Tokyo 2020: Rapinoe charges USWNT players after 3-0 loss to Sweden
FIFA Women’s World Cup star Megan Rapinoe has charged her United States Women’s national teammates to shake the shock defeat against Sweden in their Olympics opener on Wednesday.
Rapinoe stressed that the USWNT must move on quickly from the surprising 3-0 loss to Sweden that saw a 44-match unbeaten record end. The world champions and world No. 1-ranked side was undone by two Stina Blackstenius goals and one from Lina Hurtig.
Speaking after the match, Rapinoe said: "We got our asses kicked, didn't we? ... I thought we were a little tight, a little nervous, just doing dumb stuff. There's no time to dwell and think about if Sweden is living in our heads or not. We've got another game in three days."
The United States have dominated this event in the Olympic games in recent tournaments, they have won the gold medal on four different occasions. However, no side has won the gold medal of the women’s football tournament at the Olympic games while defending the world cup.
Sweden went into the game as underdogs but are a strong side on their own. Peter Gerhardsson's side are ranked No. 5 in the world. They have managed to get better results against the USWNT in recent meetings than other sides.
The Swedes bounced the Americans from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games in the quarterfinals, their earliest U.S. Olympic exit ever, by making a defensive stand. In April, Sweden got a 1-1 draw against the US in Stockholm, ending a winning streak dating back to January 2019.
"Did we expect this result tonight? No. "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," Rapinoe added.
Sweden leads Group G heading into Saturday's game against Australia in Saitama, while the United States faces New Zealand.