Stina Blackstenius scored a pair of goals, and Sweden again stunned the United States at the Olympics with a 3-0 victory on Wednesday in the women’s football tournament.
The Americans, ranked No. 1 in the world and favorites to win gold in Tokyo, drove a series of unbeaten 44 games, heading for the match.
But Sweden, ranked 5th, is something of an opponent of the American team in recent years. The Swedes pushed the Americans away from the Rio Games in 2016 in the quarterfinals, which is the earliest exit of the United States from the Olympic Games.
Then in April, Sweden played the United States in a 1-1 draw in Stockholm, which broke a winning streak since January 2019, when the Americans lost to France on the eve of the World Cup.
A header by Blackstenius in the far corner when Sofia Jacobson centered in the 26th minute gave Sweden the lead in the first half.
The United States came to a standstill, with his best chance of the opening half coming in the final moments when Rose Lavelle’s shot hit the crossbar. Coach Vlatko Andonovski made changes in the second half, stopping at Carli Lloyd for Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz for Sam Mewis.
But Blackstenius scored again in the 54th minute, defeating goalkeeper Alice Neher as the Americans continued to fight. Then Lina Hurtig scored in the 72nd.
The loss was the first for the United States under Andonowski, who took over when former coach Jill Ellis retired after winning the team’s World Cup in France.
The Swedes were without Magda Erickson due to injury. The team said that she trained, but due to the compact schedule of the tournament she was removed from the opening.
Tokyo is the seventh Olympics in Sweden. After eliminating the Americans on penalties in the quarterfinals five years ago, the Swedes continued to win the silver medal, losing to Germany 2-1 in the final.
The United States has four Olympic gold medals, more than any other country. The team is vying to become the first to win Olympic gold after the World Cup.
Sweden now leads Group G in Saturday’s game against Australia at Saitama, while the United States faces New Zealand. The first two teams in the group advance to the knockout round.