The United States women must right the ship, and fast, or else they are at great risk of suffering their worst-ever Women’s World Cup showing.
A poor three-match run through the group stage saw the USWNT barely squeak through into the knockout round, and they were handed a meeting with eternal nemesis Sweden as a Round of 16 prize.
The United States have never failed to reach at least the semifinals of a FIFA Women’s World Cup, but must pass through Sweden and then Japan in order to continue that streak. After disappointing performances against the Netherlands and Portugal, that feels like a very tall mountain to climb.
Sweden collected all nine possible points through the group stage, topping South Africa, Italy, and Argentina along the way. They scored nine goals in the process, while conceding just one and proving they deserve to be amongst the favorites to lift the Women’s World Cup trophy.
These two familiar opponents will renew their storied rivalry, as the most-played fixture in Women’s World Cup history adds a seventh chapter at the game’s biggest stage.
MORE: Why Vlatko Andonovski was criticized for USWNT group stage performances
USA vs Sweden odds
Despite the poor group stage showing, the U.S. remain as favorites in this match, although not by nearly the margin they’re used to in the past. Indeed, faith has waned considerably as the USWNT are plus-money favorites here against a strong Sweden side.
Goals are expected to be at a premium as defensive structure hasn’t been the problem for the United States, and like the USA, Sweden only conceded one goal in group stage play.
to score Y / N
Over / Under
+100 / -140
+120 / -165
-110 / -141
+120 / -167
Top betting sites
2.02 / 1.76
2.28 / 1.60
2.03 / 1.80
2.33 / 1.66
USA vs Sweden match facts
Date: Sunday, August 6, 2023
Kickoff Time: 5 a.m. ET / 10 a.m. BST / 7 p.m. AEST
Location: AAMI Stadium (Melbourne, Australia)
Official: Stephanie Frappart (FRA)
Last meeting: Sweden 3-0 USA (Jul. 21, 2021 | 2020 Summer Olympics)
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) August 4, 2023
USA vs Sweden team news
The biggest absence for the United States in this match is Rose Lavelle, who is suspended for yellow card accumulation. Lavelle has been one of the few positive performers on the USWNT through the group stage games, and her absence will be heavily felt in midfield. It’s likely that Savannah DeMelo will be deployed, after she started the first two matches of the tournament while Lavelle worked back to match fitness following injury.
Vlatko Andonovski has played Julie Ertz at center-back through all three group stage games. While Ertz has performed to standard, it has meant Andi Sullivan is selected at the No. 6 spot, and she has struggled mightily so far. It has meant that despite being the presumed starter in defense before the tournament, Alana Cook has yet to play a single minute at the World Cup.
There are also questions on the wing, as aside from the brace Sophia Smith scored against Vietnam, nobody has performed well in the attacking trio. Trinity Rodman started the first two games, while Lynn Williams got the call against Portugal. 34-year-old Alex Morgan has not been her usual self in the middle, and could be rotated out for younger legs.
Sweden head coach Peter Gerhardsson rotated his squad heavily for the final group stage match against Argentina, having already confirmed a spot in the knockout round, but he should return to his first-choice lineup here with the stakes raised.
This team can find goals from anywhere on the pitch, highlighted by the fact that defender Amanda Ilestedt is their leading scorer so far with three in the group stage. Her center-back partner Magdalena Eriksson is the most recognizable player on the roster, having been a Chelsea star for years before a tearful goodbye this summer preceded a move to Bayern Munich.
The only notable injury for Sweden to worry about is to young midfielder Hanna Lundkvist, who had just broken into the national team fold before an ankle injury in their pre-tournament friendly against the Philippines wrecked her chances of making the World Cup squad.
USA vs Sweden key stats
The U.S. women have their second-worst win percentage against Sweden of any team with over 20 all-time matches played. They have drawn 12 and lost seven of their 42 meetings, giving them a 69% win rate, second only to the 60% win rate in 50 matches against Norway. Only Germany, Denmark, and China have also managed to avoid defeat against the United States more than 20% of the time.
USA vs. Sweden is the most-played fixture of the Women’s World Cup, as the two teams will meet for the seventh time at the FIFA tournament, with the U.S. winning four, drawing one, and losing one of the previous six matchups. They will also meet for the sixth consecutive Women’s World Cup.
According to SofaScore, U.S. striker Alex Morgan has missed the most “big chances” at this Women’s World Cup so far, with four opportunities to strike not capitalized upon. She’s tied in that regard with Japan forward Aoba Fujino, while eight players have missed three, including USA teammate Lynn Williams.
USA vs Sweden prediction
Moneyline lean: Sweden (+240)
Score prediction: USA 0-1 Sweden
While they’re tournament favorites and ranked No. 1 in the world, the United States has not shown anything to back up their perceived ability to compete for the Women’s World Cup title. The attacking unit has been a complete bust, and the midfield has been static and wasteful, failing to hold onto any kind of sustained possession.
Sweden, meanwhile, have been electric on both ends of the pitch through the group stage. They conceded a single goal through the three matches, and scored nine of their own, including a 5-0 victory over a shocked Italy side that has been on the up in recent years.
Without Rose Lavelle, it’s very difficult to see a way the U.S. can manage to advance here, unless they engineer a stark turnaround, which is tough to believe until it’s seen.
USA vs Sweden best bet
Pick: Under 2.5 total goals
Odds: -165 (BetMGM)
Unless one of these defenses completely falls apart, it’s likely that one or two goals will be the difference in this match.
According to Opta, Sweden conceded just two “big chances” through their first three matches, conceding 28 shots across those 270 minutes, with just eight of those on target. Meanwhile, the U.S. has been defensively stout despite their struggles, and even against the Netherlands where they were well beaten, they conceded just five shots and one shot on target.
The odds are ugly, but it’s still worth a play considering neither team looks ready to open the floodgates.
USA vs Sweden prop bet
Pick: Sweden double chance
Odds: -145 (BetMGM)
Sweden are a high-quality side, and with the U.S. struggling, they will smell blood in the water.
Vlatko Andonovski is a prideful coach, and may stick to his guns against heavy criticism even with the sharks circling. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him stick with Julie Ertz back in defense, especially with Rose Lavelle out.
With so many players underperforming, and their most influential midfielder not available, Sweden will fancy their chances against this struggling No. 1 team.
USA vs Sweden prop bet
Pick: USA under 0.5 goals
Odds: +230 (BetMGM)
The Sweden defense was downright sensational through the group stage. Amanda Ilestedt and Jonna Andersson are two of the three highest-rated defenders at the Women’s World Cup so far, according to SofaScore. Facing a U.S. side missing its best playmaker in Rose Lavelle, there’s only one likely winner here.
The U.S. to this point has played dump and chase with their wingers, asking them to beat one, two, sometimes even three defenders on the dribble. That won’t work against this Sweden back line, as their defenders have only been dribbled past five times, and three of those were against Nathalie Bjorn who has Ilestedt backing her up on the right side of defense.
If the United States are going to win this game, they will need Sofia Smith to square up Bjorn and beat her, as she’s the weak link in the Sweden defensive unit, but Smith has been extremely poor as teams key on her with consistent double-teams. It’s hard to see them improving the amount necessary to perform here in such a short time.
USA vs Sweden live stream, TV channel
Fubo, Fox Sports site/app,
Telemundo Deportes site/app
IVT1, STV Scotland
ITVX, STV Player
Optus Sport, 7plus
TSN+, TSN site/app, RDS site/app, Fubo
Star Sports Select 1
FanCode, JioTV, Hotstar VIP
Sky Sport 1 NZ
Sky Sport NOW
FIFA WWC CH01
Fans in select regions of the world can stream the Women’s World Cup live on FIFA+, including in Japan, Brazil, Indonesia and Thailand.
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