US women's soccer team trains for game against Sweden

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Finally facing a formidable opponent in Sweden, the U.S. women’s soccer team still managed to jump out to an early 1-0 lead in the Group F finale at the World Cup in France on Thursday. A corner from U.S. captain Megan Rapinoe managed to find the right foot of teammate Lindsey Horan in the third minute, and the 25-year-old midfielder easily knocked it in for the 1-0 advantage. Rapinoe’s kick was actually a low dribbler, but it still made its way through Swedish defenders to the far side of the net, where Horan was waiting to score her second goal of the tournament. Forward Tobin Heath gave the U.S. a 2-0 lead shortly after halftime when she took a cross from Rapinoe and arched a shot over Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl’s head towards the far post. The goal was then upheld by review.Julie Ertz was not in the lineup for the U.S. because of a hip contusion. Three years ago at the Rio Olympics, the Swedes got to the Americans in the quarterfinals by bunkering in on defense to thwart the normally powerful U.S. attack. After a 1-1 draw, Sweden prevailed on penalties and handed the United States its earliest exit in the tournament. Both teams came into Thursday’s match with a pair of wins, and both have clinched berths in the round of 16. Ninth-ranked Sweden opened with a 2-0 victory over Chile and followed with a 5-1 win over Thailand. The team that finishes second in the group meets the Netherlands or Canada in the round of 16 and then could have a quarterfinal against No. 2 Germany, which would not have the home-country advantage that France’s fans bring to each match.

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