Just one day into the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Sweden have already delivered the shock of the women’s football tournament.
As a result of two goals from Stina Blackstenius and one from Lina Hurtig, Sweden comfortably beat the United States 3-0 at Tokyo Stadium.
The US, four-time world and Olympic champions, looked out of sorts as their winning streak of 44 games came to an end. Sweden were clinical in attack and successfully nullified the attacking threat of Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle and Christen Press.
This is the second successive time Sweden have defeated the US at the Olympic Games. They last overcame the Americans in the quarter-finals of Rio 2016.
Following the defeat five years ago, US goalkeeper Hope Solo gave one of the most astonishing post-match interviews in football history. GiveMeSport Women looks back at the controversial occasion.
Sweden vs USA at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Sweden and the US met at the Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha in Brasília for the quarter-finals of the women’s football tournament at Rio 2016.
The US were the defending champions and favourites to win the clash, having finished top of Group G to progress to the knockout stages. In contrast, Sweden scraped through to the quarter-finals as one of the best third-placed teams.
Nearly 14,000 people were in attendance as the US and Sweden took to the pitch, but they had to wait 61 minutes before the first goal. Blackstenius gave Sweden a shock lead, before Morgan equalised for the Americans 16 minutes later.
The match remained at 1-1 during extra-time, before going to a penalty shoot-out. Morgan and Press both failed to score their spot kicks, while only Linda Sembrant was unsuccessful for Sweden.
Having held out against the US in the quarter-finals, Sweden progressed all the way to the final, where they lost 2-1 to Germany.
Sweden branded a “bunch of cowards”
Solo, who had been in goal for the US during the penalty shoot-outs, did not respond well to the defeat. She gave one of the most outrageous post-match interviews of all time, branding Sweden a “bunch of cowards” for their defensive set-up.
"I'm very proud of this team," she told reporters. "But I also think we played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today. I think you saw American heart. You saw us give everything we had today. Sweden dropped off. They didn't want to open play. They didn't want to pass the ball. They didn't want to play great soccer."
"I don't think they're going to make it far in the tournament. I think it was very cowardly."
Swedish coach Pia Sundhage, who led the US to Olympic gold at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, was typically blunt about Solo’s outburst. "I don’t give a crap," she said after the game. "I’m going to Rio, she’s going home."
Solo later conceded: "Losing sucks. I’m really bad at it." Despite this, she refused to apologise and later received a six month suspension from US Soccer. This incident essentially marked the end of her international career.News Now - Sport News