After earning a berth to the knockout stage with a 0-0 draw against Portugal in its final Group E match, the U.S. Women’s National Team will face Sweden in the Round of 16 at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The USA advanced out of Group E unbeaten and in second place after earning a 3-0 win against Vietnam in its World Cup opener, followed by a thrilling 1-1 draw against Netherlands and the tie with Portugal. Sweden claimed the first seed in Group G after winning all three of its matches, and the two will now play at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium in Melbourne/Naarm, Australia at 7 p.m. AET on August 6 (5 a.m. ET; FOX, Telemundo, Universo and Peacock) for a berth to the tournament quarterfinals. The winner of the match will face the winner of the August 5 contest between Japan and Norway, which kicks off at 8 p.m. NZT/4 a.m. ET at Wellington Regional Stadium. The U.S. has allowed only one shot on target thus far in the tournament, which happened to be the opening goal by the Dutch on July 27, which also marked the first time the USA has trailed in a World Cup match since the 2011 Quarterfinal against Brazil.
SWEDES TOP GROUP G
Sweden advanced to the knockout rounds as the winners of Group G, its fourth consecutive Women’s World Cup advancing out of the group and eighth overall in nine World Cup appearances. Like the USA, Sweden played the entirety of the group stage in New Zealand, playing two matches in Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-tara and one in Hamilton/Kirikiriroa.
Sweden opened the group stage in somewhat nail-biting fashion, falling behind to South Africa 1-0 after a goal from Banyana Banyana in the 48th minute. Forward Fridolina Roflo equalized for Sweden in the 68th minute and defender Amanda Ilestedt headed in the game-winner in the 90th minute off a corner kick, making Sweden the first team to win a game this World Cup after conceding first.
Ilestedt continued her goal-scoring form in Sweden’s second group stage match, scoring twice – both goals once again coming off corners - in Sweden’s 5-0 win over Italy on July 29. Rolfo, Stina Blackstenius and Rebecka Blomqvist also scored as Sweden took a 3-0 halftime lead over the Italians and held a 7-3 advantage overall in shots on target.
With six points from its first two matches, Sweden head coach Peter Gerhardsson made nine changes to its starting lineup in the final group stage match against Argentina, winning 2-0 behind a 66th-minute goal from Blomqvist and a penalty kick in the 90th from Elin Rubensson.
THE KNOCKOUT CONTENDERS
The USA and Jamaica were the only two Concacaf teams to advance to the knockout round. Jamaica made Women’s World Cup history as it claimed the second spot out of Group F to advance out of the group for the first time ever, becoming the first Caribbean nation to make it out of the group at a Women’s World Cup. The feat was even more impressive as Jamaica held Brazil to a scoreless draw to earn the crucial point that sent the Reggae Girlz on to the knockout stage.
The rest of the bracket is made up of eight nations from UEFA (Switzerland, Norway, Spain, England, Denmark, Netherlands, France and Sweden), Two from the Asian Football Confederation (Japan and Australia), three from the Confederation of African Football (Nigeria, South Africa and Morocco), while Colombia is the lone team remaining from CONMEBOL.
2023 WORLD CUP MEDIA GUIDE AVAILABLE
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position (Club; Caps/Goals)
Goalkeepers (3): Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit; 1), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 14), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 94)
Defenders (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 25/1), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage; 32/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 135/24), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 19/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 31/0), Kelley O’Hara (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 159/3), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign; 76/1)
Midfielders (7): Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC; 3/0), Julie Ertz (Angel City FC; 121/20), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 132/29), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 91/24), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 51/7), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 25/3), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 48/3)
Forwards (6): Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC; 210/121), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 201/63), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 21/4), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 33/14), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC; 6/0), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 54/15)
USA WORLD CUP ROSTER NOTES
- The USA has now advanced out of the group in all nine of its trips to the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The second-place finish in the group marks the second time the team has finished second in its group, last doing so in 2011 when the Americans went on to reach the final.
- The USA will take on Sweden without star midfielder Rose Lavelle, who will miss the match due to yellow card accumulation after earning two in as many matches against Netherlands and Portugal.
- Nine players have made their Women’s World Cup debuts so far. Eight players made their debuts against Vietnam – Savannah DeMelo (who also made her first USWNT start), Naomi Girma, Emily Fox, Andi Sullivan, Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman, 18-year-old Alyssa Thompson and Sofia Huerta. Lynn Williams was the lone debutant in the match against Portugal as she earned her 24th career start and 54th cap overall for the USA.
- Sophia Smith and Horan lead the USA with two goals each this World Cup while Smith, Alex Morgan and Rose Lavelle have tallied assists so far this tournament.
- Four players – Alyssa Naeher, Naomi Girma, Julie Ertz and Andi Sullivan – have played every minute so far for the USA at this World Cup.
- The average age of the U.S. roster is 28.5 years old. The USA’s 2015 and 2019 Women’s World Cup rosters also averaged around 28 years old.
IN FOCUS: SWEDEN
FIFA World Ranking: 3
UEFA Ranking: 2
World Cup Appearances: 9
Best World Cup Finish: Runners-up (2003)
Record vs. USA: 7W-12D-23L (GF: 39; GA: 72)
Head Coach: Peter Gergardsson (SWE)
Sweden Women’s World Cup Roster by Position
Goalkeepers (3): 1-Zecira Musovic (Chelsea FC, ENG), 12-Jennifer Falk (BK Häcken), 21-Tove Enblom (KIF Örebro DFF)
Defenders (7): 2-Jonna Andersson (Hammarby DFF), 3-Linda Sembrant (Juventus FC, ITA ), 4-Stina Lennartsson (Linköpings FC), 5-Anna Sandberg (BK Häcken), 13-Amanda Ilestedt (Arsenal, ENG), 14-Nathalie Bjorn (Everton, ENG)
Midfielders (8): 9-Kosovare Asllani (AC Milan, ITA), 16-Filippa Angeldal (Manchester City, ENG), 17-Caroline Seger (FC Rosengård), 18-Fridolina Rolfo (FC Barcelona, ESP), 19-Johanna Kaneryd (Chelsea FC, ENG), 20-Hanna Bennison (Everton, ENG), 22-Olivia Schough (FC Rosengård), 23-Elin Rubensson (BK Häcken)
Forwards (5): 7-Madelen Janogy (Hammarby DFF), 8-Lina Hurtig (Arsenal, ENG), 10-Sofia Jackobsson (San Diego Wave FC, USA), 11-Stina Blackstenius (Arsenal, ENG), 15-Rebecka Blomqvist (VfL Wolfsburg, GER)
USA vs. SWEDEN
- The most-played matchup in FIFA Women’s World Cup history, the USA and Sweden are set to meet for the seventh time at the World Cup, though this will be their first meeting ever in the World Cup knockout rounds.
- The USA and Sweden first squared off in the first group match of the 1991 Women’s World Cup and have played in every World Cup since 2003, with all those encounters taking place in the group stage.
- The U.S. has a record of 4W-1D-1L against Sweden at the World Cup, the lone loss coming in a 2-1 defeat to the Swedes in 2011 followed by a scoreless draw in 2015.
- The USA defeated Sweden 2-0 in the final group stage match of the 2019 Women’s World Cup behind a third-minute goal from Lindsey Horan and an own goal from Sweden in the 50th.
- This will be the 10th all-time meeting between the USWNT and Sweden in major tournaments (World Cup and Olympics), the most common opponent for the U.S. in those tournaments. This will be the second knockout match between the teams, with Sweden advancing on penalties in the 2016 Olympic quarterfinal.
- The Round of 16 matchup will be the 43rd meeting overall between the USA and Sweden, making Sweden the fourth-most commonly played opponent in USWNT history behind Canada, China PR and Norway.
- The USA leads the all-time series, which dates back to 1987, with an overall record of 23W-12D-7L, though in the last 10 matches the USA is 4W-4D-2L, with nine of the last 10 meetings between the teams decided by two goals or fewer.
- Sweden’s roster for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup features 17 players who were a part of the Olympic silver-medal winning side in 2021, which fell to Canada on penalties in the final.
- Sweden has not finished first in a major tournament since winning the 1984 UEFA Women’s Championship. Since then, the Swedes have post three runner-up and four fourth-place finishes at the EUROS, two silver medals at the Olympics and one runner-up and three third-place finishes at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
- Sweden finished third at the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1991, topping Germany 4-0 in the third-place match after dropping its group-stage opener to the USA. After falling to Japan 3-1 in the 2011 semifinal, Sweden topped France 2-1 in the third-place match and then beat England 2-1 in 2019 to claim third-place honors.
- After finishing second at the delayed 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, third at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France and taking silver at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Sweden holds the distinction of being the only nation to finish in the top three in each of the last three world championship events.
- Midfielder Kosovare Asllani, who has 172 caps for her country and captained the squad in Sweden’s first two group games before getting a well-earned rest against Argentina, is the overall leading scorer on this roster with 44 career international goals.
- Center back Ilestedt leads Sweden in scoring with three goals at this World Cup, all of which have come off corner kicks.
- Sofia Jackobsson, who plays for San Diego Wave FC in the NWSL alongside the USA’s Alex Morgan and Naomi Girma, has two assists this tournament, tied with defender Jonna Andersson for the team lead.
- A name long-synonymous with women’s soccer in Sweden, midfielder Caroline Seger is back for her fifth Women’s World Cup, albeit in a more reserved role as the 38-year-old battled back from injury to make the World Cup roster.