Sweden ends USA’s women’s 44-game run

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Four-time Olympic champion the United States suffered a first defeat in 45 matches on Wednesday as it lost 3-0 to Sweden in their opening game of the women’s football tournament in Tokyo.

Stina Blackstenius scored twice and Lina Hurtig added a third goal to give 2016 silver medallists Sweden a dream start to their Group-G campaign at a Tokyo Stadium devoid of fans due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The US, which goes on to play New Zealand and Australia in its next two group games, hadn’t lost since going down 3-1 to France in a friendly in January 2019.

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“We got bopped,” said US forward Megan Rapinoe. “I thought we were a little bit nervous, a bit tight, doing dumb stuff.”

It was just the second loss over 90 minutes for the US at the Olympics. It was beaten in the first game of the 2008 tournament, but still went on to win gold in Beijing.

“It’s obvious we put ourselves in a big hole, but we’re the only ones who can get ourselves out of it,” said US coach Vlatko Andonovski.

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Sweden coach’s caution

Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson warned his players not to become overconfident after their stunning performance.

“Yes, naturally (that can happen), but we also just know we can be happy for three points,” he said.

“But it’s a long tournament. Six games in 17 days if you go all the way. We are not in the quarterfinals yet so we have to get better in every game.”

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The results:

Group E (In Sapporo): Britain 2 (White 17, 72) bt Chile 0.

Group F (In Miyagi): China 0 lost to Brazil 5 (Marta 9, 74, Debinha 22, Andressa 82-pen, Beatriz 89)

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Group G (In Tokyo): Sweden 3 (Blackstenius 25, 55, Hurtig 72) bt United States 0.

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