The United States women's national team's smooth road in the FIFA Women's World Cup just got a whole lot bumpier.
Two defensive miscues turned into two first-half Sweden goals, and the United States fell in the group stage of the World Cup for the first time after a 2-1 loss to the European side in Wolfsburg, Germany. As a result, the Americans finished second in Group C and will be paired with Group D winner and powerhouse Brazil in the quarterfinals while group winner Sweden meets Australia.
After the United States fell behind, 2-0, Abby Wambach, who played 90 minutes despite battling Achilles tendonitis and sitting on a yellow card, pulled a goal back for the United States midway through the second half when a corner kick deflected off her shoulder.
That was not enough to offset Lisa Dahlkvist's 15th-minute penalty kick, which was granted after left back Amy LePeilbet committed a foul in the area.
LePeilbet was inadvertently at fault again for Sweden's second goal in the 35th minute, when Nila Fischer's free kick deflected off LePeilbet's leg and wrongfooted U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo before finding the back of the net.
The United States, which played without starting right winger Heather O'Reilly (groin), generated a number of chances but couldn't convert. Lauren Cheney missed inches to the left on a shot from outside the area and then fired just over the crossbar on another volley attempt. Amy Rodriguez had a chance hit the woodwork when her chip from the top of the area clipped the top of the crossbar.
The loss was the second U.S. one to Sweden this year. Sweden won by the same scoreline at the Four Nations Tournament in China back in January.
What did you think of the match? What personnel moves would you have made? How much of a chance do you give the U.S. women at beating Brazil and advancing?
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