The United States maintained their perfect record at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup on Thursday, as they beat Sweden 2-0 at the Stade Oceane to secure the top spot in Group F.
The holders got off to the perfect start, as Lindsey Horan was on hand to prod home after just three minutes. Sweden struggled to get hold of the ball for much of the first period, with the U.S. dominating and spurning chances to add to their lead.
Early in the second half, the United States consolidated their position, as Tobin Heath's shot flicked off Jonna Andersson and beyond the goalkeeper on the 50-minute mark.
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With this win, the United States set up a last-16 showdown with Spain on Monday, while Sweden will face Canada on the same day.
Sweden would have been desperate to avoid conceding early in this encounter and frustrate their opponents. Unfortunately for them, they were not switched on in the opening minutes.
Horan was in the right place at the right time, as Sam Mewis flicked a corner into her path. The team Twitter account shared the goal:
Per OptaJoe, it was the fastest strike by any team at the tournament in France so far:
That early goal set the tempo for the rest of the half, as Jill Ellis' side bossed possession and pinned back their opponents for spells of the game.
In the main, sloppy touches or poor decisions in the final third cost the United States in their efforts to net more goals. Further back, their midfield was in complete control of the contest and Juventus forward Eni Aluko was especially impressed with the work being done in this area of the pitch:
Having picked up a knock in the first period, Ellis opted to bring Alex Morgan off at half-time, replacing the forward with veteran Carli Lloyd.
When the match restarted, once again the Swedes were unable to live with the quality and dynamism of the American team.
In the 50th minute, the USWNT added a second, as Heath's deflected shot from a tight angle deceived Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl. Aaron West of FOX Sports praised the American winger, who had caused problems for the Sweden defence throughout:
The team's Twitter account confirmed that Heath's effort had officially been ruled as an own goal:
At this point it appeared as though both teams started to think of conserving energy for the knockout stages, with Sweden reluctant to be quite so aggressive in their pressing. The United States were happy to recycle the ball in defence and midfield.
The biggest chance in the latter stages fell to Lloyd, who was denied by a smart stop from Lindahl after racing through on goal.
Sweden will be pleased with aspects of their performance against the tournament favourites and will definitely be a tough team to overcome in the knockout stages. Meanwhile, for those teams hoping to win the competition, the ease with which the USWNT brushed aside their opponents on Thursday is an ominous sign.