Sports

Plenty of defense as U.S., Sweden play to scoreless draw

 

The United States women's senior national soccer team took sole possession of first place in Group D of the FIFA Women's World Cup on Friday with its scoreless draw against Sweden in front of a crowd of 32,716 at Winnipeg Stadium in Canada.

The Americans would have clinched a spot in the next stage with a victory, though a win (or other scenarios) against Nigeria on Tuesday will accomplish the same thing. That match will be held BC Place in Vancouver at 5 p.m. (FOX)


Christen Press/USA soccer
Team USA beat Australia in its opener, so Sweden needs a win over the Aussies and at least a tie between the U.S. and Nigeria.

Sweden's 32-year-old goalie Hedvig Lindahl was named Player of the Match after stopping Team USA's best chances to score from Carli Lloyd and Sydney Leroux.

U.S. defender Meghan Klingenberg helped keep the Swedes off the board by clearing a ball away from the crossbar. She was on the goal line as Sweden had a corner kick and leap into the air, heading the ball out.

"Believe it or not, we've actually practiced that," U.S. coach Jillian Ellis said. "All 5-feet-1 of her, you've got to work on that. But she was brilliant; brilliant timing."

Sweden coach Pia Sundhage, the former Americans' coach, thought it was going int.

"I couldn't believe that it was bouncing out," she said.

Megan Rapinoe was the Americans' best player on the field. She consistently created opportunities for her teammates, who could not drive a wedge through a tough Swedish defense.

The U.S. is 20-5-11 all-time against Sweden.

"We're just doing our jobs in the back. Our first priority is to keep it zero, so we have to be happy about that," Klingenberg said.

The U.S. Women's National Team will advance to the knockout stage if it finishes Group D in first or second place.

The U.S. finishes first in the group if it beats Nigeria; it ties Nigeria and Australia vs. Sweden finishes in a tie; it ties Nigeria and Sweden beats Australia by one goal; or it loses to Nigeria by one goal and Sweden ties Australia.

The Americans finish second if they tie Nigeria and Australia beats Sweden; they tie Nigeria and Sweden beats Australia by more than 2 goals; or they lose to Nigeria and there is a winner between Australia and Sweden.

Stanford grad Christen Press spent several seasons playing professionally in Sweden.

"I owe a lot to the country for being here this moment," she said Thursday. "I think it really helped my career, and helped me grow as a human being as well."

— Palo Alto Online Sports/USA soccer

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