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US Takes Group With Sweden Win

Spain is next for defending champions
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 20, 2019 5:18 PM CDT
Kelley O Hara, left, of the US and Sweden's Fridolina Rolfo challenge for the ball during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match Thursday in Le Havre, France.   (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
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(Newser) – The defending champion US national team faced its toughest test of the Women's World Cup and remained dominant Thursday night, beating Sweden 2-0 for a measure of revenge against the team that stunned the confident Americans in the last Olympics. Lindsey Horan scored within the first three minutes, the fastest goal of this tournament, the AP reports. The US went up 2-0 on an own goal in the 50th minute that gave the Americans a tournament-record 18 goals in the group stage. The US did not concede a goal in its first three matches. "We needed this next level and we responded to that. That's the ignition we needed," US coach Jill Ellis said. While US fans dominated the crowds that watched the team's first two games in Le Havre, France, there were nearly as many Sweden supporters at the Stade Océane.

The US was on the attack from the start. Horan's goal came on a corner kick from Megan Rapinoe that bounced twice past two defenders and deflected off Samantha Mewis just 2:40 into the game. American goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher didn't face her first challenge until the 21st minute. In the 50th minute, Tobin Heath dribbled in front of Jonna Andersson, then blasted an angled shot from eight yards out that went over goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl at the near post. The goal was reviewed by VAR after it appeared Lloyd was offside, and it was determined to have come off Andersson for an own goal. Assured a spot in the round of 16 before the game, the US finished atop its group and will face Spain on Monday in Reims. The victory gives the top-ranked US a potentially more challenging path to the final. If the team can get by Spain, that could set up a quarterfinal clash against No. 4 France in front of its home fans in Paris, and then a possible meeting with No. 3 England in the semifinals.

(Read more US women's soccer stories.)

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