with some choice comments aimed at the Swedish team that was not taken particularly well by Lindhal and Asllani.
Sweden bafflingly made 7 changes to there lineup including a completely new defence whilst USA rested influential midfielder Julie Ertz as a precaution.
After immediately hitting there straps the USA got the early lead they were searching for in the 3rd minute when a low bouncing corner from Megan Rapinoe was toe-poked into the net by Lindsay Horan, Sweden appealed for offside but the Russian referee Anastasia Pustovoyta allowed it to stand.
A period of dominance followed by the USA with Tobin Heath’s trickery on the right giving Sweden huge problems & players were queuing up to shoot on goal including Crystal Dunn who just went over the crossbar.
Sweden began to grab a foothold in the game with former Manchester City attacker Kosovare Asllani taking two long shots and testing the USA defence who were equal to it, especially converted winger Crystal Dunn who was having a good game at left back and getting some great tackles in.
Both teams were wasteful in the final third and an entertaining half ended 1-0 to the USA.
The Champions were forced to bring on Carli Lloyd for Alex Morgan at half time after the latter had suffered a knock late in the first half. The USA started the second half as they had the first by grabbing another goal to double there lead but this one was more controversial. Rapinoe sent in a wicked aerial cross that Sweden couldn’t clear to Tobin Heath who shot at a tight angle past Lindahl. It was immediately sent upstairs to the VAR room for adjudication as to the cameras it appeared that Carli Lloyd who hadn’t touched the ball was in an offside position but the goal was allowed to stand. VAR and the controversial rule changes were left to rear their ugly head at this tournament once again.
The game fizzled out into a scrappy contest and the USA held on to there 2-0 victory & in the process not only winning the group but also breaking the record for goals scored at a men’s or women’s World Cup group stage with there tally of 18, beating Norway women in 1995 & Hungary men in 1954 who both scored 17. The USA next play Spain, while Sweden will play Canada in the last 16 with both games on Monday.