CHICAGO (April 7, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Team will play Sweden on June 8 at the Gamla Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg as part of a two-game tour of Scandinavia that will also see the USA face Norway on June 11 at Komplett Arena in Sandefjord, which is located on the southeast coast about 75 miles south of Oslo.
“We are playing some high-level matches at home this year, but it’s also extremely valuable to take the team overseas and deal with the challenges that the travel and playing in these kinds of environments present,” U.S. head coach Jill Ellis said. “With the next World Cup in France, any games we can get in Europe are a positive, especially against two teams that will be sharp and in the final stages of their preparations for the Euros. Sweden and Norway both have experienced, talented players and always present different kinds of challenges for us, which is what we enjoy and need.”
The match against Sweden will kick off at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and Univision Deportes Network (7:30 p.m. local time) and will mark the first meeting between the teams since the quarterfinal of the 2016 Olympics which saw Sweden triumph in a penalty kick shootout after a 1-1 tie through regulation and overtime. Gamla Ullevi seats just over 18,000 fans and is considered the national stadium for the Sweden Women’s National Team.
The match against Norway will kick off at 1:15 p.m. ET on FOX (7:15 p.m. local time) and will mark the 50th meeting between the historic rivals who combined to win the first five FIFA world championships for women.
Both Sweden and Norway are preparing for the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro that kicks off in the Netherlands on July 16.
- Sweden is currently ranked 6th in the world, tied with Japan.
- The USA has played Sweden 37 times dating back to 1987 and the USA leads the all-time series with a record of 20-6-11. Only China PR (13 draws) have tied the USA as many times as Sweden.
- In the last 12 matches with Sweden dating back to 2010, the USA is 4-3-5, making for one of the most competitive rivalries among the world’s top teams in recent years.
- The USA has failed to beat Sweden in the last four games between the teams, losing 1-0 at the Algarve Cup in 2014, tying 1-1 at the Algarve Cup in 2013, tying 0-0 in group play at the 2015 Women’s World Cup and falling in penalties at the 2016 Olympics. The USA outshot Sweden in of those four matches and by a combined 69-24.
- The USA has played against Sweden in Sweden just twice before, a 1-0 win in Skelleftea in the summer of 2008 as Carli Lloyd scored the USA’s lone goal and a 3-1 win in Halmstad in the summer of 2012 as Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath scored. Sweden’s all-time leading scorer Lotta Schelin tallied for her country.
- The U.S. Women went on a similar trip in the summer of 2008, but played in Norway first, a 4-0 win in Fredrikstad, before heading to Skelleftea and earning the 1-0 victory.
The U.S. Women’s National Team will play Sweden on June 8 at the Gamla Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg as part of a two-game tour of Scandinavia that will also see the USA face Norway on June 11 at Komplett Arena in Sandefjord, which is located on the southeast coast about 75 miles south of Oslo.
Here are five things to know about the Sweden Women’s National Team:
Sweden vs. United States
One of the U.S. WNT's most common opponents, Sweden has played the U.S. 37 times and the Europeans have an overall record of 6-20-11 (W-L-D) against the U.S. The teams' first meeting came in 1987, a 2-1 win for the Swedes in Blaine, Minnesota. More recently, the two sides met in the group stage of the 2015 Women's World Cup in Winnipeg which ended in a 0-0 draw; and in the quarterfinal of the 2016 Olympics, a 1-1 draw after extra time that Sweden went on to win in penalty kicks. Sweden's last win against the United States was in the 2013 Algarve Cup, a 1-0 victory for the Europeans as Lotta Schelin scored the lone goal.
Sweden head coach Pia Sundhage is a former U.S. WNT head coach who led the USA to gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic tournaments and a runner-up finish at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. A former Swedish international, Sundhage stepped down and took the manager position in her native Sweden after the 2012 triumph in London. Since taking over Sweden, she has led them to a third place finish in the UEFA Women's Championship in 2013 which was hosted in Sweden, and led them to the knockout stages of the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada and a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics, the program’s best finish in its history. In four meetings against her former side, Sundhage has yet to lose, winning 1-0 in the 2013 Algarve Cup and drawing three times.
Five players on Sweden’s most recent roster that competed at the 2017 Algarve Cup have made over 100 appearances for the national team including forward and captain Lotta Schelin (178 caps) who has 86 goals international goals and is Sweden’s lead scorer and most-capped player. The other four are goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl (136 caps); versatile defender Nilla Fischer (157 caps; 22 goals) who's won a UEFA Women's Champions League medal with VfL Wolfsburg and has a knack for finding key goals; and the veteran and excellent midfield duo of Caroline Seger (168 caps; 23 goals) and Lisa Dahlkvist (127 caps; 11 goals). Seger currently plays for Olympique Lyonnais alongside U.S. WNT forward Alex Morgan.
So Far in 2017
Sweden has had a bumpy start to 2017, finishing in seventh place at the 2017 Algarve Cup. The Sweden women kicked off their year with a 2-1 loss against Norway on Jan. 19 in a friendly match in Spain. Sofia Jakobsson scored the only goal for Sweden for an early 1-0 lead, but Norway came back with two goals in five minutes to flip the score. Five days later, Sweden faced England in another friendly but neither team was able to produce a goal.
At the Algarve Cup, Sweden was drawn into Group C alongside Australia, Netherlands and China PR. The Swedes defeated Australia 1-0 on a goal from Lotta Schelin, drew Sweden 0-0 and fell to the Netherlands 0-1 in its final group game. With only four points after three games in a tough group, Sweden finished third in the Group C standings and went on to play in the seventh-place match against Russia, winning easily 4-0 on two goals from Kosovare Asllani and one each from Nilla Fischer and Fridolina Rolfö. Most recently, Sweden faced Canada on April 6 in a friendly in Trelleborg, Sweden, where it fell 1-0 to the North Americans.
Sweden had a pretty easy path through Euro Qualifying as it was drawn into a group with Poland, Denmark, Moldova and Slovakia. Sweden won seven of its matches, six of them by shutouts, and dropped its second to last match 2-0 to Denmark. Sweden’s top scorers were Kosovare Asllani and Fridolina Rolfö with three goals each, but 13 players combined to score the 22 goals, thus showing a lot of versatility and goal-scoring prowess on the roster. The Swedes only allowed three goals through the eight matches of qualification.
For the first time since 2015, the U.S. Women’s National Team will travel abroad for a pair of friendlies, starting with a stop at Gamla Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg to face Sweden on June 8 at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and UDN. The game will be the first meeting between the two since the heartbreaking quarterfinal loss for the WNT in penalty kicks at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, where Sweden went on to win the silver medal.
Besides the topic of redemption for the U.S. Women, as well as the continuous preparation towards qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, the USA vs. Sweden match also includes a handful of interesting storylines. It brings together a former coach and her former players; a former coach and former assistant coach; a couple of old teammates and a long, competitive history on the field for both programs.
Sweden is coached by former U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage, who led the USA to gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Sundhage was also at the helm for the USA’s runner-up finish at the 2011 Women’s World Cup. During her stint as head coach from 2008-12, Sundhage won three Algarve Cup titles and was named the 2012 FIFA Women’s World Coach of the Year.
Sundhage worked alongside current head coach Jill Ellis while she was in the USA, however since she returned to her native land to coach Sweden, the teams have met only four times in very close games, with two of them under the leadership of Ellis as the other two were under former head coach Tom Sermanni. The USA has failed to win any of those games, tying three and losing one (the game at the Olympics officially counts as a tie). The teams tied 1-1 at the Algarve Cup in 2013; the USA then lost 1-0 at the Algarve Cup in 2014. Then there was the 0-0 draw at the Women’s World Cup in 2015, and of course the 1-1 (3-4 pks) draw at the Olympics in Brazil last August that the U.S. lost in penalty kicks.
Eight players on this current April friendlies roster earned at least one cap under Sundhage. These players are: Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara, Meghan Klingenberg, Carli Lloyd. Ali Krieger, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Amy Rodriguez. Tobin Heath, who is nursing a minor back injury and not with the U.S. in Texas right now, also played under Sundhage.
Beyond the coaching ties, a few players also spent various amounts of time playing in Sweden. Christen Press (Tyresö FF), Ashlyn Harris (Tyresö FF), Ali Krieger (Tyresö FF) and Klingenberg (Tyresö FF) all have played with and against many of the Sweden National Team players.
Sweden is currently preparing for the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro that kicks off in the Netherlands on July 16. While the game against 6th-ranked Sweden may be a friendly, the implications are a bit greater, as the WNT players will arrive with a chip on their shoulders and a desire to prove themselves in what is now one of the most competitive rivalries among the world’s top teams in recent years.
The USA has played against Sweden in Sweden just twice before, a 1-0 win in Skelleftea in the summer of 2008 as Carli Lloyd scored the USA’s lone goal and a 3-1 win in Halmstad in the summer of 2012 as Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath scored. Sweden’s all-time leading scorer Lotta Schelin tallied for her country.Read more