After winning Group G, the United States start the knockout round of the Olympics with a familiar foe: Sweden. The U.S. Women's national team faced Sweden in the past four World Cups and the Swedes are led by former USWNT head coach Pia Sundhage. Sundhage coached the United States during the 2011 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 goal medal runs before stepping down after the 2012 Olympics.
In the World Cup last summer, the United States fell to a disappointing draw against Sweden in the second group stage match. The USWNT's attack fell flat against a determined and organized Swedish defense. The United States also held Sweden scoreless but not without a very close call created by former WPS midfielder Caroline Seger. The Americans nearly conceded in the second half when 5-foot-2 Meghan Klingenberg made a goal-line header in front of an open net which bounced off the underside of the crossbar before bouncing back into play.
After facing the United States, Sweden exited in the round of 16 with a 4-1 loss to Germany. Sweden entered the Olympics looking to rebound from an underwhelming World Cup but so far the Swedes haven't impressed. The team opened with a 1-0 win over South Africa with an ugly, sloppy, goal being the difference between the two sides. Against Brazil the Swedes lost 5-1 before playing China to a scoreless draw. Chelsea Ladies goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl and Lotta Schelin and Kosovare Aslanni on attack can lead Sweden to a good performance but the United States is favored to win this matchup.
One concern for the United States is the health of centerback Julie Johnston who has rested the past two games with a groin injury. A return to the centerback pairing of Johnston and Becky Sauerbrunn would be helpful this afternoon and certainly in a potential semifinal. If the United States win against Sweden, the team would advance to a Tuesday semifinal against the winner of Brazil vs. Australia.
Location: Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha (Brasilia, Brazil)
Kickoff time: 12:00pm Eastern
Available TV: NBCSN (English), NBC Olympic soccer channel (English), Telemundo (Spanish)
Available streaming: NBCOlympics.com (English), NBC Sports Live Extra app (English), Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (Spanish)
Our gamethread will post 90 minutes before kickoff.