USA blanks Sweden, wins Group F at Women's World Cup


- One of the biggest rivalries in Women's World Cup history is finally upon us, as Sweden and the USA meet on the field Thursday, June 20 in one of the most-anticipated matches of the tournament. She scored two goals against an overmatched Thailand side last week, but Thursday's performance in a 2-0 win over Sweden was even better, despite her not getting on the scoresheet.

Later, in the second half of the match, the Federation Internationale de Football Association bosses made a decision to not credit Heath for this goal but rather credit it as an own goal by Sweden.

The U.S. had emphatic wins in the group stage, routing Thailand 13-0 in the opener before more clinical victories over Chile and Sweden.

If the US wins Group F, they would play the Group B second place team on Monday, June 24 at 12 p.m. ET. All four teams play each other, then the top two teams from each group, plus the top four teams from all of the groups, enter into the knockout stage. Already knowing that the United States would advance to the next stage of the tournament, Jill Ellis took no chances and rested one of her best goal scorers. That means at least one of Thursday's starters will likely move to the bench.

Canada plays Sweden on Monday in Paris. They do have several players capable of putting the ball in the back of the net, with four players netting double digit goals at the worldwide level.

The absence of competition in a wipeout against Thailand and a convincing triumph against Chile left the United States yearning for a harder game.

The U.S. women's team filed a lawsuit back home earlier this year that accuses its federation of gender discrimination and seeks equitable pay to the men's team. The last time the USA team won all three group matches was 2003.

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"This record doesn't belong to me, it belongs to all of us", she said after the game. The US prevailed in that game by a score of 1-0, with Christen Press netting the only goal of the game.

The second half saw Alex Morgan exit the match to be replaced by Carli Lloyd. It was later ruled an own goal by defender, Jonna Andersson.

"We know after two matches we were done and we have complete control of the players, with the medical team, we knew who was at 100% and we knew we had a knockout match on Monday that was the most important one".

She added: "Alex took a knock in the first half and I think it was more being smart about it, and similar to Julie who took a hip contusion".

"It was really purposeful why we wanted to play them earlier in the year".

Sinclair is now just two goals away from matching the global record set by former USA forward Abby Wambach. This is the quickest goal in the tournament so far!

The health of Ertz and Morgan are concerns and so is the draw in the Americans' bid bid to repeat as champions. Nevertheless, two key players suffering fitness problems is not ideal preparation for a run at a World Cup defense. This time around, however, things have gone much better and they are making their first ever appearance in the knockout rounds of this tournament.