Sweden are in formidable form, topping Group G with three wins from three matches. The Swedes have a long history against the U.S., winning 3-0 in their most recent meeting at the Tokyo Olympics, reports Xinhua.
“It’s not something I look at, historical facts, I’m rooted in the present,” Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson said at the pre-match press conference on Saturday.
“There are a lot of new players in both line-ups so history is less important. I have great confidence in the squad. We believe in this, believe we can win,” he added.
The U.S. inched out of their group with a 0-0 draw against tournament debutants Portugal, who hit the post in stoppage time. In the first two group matches, the defending champions beat Vietnam 3-0 before drawing 1-1 with the Netherlands.
The team’s form has been questioned by many, but U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski said it was neither the time nor the place to do so.
“For someone to question the standards, the mentality, the mindset of this team, after everything they do, I don’t think it is the right time for that,” Andonovski said.
“And I don’t think it is the right thing as well. I’m happy with where they are at, happy with how they hold themselves accountable and keep raising standards,” he added.
“We’ve broken down what went wrong, how we can fix that in possession, out of possession, how we can capitalize on the chances, how we can create more chances in front of the goal, how I can put away the chances that I’m given,” said U.S. striker Alex Morgan.
The U.S.’s defense will be tested by a Sweden side that scored nine goals in the group stage, and for whom set-pieces have proved a devastating weapon.
In their second match against Italy, Sweden left-back Jonna Andersson’s in-swinging corners from the right were responsible for three goals. The Azzure knew what was coming, but they couldn’t stop it.
“It’s the knockout stage and there’s no room for mistakes, so we have to be ready to be our best in this game,” Andonovski said.
The U.S. will be without midfielder Rose Lavelle, who picked up a second yellow card in the third group match.
“Rose is one of the best players in the world and not having her is definitely going to change some of the ways we’re going to approach the game. At this same time, we have a great roster of players who are here for a reason, for moments like this and are ready to step in,” Andonovski said.