USWNT Kick Off Olympics Against Familiar Foes

After a year’s delay, the USWNT will look to follow-up their 2019 World Cup title and seek to win their fifth gold medal (no women’s team has won the World Cup and Olympic gold back-to-back) as they kick off play at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. They start with a Group G matchup against Sweden, the fifth ranked team in the world, and the team who knocked them out of the 2016 Rio Olympics in the Quarterfinals via penalties. It was the first time the US hadn’t medaled in the women’s Olympic soccer tournament in team history.

Sweden will be the USWNT’s toughest opponent in Group G, which also includes Australia (ranked No. 9 in the world) and New Zealand (No. 22). The USWNT have been rolling in 2021 winning 11 of their 12 matches with the lone tie against, you guessed it, Sweden. The two teams met in April and played to a 1-1 draw, a game in which Sweden looked like the better team for the majority of the match.  However, the number one ranked U.S. squad still remains the favorites for the match and for the tournament. 

Projected Starting Lineups:

U.S.

This will be Vlatko Andonosvski’s first major tournament at the helm of the USWNT. In his 23 games as the head manager he’s been consistent with his 4-3-3 formation and his starting lineups, and I wouldn’t expect much to change. The only player we should keep an eye on is midfielder Julie Ertz. She’s been sidelined with a knee injury since May and we didn’t get to see her in any of the games leading up to Tokyo, however, she has been seen in full training in Japan. If she isn’t available to start, Lindsey Horan has done well in her place in the six spot. 

USWNT projected starters (4-3-3, left to right): 1-Alyssa Naeher — 2-Crystal Dunn, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 17-Abby Dahlkemper, 5-Kelley O’Hara — 3-Samantha Mewis, 9-Lindsey Horan, 16-Rose Lavelle — 15-Megan Rapinoe, 10-Carli Lloyd, 11-Christen Press

Sweden

Sweden projected starters (5-2-3, left to right): 1-Hedvig Lindahl — 2-Jonna Andersson, 6-Magdalena Eriksson, 14-Nathalie Bjorn, 13-Amanda Ilestedt, 4-Hanna Glas — 17-Caroline Seger, 9-Kosovare Asllani — 8-Lina Hurtig, 11-Stina Blackstenius, 10-Sofia Jakobsson

Prediction:

This will be another fun, tightly contested game between two teams who know each other well, but ultimately I think the USWNT’s fitness and pressure will find a way to squeak one through the Swedish defense. USA 1 Sweden 0. 

Match Info:

Date: Wednesday, July 21st 

Time: 4:30 a.m. ET

Location: Tokyo Stadium 

How to watch: In the United States, it will be live on USA Network and Telemundo, with streaming coverage also provided at NBCOlympics.com and through the Telemundo Deportes App. The match will also be replayed later that day on NBCSN at 8:30 a.m. ET and 6 p.m. ET.

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