PREVIEW: Sweden v United States – FIFA Women’s World Cup Team News, Predicted Lineups and Where to Watch

Day Two of the knockouts at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is just around the corner and the stakes are higher than ever. Spain and Japan have confirmed themselves as the first teams to progress to the quarterfinals with both set to learn their next opponents after Sunday’s clashes. The late kick-off in Melbourne will have the attention of Japan, who await the winner, as well as millions across the world eagerly anticipating what promises to be a clash for the ages.

The 2003 runners-up take on the four-time World Champions- looking to dethrone the queens of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. It’s Sweden vs the United States, with a place in the quarter-finals on the line.

Sweden have thoroughly impressed so far and will be looking to continue their rich vein of form against the reigning World Champions. The Blågult topped their group after winning all three matches – scoring nine and conceding once. Their most impressive victory came against Italy where they put five past them without reply. It was a clear statement of intentions by the Swedes in their quest for World Cup glory.

Sweden have been a consistent staple of the FIFA Women’s World Cup since its inaugural edition in 1991. They came close to tasting glory in 2003, when they lost marginally to Germany in the final, but are yet to take home the famous trophy. With the form they’re in, Sweden will surely fancy their chances of going one step further if they make the final in Sydney. However, they face the toughest test any likely contender could possibly face this Saturday. The odds are tipped against them, but the stats suggest a shock could be likely.

The United States are the most successful team in the history of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Stars and Stripes have won the famous competition four times, and could be the first to win it three times in a row. They hold the impressive record of never finishing lower than third place – playing the maximum number of matches possible at every edition of the competition since 1991.

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History undoubtedly favours the United States in Saturday’s clash, but their group stage form might suggest otherwise. This year saw their lowest ever points tally in a FIFA Women’s World Cup group stage, where they failed to top the group for only the second time in their history. The Stars and Stripes picked up five points with victory over Vietnam and draws against the Netherlands and Portugal. While they still remain favourites to win the tournament, there’s no doubt that most expected more from the four-time world champions.

Many have attributed the cracks appearing in their armour to their ageing squad. Major contributors in previous title winning campaigns, such as Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, are approaching their late 30s. With this likely being their last World Cup, questions are being asked of whether they still possess the quality necessary, as well as how to fill the gap they’ll leave in future competitions. For now, their focus remains on Saturday’s clash against Sweden as they look to reinforce their armour with victory.

In nine editions of the competition, Sweden and the United States have been drawn in the same group six times – and neither side have played any other country more times in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Unfortunately for Sweden, they’ve also never lost to any other country more times than the United States. In six meetings, the United States have beaten them four times. So, they’re undeniably sick of being beat by them in this competition.

However, Sweden can take solace in being one of only four countries to have ever beaten the United States in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Coincidentally, the year Sweden beat them was in the group stage of the 2011 Women’s World Cup – when the United States first failed to top their group. Whether history is repeating itself or it’s a simple coincidence, Sweden will want to change the record and progress at the expense of their toughest opponents. 

Japan will play the winner of this Saturday’s clash in the quarterfinals at Eden Park next Friday. The Blågult will be looking to take advantage of rare weakness in The Stars and Stripes, and progress at their expense. Can Sweden continue their road to first-time glory, or will the United States preserve their flawless record? We’ll know who will play Japan next come full-time in Melbourne. 

Team news

Sweden have a fully fit and available squad for Saturday’s clash.

Rose Lavelle will miss the tie through suspension after picking up her second yellow card of the tournament against Portugal. Savannah DeMelo could potentially take her place in the starting lineup. 

Predicted lineups

Sweden: Falk, Andersson, Eriksson, Ilestedt, Bjorn, Rubensson, Angeldahl, Rolfo, Asllani, Rytting Kaneryd, Blackstenius

United States: Naeher, Dunn, Girma, Ertz, Fox, Horan, Sullivan, Demelo, Smith, Morgan, Williams

Where can I watch?

UK Viewers

Kick-off at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium is scheduled for 10:00am UK time on Saturday, 6th August 2023. The coverage will begin at 09:30am on ITV 1 and ITVX. If you’re unable to watch the match, fear not – we’ll have a detailed match report published within minutes of the final whistle.

US Viewers

For viewers watching Stateside, the match will be broadcast live on FOX Sports in English and Telemundo in Spanish. Kick-off at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium is scheduled for 02:00am PT / 04:00am CT / 05:00am ET on Saturday, 6th August 2023 . If you’re unable to watch the match, fear not – we’ll have a detailed match report published within minutes of the final whistle.