We look ahead to this fascinating 2023 Women’s World Cup round-of-16 clash at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium with our Sweden vs United States preview and prediction.
Sweden vs United States Stats: Quick Hits
- This should be a tight encounter, but the Opta supercomputer has United States as favourites to win, with the defending world champions given a 44.1% chance of victory in 90 minutes.
- Sweden amassed 3.3 expected goals (xG) assisted from corners in their three group games, higher than anyone else at the tournament by more than two xG.
- USA’s five points won in the group stage was their lowest ever return at a Women’s World Cup.
Had Portugal hit the back of the net instead of the post in the closing stages of their final Group E game, the United States would have been going home early from the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The USWNT ultimately clinched a vital 0-0 draw to go through in second place behind the Netherlands, but as a result of not topping their group, they will have a particularly tough opponent in the last 16 in the form of Sweden.
USA’s total of five points was their lowest ever in a Women’s World Cup group stage, while no team underperformed their expected goals (xG) total by more than the US in the groups (-3.8). They were defensively sound enough, with goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher not making a single save despite playing all 270 minutes, as the only shot on target she faced ended in a goal for the Netherlands.
By contrast, Sweden won all three of their group games, including a 5-0 thrashing of Italy on Matchday 2. They’ve reached the knockout stage of the Women’s World Cup for the eighth time in nine appearances. They have reached at least the semi-final in three of their last four knockout stage appearances, with the only exception being a 4-1 loss to Germany in the last 16 in 2015.
USA have won their last eight games in the knockout stage of the Women’s World Cup, last failing to do so in the 2011 final against Japan (losing on penalties). Excluding penalty shootouts, the last time they lost a game in the knockout stage was in the semi-finals in 2007 against Brazil (4-0).
Vlatko Andonovski’s side will need to watch their defending from corners in Melbourne.
No side in the groups scored as many goals (four) or attempted as many shots (17) from corners as Sweden, while their overall threat from corner kicks saw an xG assisted total of 3.3 xG from shots direct from those situations – no other side had more than 0.9 (Australia). To put that into context, the highest xG assisted total in the entire English WSL last season was Chelsea’s 2.5, and that was across 22 games.
Overall, Sweden have been clinical with their chances so far at the WWC, scoring a higher proportion of their non-penalty shots than any other nation (19.0%) and averaging a higher xG per shot from non-penalty situations than all 31 other teams (0.18).
USA’s Alex Morgan (9) will be looking to become the fourth player to reach double figures for Women’s World Cup goals for the country after Abby Wambach (14), Michelle Akers (12) and Carli Lloyd (10). However, Morgan is yet to score at this year’s tournament despite having more shots than any of her teammates (14).
Sweden vs United States Head-to-Head
This will be the seventh meeting between Sweden and USA at the Women’s World Cup making it the most-played fixture in the competition’s history. The previous six meetings all occurred in the group stage, with USA winning four of those and Sweden just one (D1).
USA have lost just two of their last 12 games against Sweden in all competitions (W5 D5), though one of those was a 3-0 loss in their most recent meeting at the Olympics in Tokyo two years ago.
Sweden vs United States Prediction
Despite Sweden looking better than the USA in the group stage, the Opta supercomputer still backs the defending champions to go through.
USA have advanced from their group in all nine editions of the Women’s World Cup and have won at least one knockout stage game in each of the previous eight editions of the tournament. That could be why they have been handed a 44.1% chance of winning in normal time here.
Sweden cannot be written off though, and still have a respectable 28.0% chance of victory inside 90 minutes, with an almost identical 27.9% chance that the game will go to extra-time.
Sweden vs United States Squads
Sweden: Jennifer Falk, Zećira Mušović, Tove Enblom, Linda Sembrant, Magdalena Eriksson, Jonna Andersson, Amanda Ilestedt, Nathalie Björn, Hanna Lundkvist, Anna Sandberg, Caroline Seger, Kosovare Asllani, Olivia Schough, Elin Rubensson, Filippa Angeldahl, Hanna Bennison, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, Sofia Jakobsson, Stina Blackstenius, Fridolina Rolfö, Lina Hurtig, Madelen Janogy, Rebecka Blomqvist.
United States: Aubrey Kingsbury, Casey Murphy, Alyssa Naeher, Alana Cook, Crystal Dunn, Emily Fox, Naomi Girma, Sofia Huerta, Kelley O’Hara, Emily Sonnett, Savannah DeMelo, Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Kristie Mewis, Ashley Sanchez, Andi Sullivan, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Trinity Rodman, Sophia Smith, Alyssa Thompson, Lynn Williams.