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Women’s football Sweden shock US favourites with 3-0 group stage victory

STINA BLACKSTENIUS scored a pair of goals as Sweden once again stunned the United States at the Olympics with a 3-0 win today.

The Americans, ranked first in the world and the favourites to win gold in Tokyo, were on a 44-match unbeaten streak heading into the match.

Sweden, ranked fifth, were already seen as a nemesis of the US team, having dumped them out of the 2016 Rio Games in the quarter-finals — the earliest ever US Olympic exit.

Blackstenius’s header into the far corner in the 26th minute gave Sweden a first-half lead, before she scored again in the 54th minute as the US continued to labour. Lina Hurtig then scored in the 72nd to seal the favourites’ fate.

“Did we expect this result tonight? No,” said US forward Megan Rapinoe, who came on as a substitute in the 64th minute with the score at 2-0. 

“It’s frustrating, and it’s frustrating that it’s Sweden. They found a lot of space on us. I don’t even know how many goals we have given up this whole year. I don’t remember the last time we gave up a goal. So to give up three is not great.”

“It is what it is,” she continued. “We got bopped, and we have two more games coming quick and fast. And now we know exactly what we need to do. We need to win these games and eventually get out of the group and go from there.”

Sweden now lead Group G heading into Saturday’s game against Australia, who beat Antipodean rivals New Zealand 2-1. The US will play the Kiwis on the same day, also in the Tokyo suburb of Saitama.

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