US Women win against Sweden and await Spain in the Round of 16

In their most difficult test thus far, the defending champions came through unscathed, securing a comfortable 2-0 victory against Sweden to make it three wins from three in France with no goals conceded.

From the moment Lindsey Horan struck in the third minute in Le Havre for the quickest goal of the tournament the result was never really in doubt. That a Jonna Andersson own goal was the only addition to the scoreline will probably be an irritation to a team from which much is expected.

The US wasn't without weakness, there were occasions when the defense erred -- Kosovare Asllani glided through on goal far too easily in the first half -- but it concludes the group stages atop Group F and as justified favorite for a fourth title.

Ellis' biggest worry is likely to be Alex Morgan's half-time departure after a heavy challenge in the first half. The coach later said that substituting her star striker was a matter of being "smart about things."

Ellis opted for mostly the same personnel which started the record 13-0 opening victory over Thailand. Midfielder Julie Ertz -- a player who kept a photo of the Sweden defeat as a screensaver on her phone as a way of using failure to fuel the fire -- was the only absentee through injury.

With progress also assured Sweden made seven changes to the team which beat Thailand in its last outing. Four players were given their World Cup debuts.

When Megan Rapinoe swung in a low corner, Sweden's defenders allowed the ball to fall into the path of Horan, leaving the impressive midfielder with a simple strike a few yards from goal. Even Thailand had held firm for longer.

Despite the US' monopoly of possession and territory, it wasn't until the 50th minute that the second breakthrough came.

Rapinoe was again the creator, finding the effervescent Heath who aimed at goal from an acute angle, forcing Andersson to direct the ball into her own net. 

Sweden will play Canada next on Monday, while the US will now turn its attention to a last-16 match against Spain, a team which is competing in the knockout stages for the first time and one which the defending champions defeated 1-0 in a friendly in January.


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