For the first time since 2015, the U.S. Women’s National Team will travel abroad for a pair of friendlies, starting with a stop at Gamla Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg to face Sweden on June 8 at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and UDN. The game will be the first meeting between the two since the heartbreaking quarterfinal loss for the WNT in penalty kicks at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, where Sweden went on to win the silver medal.
Besides the topic of redemption for the U.S. Women, as well as the continuous preparation towards qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, the USA vs. Sweden match also includes a handful of interesting storylines. It brings together a former coach and her former players; a former coach and former assistant coach; a couple of old teammates and a long, competitive history on the field for both programs.
Sweden is coached by former U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage, who led the USA to gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Sundhage was also at the helm for the USA’s runner-up finish at the 2011 Women’s World Cup. During her stint as head coach from 2008-12, Sundhage won three Algarve Cup titles and was named the 2012 FIFA Women’s World Coach of the Year.
Sundhage worked alongside current head coach Jill Ellis while she was in the USA, however since she returned to her native land to coach Sweden, the teams have met only four times in very close games, with two of them under the leadership of Ellis as the other two were under former head coach Tom Sermanni. The USA has failed to win any of those games, tying three and losing one (the game at the Olympics officially counts as a tie). The teams tied 1-1 at the Algarve Cup in 2013; the USA then lost 1-0 at the Algarve Cup in 2014. Then there was the 0-0 draw at the Women’s World Cup in 2015 (where the U.S. of course went on to win the title), and the 1-1 (3-4 pks) draw at the Olympics in Brazil last August that the U.S. lost in penalty kicks.
Six players on this current roster earned at least one cap under Sundhage. These players are: Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara, Meghan Klingenberg, Sydney Leroux, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe.
Beyond the coaching ties, a few players on this roster also spent various amounts of time playing in Sweden. Christen Press (Tyresö FF), and Klingenberg (Tyresö FF) both played with and against many of the Sweden National Team players, while a few others played with them in clubs outside Sweden, such as Carli Lloyd and Kosovare Asllani in Manchester City; Asllani and Lindsey Horan at PSG and Hedvig Lindahl and Crystal Dunn at Chelsea.
Sweden is currently preparing for the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro that kicks off in the Netherlands on July 16. While the game against 6th-ranked Sweden may be a friendly, the implications are a bit greater, as the WNT players will arrive with a chip on their shoulders and a desire to prove themselves in what is now one of the most competitive rivalries among the world’s top teams in recent years.
The USA has played against Sweden in Sweden just twice before, a 1-0 win in Skelleftea in the summer of 2008 as Carli Lloyd scored the USA’s lone goal and a 3-1 win in Halmstad in the summer of 2012 as Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath scored. Sweden’s all-time leading scorer Lotta Schelin tallied for her country.Read more
The U.S. Women’s National Team will play Sweden on June 8 at the Gamla Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg as part of a two-game tour of Scandinavia that will also see the USA face Norway on June 11 at Komplett Arena in Sandefjord, which is located on the southeast coast about 75 miles south of Oslo.
Here are five things to know about the Sweden Women’s National Team:
Sweden Women’s National Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (3): 12-Hilda Carlén (Piteå IF), 1-Hedvig Lindahl (Chelsea FC, ENG), 21-Emelie Lundberg (Eskilstuna United DFF)
DEFENDERS (8): 2-Joanna Andersson (Linköpings FC), 4-Emma Berglund (FC Rosengård), 13-Nathalie Björn (Eskilstuna United DFF), 6-Magdalena Eriksson (Linköpings FC), 5-Nilla Fischer (VfL Wolfsburg, GER), 16-Hanna Glas (Eskilstuna United DFF), 15-Jessica Samuelsson (Linköpings FC), 3-Linda Sembrant (Montpellier Hérault SC)
MIDFIELDERS (11): 27-Tove Almqvist (Linköpings FC), 26-Fanny Andersson (KIF Örebro DDF), 7-Lisa Dahlkvist (KIF Örebro DFF), 10-Lina Hurtig (Liköpings FC), 24-Josefin Johansson (Piteå IF), 22-Olivia Schough (Eskilstuna United DFF), 23-Elin Rubensson (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC), 17-Carolina Seger (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA), 25-Petra Andersson (Eskilstuna United DFF), 10-Julia Spetsmark (KIF Örebro DFF), 14-Hanna Folkesson (FC Rosengard),
FORWARDS (6): 9-Kosovare Asllani (Manchester City FC, ENG), 11-Stina Blackstenius (Montpellier FC, FRA), 19-Pauline Hammarlund (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC), 20-Mimi Larsson (Eskilstuna United DFF), 18-Fridolina Rolfö (FC Bayern Munich, GER), 8-Lotta Schlein (FC Rosengård)
Sweden vs. United States
One of the U.S. WNT's most common opponents, Sweden has played the U.S. 37 times and the Europeans have an overall record of 6-20-11 (W-L-D) against the U.S. The teams' first meeting came in 1987, a 2-1 win for the Swedes in Blaine, Minnesota. More recently, the two sides met in the group stage of the 2015 Women's World Cup in Winnipeg which ended in a 0-0 draw; and in the quarterfinal of the 2016 Olympics, a 1-1 draw after extra time that Sweden went on to win in penalty kicks. Sweden's last win against the United States was in the 2013 Algarve Cup, a 1-0 victory for the Europeans as Lotta Schelin scored the lone goal.
Sweden head coach Pia Sundhage is a former U.S. WNT head coach who led the USA to gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic tournaments and a runner-up finish at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. A former Swedish international, Sundhage stepped down and took the manager position in her native Sweden after the 2012 triumph in London. Since taking over Sweden, she has led them to a third place finish in the UEFA Women's Championship in 2013 which was hosted in Sweden, and led them to the knockout stages of the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada and a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics, the program’s best finish in its history. In four meetings against her former side, Sundhage has yet to lose, winning 1-0 in the 2013 Algarve Cup and drawing three times.
Five players on Sweden’s roster have made over 100 appearances for the national team including forward and captain Lotta Schelin (178 caps) who has 86 international goals and is Sweden’s leading scorer and most-capped player. The other four are goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl (136 caps); versatile defender Nilla Fischer (157 caps; 22 goals) who's won a UEFA Women's Champions League medal with VfL Wolfsburg and has a knack for finding key goals; and the veteran and excellent midfield duo of Caroline Seger (168 caps; 23 goals) and Lisa Dahlkvist (127 caps; 11 goals). Seger currently plays for Olympique Lyonnais alongside U.S. WNT forward Alex Morgan.
99 Caps for Kosovare Asllani
About to join the 100 caps club is proficient striker Kosovare Asllani, who with 27 goals in 99 caps, is the second highest scorer in the Sweden roster behind Schelin. She has been playing club soccer for Manchester City in England since 2016, and most recently spent time with WNT co-captain Carli Lloyd, who played for the club the past five months. Previous to her stint in England, Asllani played for Paris Saint-Germain in France, where she was teammates with WNT midfielder Lindsey Horan. Asllani will reach the century mark if she plays against the U.S. on June 8.
So Far in 2017
Sweden has had a bumpy start to 2017, finishing in seventh place at the 2017 Algarve Cup. The Sweden women kicked off their year with a 2-1 loss against Norway on Jan. 19 in a friendly match in Spain. Sofia Jakobsson scored the only goal for Sweden for an early 1-0 lead, but Norway came back with two goals in five minutes to flip the score. Five days later, Sweden faced England in another friendly but neither team was able to produce a goal.
At the Algarve Cup, Sweden was drawn into Group C alongside Australia, Netherlands and China PR. The Swedes defeated Australia 1-0 on a goal from Lotta Schelin, drew China 0-0 and fell to the Netherlands 0-1 in its final group game. With only four points after three games in a tough group, Sweden finished third in the Group C standings and went on to play in the seventh-place match against Russia, winning easily 4-0 on two goals from Kosovare Asllani and one each from Nilla Fischer and Fridolina Rolfö. Most recently, Sweden faced Canada on April 6 in a friendly in Trelleborg, Sweden, where it fell 1-0 to the North Americans.
Sweden had a pretty easy path through Euro Qualifying as it was drawn into a group with Poland, Denmark, Moldova and Slovakia. Sweden won seven of its matches, six of them by shutouts, and dropped its second to last match 2-0 to Denmark. Sweden’s top scorers were Kosovare Asllani and Fridolina Rolfö with three goals each, but 13 players combined to score the 22 goals, thus showing a lot of versatility and goal-scoring prowess on the roster. The Swedes only allowed three goals through the eight matches of qualification. Sweden kicks off EURO Group B play on July 18 against defending European champion, Germany. Also drawn into Group B were Italy and Russia.
BRASILIA, Brazil (Aug. 12, 2016) – The U.S. Women’s National Team fell to Sweden 4-3 in a penalty shootout after drawing 1-1 through 120 minutes of U.S. dominated action at Mané Garrincha Stadium in the quarterfinal round of the 2016 Olympic Games.
Sweden was content to soak up U.S. pressure throughout the match and into extra time, dropping deep into its own half and looking for the counter-attack. The USA out-shot Sweden 27-6, but put just six shots on goal.
Sweden took the lead against the run of play in the 61st minute through Stina Blackstenius’ opportunistic counter attacking strike. Alex Morgan replied 16 minutes later, but the U.S. could not find another through regulation and overtime as Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl had a fine game.
Lisa Dahlkvist struck the winning penalty kick for Sweden on the fifth and final kick of the shootout to knock the USA out of the Olympic Games before the semifinal round for the first time in history. Morgan, who sent the match to extra time when she scored the USA’s equalizer in the 77th minute of regulation, had her shot saved in the opening round of the shootout before U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo made one save in the third round to reignite the USA’s chances. However, forward Christen Press sent her shot over the bar and Solo was unable to stop Dahlkvist, setting off a wild celebration from the Sweden team.
The U.S. will return to action in September with matches against Thailand on Sept. 15 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio and the Netherlands on Sept. 18 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Kick off times and TV information will be announced at a later date.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
SWE – Stina Blackstenius (Lisa Dahlkvist), 61st minute: Sweden won possession of the ball deep in their own half and Kosovare Asllani played a short sideways pass to Lisa Dahlkvist who’s one-touch pass split the USA center back pairing for Blackstenius to run onto. As she entered the box, Julie Johnston closed in with a sliding tackle, but Blckstenius got off the shot at the last moment and it rolled across goal into the far left side netting. USA 0, SWE 1 (SEE GOAL)
USA – Alex Morgan, 77th minute: A clearance by Sweden was collected by the USA and worked through midfield out to Tobin Heath on the right wing. Heath sent a long, searching pass into the box that sailed beyond Crystal Dunn and ricocheted off Sweden defender Jessica Samuelsson into the center of the six-yard box and into the path of Morgan who screened off her defender and lashed a first-time left footed shot into the left side of the goal. USA 1, SWE 1 (SEE GOAL)
USA – Alex Morgan: Morgan’s shot to the left side was saved by Hedvig Lindahl. USA 0, SWE 0
SWE – Lotta Schelin: Schelin’s shot to the left side went in as Hope Solo guessed the other way. USA 0, SWE 1
USA – Lindsey Horan: Horan shot to the lower left corner to score. USA 1, SWE 1
SWE – Kosovare Asllani: Asllani sent her shot into the right side of the net as Solo jumped the other way. USA 1, SWE 2
USA – Carli Lloyd: Lloyd sent her shot into the upper left side with power, leaving Lindahl, who guessed correctly, no chance to save. USA 2, SWE 2
SWE – Linda Sembrant: Sembrant’s shot to the top left was saved by Solo who punched the ball over top of the net. USA 2, SWE 2
USA – Morgan Brian: Brian’s quick shot was unstoppable as it sailed high into the left side netting. USA 3, SWE 2
SWE – Caroline Seger: Seger shot to the right with a hard attempt that got past Solo, who guessed correctly. USA 3, SWE 3
USA – Christen Press: Press sent her shot over the top left side of the goal. USA 3, SWE 3
SWE – Lisa Dahlkvist: Dahlkvist sent her shot into the right side of the net as Solo jumped to the left. USA 3, SWE 4. FINAL
Next on the Schedule: The USA returns Stateside for a pair of September matches. The team will first play Thailand on Sept. 15 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, before heading down south to Atlanta for a game against the Netherlands at the Georgia Dome on Sept. 18. Kickoff and TV information will be announced at a later date.
- The USA is now 16-0-3 in 2016. The team has scored 58 goals while allowing just seven.
- The USA started in a 4-3-3 formation with the same lineup that featured in the opening match of the tournament. Alex Morgan at striker with Tobin Heath and Mallory Pugh on the wings. Carli Lloyd and Morgan Brian were the attacking midfielders with Allie Long at holding mid. Kelley O’Hara was at right back, Meghan Klingenberg at left back, while Julie Johnston and Becky Sauerbrunn patrolled the middle of the backline. Hope Solo was in goal for her fourth consecutive Olympic match. Lloyd wore the captain’s armband the USA.
- The backline of Solo, O’Hara, Johnston, Sauerbrunn and Klingenberg, which was reunited for the first time since the USA’s tournament opening win vs. New Zealand, started together for the 10th time in 2016.
- Since Pia Sundhage returned to her native land to coach Sweden, the teams have now met four times in very close games and the USA has drawn three and lost one. The teams tied 1-1 at the Algarve Cup in 2013, the USA lost 1-0 at the Algarve Cup in 2014 and then there was the 0-0 at the Women's World Cup last summer. Tom Sermanni was the USA head coach for the first two games while Jill Ellis was the U.S. coach in the WWC.
- Morgan, who has 69 career goals, is in eighth place on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list and closing in on Cindy Parlow who has 75. Morgan has six Olympic goals, good for third on the USA’s all-time list behind Lloyd (8) and Abby Wambach (10).
Lineup Notes: USA vs. Sweden: Olympic Semifinal Berth on the Line
USA vs. Sweden
Aug. 12, 2016
Mane Garrincha Stadium
Live Broadcast: NBCSN
Tonight’s U.S. WNT Starting XI vs. Sweden: 1-Hope Solo; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 8-Julie Johnston, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 7-Meghan Klingenberg; 3-Allie Long, 14-Morgan Brian, 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.); 17-Tobin Heath, 13-Alex Morgan, 2-Mallory Pugh
Subs: 6-Whitney Engen, 9-Lindsey Horan, 11-Ali Krieger, 12-Christen Press, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 16-Crystal Dunn, 18-Alyssa Naeher
- The USA will start in a 4-3-3 formation with the same lineup that featured in the opening match of the tournament. Alex Morgan is at striker with Tobin Heath and Mallory Pugh on the wings. Carli Lloyd and Morgan Brian are the attacking midfielders with Allie Long at holding mid. Kelley O’Hara is at right back, Meghan Klingenberg is at left back, while Julie Johnston and Becky Sauerbrunn patrol the middle of the backline. Hope Solo is in goal for her fourth consecutive Olympic match. Lloyd will captain the USA.
- Six players in today’s starting lineup took the field against Sweden in the most recent meeting between the teams at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. They are: Solo, Sauerbrunn, Johnston, Klingenberg, Brian and Lloyd. Morgan went in as a late second half sub. The match ended in a scoreless draw.
- The backline of Solo, O’Hara, Johnston, Sauerbrunn and Klingenberg, which has been reunited for the first time since the USA’s tournament opening win vs. New Zealand, will start together for the 10th time in 2016.
- Three players in the lineup have scored goals for the USA in Olympic competition: Lloyd (8), Morgan (5), and Pugh (1). Lloyd is two goals way from tying Abby Wambach’s U.S. record of 10 Olympic goals. Lloyd and Morgan have combined for 23 of the USA’s 57 goals in 2016.
- Lloyd earns her 228th cap and 16th in Olympics competition, tied with Solo for the most on the team. She is the most-capped player at the 2016 Olympic Football tournament.
- Lloyd scored in two of the three group games for the WNT, increasing her career total to 90 goals, including 11 in 2016. She also added an assist in group play to up her total to six in 2016, tying for second-best on the team with Heath, and one behind team-leader Pugh (7).
- Pugh, who has scored four goals in 2016, became the youngest American female player to start in an Olympic match when she took the field against New Zealand on Aug. 3.
- With her goal against Colombia on Aug, 9, Pugh became the youngest U.S. player to score in the Olympics as Cindy Parlow did not find the net in 1996.
- Pugh was 18 years, 3 months and 11 days old when she scored against Colombia on Aug. 9. Landon Donovan was the youngest male player to score in an Olympics at 18 years, 6 months and 15 days old when he scored in the 2000 Olympics during a 3-1 win vs. Kuwait in Melbourne, Australia on Sept. 19 in the USA's final group game (the U.S. won the group).
- Morgan, who has 68 career goals, is in eighth place on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list and is closing in on Cindy Parlow who has 75.
- Morgan and O’Hara will earn their 10th Olympic cap today, while Heath earns her 12th.
- Solo is slated to earn her 202nd cap, which would move her past Kate Markgraf into 10th place on the all-time caps list.
She earned her 200th cap against France on Aug. 6, becoming the first goalkeeper in international soccer history to achieve that mark. Solo also comes into the match with 153 wins.
- Solo comes into today’s match with 102 career shutouts. She became the first goalkeeper in soccer history to reach the 100 mark on July 9 against South Africa.
Solo has 14 wins in 2016, including 12 by shutout, one shy of her high of 13 shutouts in a calendar year achieved in another Olympic year, 2008. Solo has earned shutouts against 29 different countries.
- Brian earned her 50th cap at the young age of 23 on March 6. She will earn her 58th cap today, while Kelley O'Hara will earn her 86th cap to go along with her two international goals.
- Solo will make her 195th start today, the most starts by a WNT goalkeeper and is in 8th place on the WNT’s all-time starts list behind Lloyd, who with today’s start, has 198.