USWNT No Longer Odds-On Gold Medal Favorites After Shocking Loss To Sweden

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Christen Press, USWNT
JULY 01: Christen Press #11 of United States celebrates after scoring a goal against Mexico at Rentschler Field on July 01, 2021 in East Hartford, Connecticut.

The Opening Ceremony hasn’t taken place yet, and the United States women’s national soccer team is already behind the eight ball in Tokyo. The U.S. was handed a shocking upset in their first match of the Olympics, raising concern about their chances of winning a gold medal.

Team USA didn’t simply lose its first match in group play — it was embarrassed. Sweden shut out the heavily favored Americans 3-0 on Wednesday, knocking off the top-ranked team in the field.

Fifth-ranked Sweden was a massive underdog with +700 odds to pull out a victory, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Team USA had -240 odds for the match and started the Summer Games as -165 odds-on favorites to win Olympic gold.

“We got our a**** kicked, didn't we. Just a little tight, just a little nervous,” USA. star Megan Rapinoe told NPR. “We had a few chances that we could have taken better that would have shifted the game quite a bit.”



Following the loss, Team USA is still favored with +120 odds to be the last team standing. Sweden is second at +350.

It was Sweden that prevented the U.S. women from winning a fourth straight gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Team USA might have to get redemption against Sweden later on in the Games if they hope to win the gold medal.

"It's frustrating, and it's frustrating that it's Sweden," Rapinoe said. "They found a lot of space on us. I don't even know how many goals we have given up this whole year. I don't remember the last time we gave up a goal. So to give up three is not great."

The defeat gives Team USA little margin for error. The top two teams in each group of four advances to the single-elimination round. Sweden now ranks ahead of the U.S. in the Group G standings.

Team USA faces New Zealand on Saturday and Australia on Tuesday in their last two group-stage matches. Neither opponent is viewed as  a serious threat for the gold medal in Tokyo, so the U.S. can still advance with a second-place showing in pool play.



“The rhetoric's already ‘Heads up, put it behind us and on to the next game,’” U.S. star Christen Press said. “There's no time in a tournament like this to dwell.”

The women’s soccer gold medal match is scheduled for Aug. 5.

Christen Press, USWNT

Photo: Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

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