It’s been smooth sailing for the United States Women’s National Team thus far in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Stars & Stripes cruised to a 13-0 victory over Thailand last Tuesday and won 3-0 against Chile on Sunday. But this Thursday, the competition amps up.
The USWNT face off against an old foe in Sweden for first place in Group F. The two countries have a history after the Swedes sent the Americans home early during the 2016 Olympics.
Sweden has enjoyed a successful tournament to this point as well, also collecting wins over Thailand and Chile. They look to dethrone the USWNT from their position atop Group F by collecting a win on Thursday.
- The U.S. and Sweden are two of only seven countries to have competed in every FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sweden was the first opponent of the Stars & Stripes during the first tournament in 1991.
- U.S. head coach Jill Ellis accomplished a remarkable feat during Sunday’s 3-0 victory against Chile. Following that win, every field player available for the Americans played some minutes before the third game of the group stage.
- Forward Alex Morgan remains tied for the lead for the Golden Boot, despite having played in only one group stage match. Australian Sam Kerr tied Morgan with five goals, after Australia completed group stage play earlier this week.
- According to a report from Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, midfielder Julie Ertz picked up an injury and will not start this game. Wahl says the injury is not serious.
Given the squad rotation and rest that Jill Ellis provided her squad throughout the group stage, it isn’t unrealistic to think that the U.S. brings out the big guns against Sweden. Missing Ertz is a hit for sure but the Americans have the depth to fill in, most likely in Samantha Mewis. Expect outside backs Crystal Dunn and Kelley O’Hara to press high, Mewis drops back to cover on defense. Mewis will aid in the U.S. ability to build out of the back and work through the Swedish midfield.
Lindsey Horan will support Rose Lavelle in the attack as Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and Alex Morgan look to get in behind the defense to generate quality attempts on the Swedes goal.
How to watch:
Date/Time: Thursday June 20th, 3:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Le Havre, France
Stream: Fox Sports GO