I’ve been taking some time this morning to catch up on Olympic soccer news and, in particular, how the Swedish team is doing. Their performance at the Olympics has paralleled that of the USWNT in ways that have surprised me, as I thought they’d be one of the stronger sides coming out of the preliminaries.
The fact that Sweden’s top scorer Hanna Ljungberg is out of the tournament, bothered by persistent injuries, is yet-another most unfortunate USWNT parallel. Here’s Jocasta’s description of their opening match against China (in which they upheld a team tradition, apparently – losing the tournament opener.).
Sweden has this habit of losing the first game in major tournaments. The local newspaper claimed that the team has not won their opening game in ten years, a figure that includes two European Championships, three World Cups, and two Summer Olympics. You have to go back to 1997 to find a Swedish opening game win, in the Euros of that year. This means that I (and I’ll bet most everyone reading this) have never seen them win an opening game.
They defeated Argentina 1-0 on Saturday and will face Canada on Tuesday. The Canadians, meanwhile, in their first Olympics, could qualify for the quarterfinals before they even start playing. If Germany defeats North Korea … not a foregone conclusion by any means … then the Canadians are through!
The schedule for tomorrow morning’s matches is (all ET):
- 5AM Group F: Germany v North Korea and Brazil v Nigeria;
- 7:45 AM Group E: China v Argentina and Sweden v Canada; and
- 7:45 AM Group G: Norway v Japan and USWNT v New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Gayle Bryan liked what she saw of the USWNT on Saturday.
Let’s keep it up, ladies – get your psych on!
A win sends the US to the quarterfinals against the winner of Group F.