The return of Pia.
- Kickoff: June 12th, 8:00 PM EST • FOX, NBC Universo
- Location: Winnipeg Stadium, Winnipeg, Canada
These two have met in the World Cup previously in four matches, and the USWNT has won three of those and lost one. If the past is an indicator, this could be a high-scoring affair. Total goals scored between these two is nine for the US and five for Sweden. As we mentioned in our Explainer the current coach of Sweden is Pia Sundhage, the previous coach of the USWNT. Under Sundhage’s reign, the US won two Olympic gold medals and lost the 2011 World Cup on penalties. She also caused a little bit of fuss with recent remarks to which some have taken offense but are generally held to be accurate.
The result of the USWNT’s first game was as expected. How they got there was not. During the first half, the U.S. was outplayed, and if not for the efforts of Hope Solo they would’ve had quite a mountain to climb. In the second half, the depth and conditioning of the USWNT came into play and they started to exert control of the game. Abby Wambach will continue to be the focus of defenders, and this benefits the other attackers. Sydney Leroux will have to do better, and supposed super sub Alex Morgan is still getting match fit. Sweden will definitely be keeping an even closer eye on Megan Rapinoe, who had a stellar game with two goals against Australia.
In theory this group was to be a battle between the U.S. and Sweden with the other teams fighting for the scraps. Nigeria, however, had other plans and used their speed to outrun Sweden. They were rewarded with a draw. Center back Emma Berglund went down with an injury in the second half, and it’s unknown if she’ll be back. Look for a return of Linda Sembrant who came off the bench and gave Sweden a brief lead.
THE X FACTORS
Will the comments by former USWNT coach Pia Sundhage get under the skin of the USWNT players? I don’t think so, but you never know. Even if they don’t, Sundhage coached many of these U.S. players and so will be familiar with their tendencies. There was also a bit of sour grapes from the Australian national team. It appears that everyone is taking potshots at the perceived biggest threat in the group, and now we just have to see if that adds fuel to the fire or causes actual doubt in the U.S. players’ minds.