Final, 2-0 USA: The referee blows the final whistle. USA beats Sweden and wins Group F.
This was the Group F matchup everyone anticipated prior to the tournament, and Team USA rose to the occasion with another fine performance. Lindsey Horan and Sweden’s Jonna Andersson scored USA’s goals early in each half, and the Americans responded to the strikes by demonstrating their composure, tactical versatility and physical and technical excellence.
The teams were too evenly matched to produce a lopsided result. While USA was the better side overall, Sweden created chances of its own to cause a few moments of nervousness among the USA faithful. Sweden seemingly targeted Crystal Dunn, a midfielder-turned-left-fullback, but she defended well to stifle almost every Swedish effort.
Player of the Game: Heath gave USA valuable breathing space by creating the second seemingly out of thin air. She also was dangerous throughout the contest.
USA will sweat over the fitness of Alex Morgan, who exited at halftime due to a reported hip contusion, and Julie Ertz, who sat out the game as a precautionary measure due to an injury. However, head coach Jill Ellis has enough options at her disposal to cover any potential absences without too great a drop in overall performance.
The Round of 16 matchups are set. USA will face Spain at 11 a.m. ET on Monday in Reims, France, and Sweden will take on Canada at 2 p.m. the same day.
That’s all for now, and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion coming up on NESN.com/soccer.
90th minute, 2-0 USA: There will be seven minutes of stoppage time in the second half. That seems like a lot, given what has transpired in the second half.
90th minute, 2-0 USA: Samantha Mewis plays Carli Lloyd into Sweden’s penalty area, but Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl races off her line, cuts down the angle and makes the save.
87th minute, 2-0 USA: The referee shows Sweden’s Sofia Jakobsson a yellow card for dragging down Kelly O’Hara from behind.
83rd minute, 2-0 USA: Megan Rapinoe exits, and Mallory Pugh enters in USA’s final substitution.
82nd minute, 2-0 USA: As is the case in every Women’s World Cup game, FIFA allows fans to vote for the player of the game.
79th minute, 2-0 USA: Some of the sting has evaporated from the game, with the teams seemingly resigned to their current positions in the Group F standings.
Sweden makes another substitution, as Lina Hurtig replaces the ever-dangerous Kosovare Asllani.
69th minute, 2-0 USA: Sweden has a scoring chance of its own, stemming from Kosovare Asllani’s dangerous free kick.
68th minute, 2-0 USA: FIFA changes its ruling on the goal originally credited to Tobin Heath.
The ball apparently came off Sweden’s Jonna Andersson, and FIFA rules it an own goal.
64th minute, 2-0 USA: Sweden makes its second personnel change. Hanna Glas enters, and Caroline Seger exits.
63rd minute, 2-0 USA: Christine Press replaces Rose Lavelle in USA’s second substitution of the game.
60th minute, 2-0 USA: The referee shows USA defender Kelly O’Hara a yellow card.
56th minute, 2-0 USA: Sweden makes its first substitution. Fridolina Rolfo comes onto the field, and Olivia Schough departs.
54th minute, 2-0 USA: Stina Blackstenius flashes a header inches over USA’s goal, as Sweden looks to cut USA’s lead in half.
52nd minute, 2-0 USA: The referee checks VAR and allows Heath’s goal to stand.
That’s USA’s 18th goal of the group stage, setting a new World Cup record (men’s or women’s). Hungary’s 1954 men’s team and Norway’s 1995 women’s team previously held the mark, per Opta.
50th minute, 2-0 USA: Tobin Heath doubles USA’s lead. It’s another early goal, too.
Megan Rapinoe’s deflected pass reached Heath at the back post. Sweden’s Jonna Andersson failed to dispossess Heath, who chipped a shot from the tightest of angles over goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl inside the far post.
46th minute, 1-0 USA: The second half is underway.
Carli Lloyd enters, and Alex Morgan exits in USA’s first substitution of the game.
Morgan might have suffered an injury in the first half.
Halftime, 1-0 USA: That’s the end of the first half. USA leads by one.
Sweden and USA have produced the expected spectacle so far, with end-to-end action highlighting the first period. Lindsey Horan’s early goal gave USA the lead it deserved on balance of play, but Sweden had a few chances of its own, coming primarily on the right side of its attack.
The teams must be more clinical when chances come their way, as each side has defended well enough not to concede any more cheap goals.
The Swedes probably are kicking themselves for Horan’s early goal, as they’d be in fine position to win the game and the group otherwise.
45th minute, 1-0 USA: The fourth official has indicated there will be two minutes of stoppage time in the first half.
40th minute, 1-0 USA: Sweden’s Sofia Jakobsson has a pair of attempts at the USA goal, but Crystal Dunn blocks the first, and her second misses the target.
33rd minute, 1-0 USA: The initiative remains at the feet of Team USA, which has decisive advantages in possession in territory. However, USA hasn’t created as many scoring chances as one would expect, given its dominance.
23rd minute, 1-0 USA: Megan Rapinoe runs onto a deft pass at the near post but shoots from an acute angle into the side netting.
The action has been swinging from end to end in the last five-plus minutes.
21st minute, 1-0 USA: Sweden’s Kosovare Asllani receives a pass at the top of USA’s penalty area and shoots on goal, but her shot doesn’t trouble USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.
Asllani will be disappointed not to have aimed her shot better.
15th minute, 1-0 USA: Massachusetts’ own Samantha Mewis attempts a shot on goal, but her effort lacks power and rolls straight to Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl.
12th minute, 1-0 USA: USA will set yet another World Cup record on its next goal.
10th minute, 1-0 USA: USA has continued to apply pressure in an effort to bury Sweden early in this contest. The Americans’ dominance hasn’t translated into a second goal, but their intent remains visible to every observer.
Third minute, 1-0 USA: Lindsey Horan gives USA an early lead.
The goal came from Megan Rapinoe’s corner kick, onto which Sam Mewis ran on at the near post but allowed it to dribble through a sea of legs inside Sweden’s goal mouth. Horan ran onto it and tapped it home from point-blank range.
It’s Horan’s second goal of World Cup 2019 and also the fastest in the tournament, having come 2:40 into the game, per Opta.
Kickoff: USA versus Sweden is underway.
As always, USA can count star power among its support.
Pregame: Here are the starting lineups.
The biggest news in USA’s lineup is the absence of defender/midfielder Julie Ertz due to a hip problem, per Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl
Abby Dahlkemper will partner Becky Sauerbrunn at the heart of the U.S. defense, and Rose Lavelle will anchor the midfield.
2:30 p.m. ET: Serious business now beckons for the United States women’s soccer team.
USA will take on Sweden on Thursday in Le Havre, France, at Ocean Stadium in 2019 FIFA World Cup group-stage finale. The teams enter the contest tied on points with six, but USA leads the Group F standings due to its vastly superior goal differential.
Should USA earn a victory or draw against Sweden, it will win Group F and set up a Round of 16 matchup against Spain. If Sweden wins, USA will face rival Canada next week in the first game of the knockout stage.
The U.S. has been dominant so far at the World Cup, having demolished Thailand 13-0 in their opener and dispatched Chile 3-0 in their second outing. Sweden beat Chile 2-0 in their first game, and brushed aside Thailand 5-1 in their next contest.
The teams are no strangers to one another, as their sixth World Cup meeting follows group stage clashes in 1991, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015. USA also will look to avenge its loss to Sweden on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympics.
Stay right here for all the action from Le Havre, as we’ll keep you updated with the score, highlights and key facts from this crunch game.
Thumbnail photo via Michael Chow/USA TODAY Sports Images