• Thursday Jul 07, 2011

    U.S. women lose first group match at World Cup

    WOLFSBURG, Germany - The United States lost for the first time in the group stage of the Women's World Cup, giving up two first-half goals and falling 2-1 to Sweden on Wednesday.

    Lisa Dahlkvist converted a penalty in the 16th minute and Nilla Fischer added another goal off a deflected free kick in the 35th to give Sweden its second win in seven months against the United States, only its fifth in 30 matches against the Americans.

    The result relegated the United States, which already had clinched its place in the knockout round, to second place in Group C and a quarterfinal meeting against Brazil on Sunday in Dresden. The victory gave Sweden the Group C title and a quarterfinal match against Australia on Sunday.

    The Americans had more of the possession outshot Sweden 20-9, including 6-5 on goal, but were victims of their own defensive lapses and an inability to finish their few quality opportunities.

    Dahlkvist put Sweden ahead after Amy Lepeilbet pulled down Sweden forward Lotta Schelin by the shoulder.

    A mis-touched ball by midfielder Rachel Buehler led her to foul Therese Sjogran 25 meters from goal, giving Sweden a free kick. Fischer's shot to the right side deflected off Lepeilbet's thigh and was redirected to the left side of the goal with U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo moving in the opposite direction.

    Abby Wambach, who did not train the previous two days due to chronic tendonitis in her right Achilles, gave the United States hope when she shouldered in Lauren Cheney's corner kick in the 67th minute.

    The Americans dominated possession and chances over the final 20 minutes, nearly equalizing on Kelly O'Hara's volley just wide of the right post in the 87th minute.

    In 17 previous group matches at the Women's World Cup, the United States had only been held to as much as a draw twice, against China in 1995 and by North Korea in 2007.

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