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US Women's Soccer Suffers Huge Blow in Olympic Start

US women's soccer team last lost a match in January 2019
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2021 10:18 AM CDT

(Newser) – Team USA got off to a rough start at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday as a 44-game unbeaten streak for the US women's national soccer team came to a sudden end. Sweden easily defeated the squad 3-0, with two goals from Stina Blackstenius and another from Linda Hurtig. The US only managed to strike the goal post—twice. It was the first time in 73 games that the USWNT, the reigning World Cup champions, failed to score, per NBC Sports. It was also the first time since 2011 that the team lost a competitive game in regulation, and the first time since 2008 that the team lost a game in a major tournament by multiple goals. The USWNT had earned 40 wins and four draws since its last defeat in a friendly match against France in January 2019, per CNN.

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Sweden also defeated the USWNT in a quarterfinals shootout when the teams last met at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Sweden ultimately took home silver. "But nobody expected them to win 3-0" on Wednesday, writes NBC Sports' Joe Prince-Wright. With Tuesday's "incredible display," Sweden has now usurped the position as favorite to win gold, he adds. "Sweden was unquestionably the better team … with the US looking a shadow of the side that won the World Cup two years ago," writes CNN's Matias Grez. "I thought we were a little bit nervous, a bit tight, doing dumb stuff," US forward Megan Rapinoe said, per the BBC. "We've got to get positive results in the next two games," added coach Vlatko Andonovski. The US faces New Zealand on Saturday and Australia on Tuesday. (Read more US women's soccer stories.)

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