Sweden vs. United States
The FIFA Women’s World Cup continues with the final round of group matches, this one is a battle for top of Group C as Sweden coming off a 1-0 win over North Korea takes on USA at Volkswagen Arena in Wolfsburg, Germany who themselves beat Colombia to the tune of 3-0.
Sweden haven’t been that convincing over their first two matches, but managed to get the victories necessary to clinch qualification to the Quarterfinals. If the Scandinavians are to make a deep run and possibly make the final they will need to be better in front of goal, the forward partnership of Lotta Schelin and Jessica Landström have been ineffective for the most part spurning multiple chances against what would be considered “lesser” opposition. From this point forward it will only gets tougher and this team needs to be much more clinical, chances are being created but execution leaves a lot to be desired. Coach Thomas Dennerby will need the like of Sara Thunebro and Caroline Seger to continue their high level of play in midfield and defense, Thunebro has been impressive in both defensively and helping in attack down the left side while Seger provides a physical presence and playmaking ability in the middle of the park.
As for USA, they stepped up a level and showed they are not a side in decline. This squad is showing versatility and an ability to be threatening from all positions, in the first match it was the overall play of Lauren Cheney and the second match it was an amazing strike by Heather O Reilly. What might put fear in the minds of opposition is that the likes of Abby Wambach and Amy Rodriguez haven’t even come close to hitting their stride yet, once the entire attack gets on the same page they will be near impossible to contain and definitely be considered favorites to make the final. Coach Pia Sundhage will like how her team is approaching matches defensively, the likes of goalkeeper Hope Solo, midfielder Shannon Boxx and captain Christie Rampone are major parts of this teams +5 goal differential and two clean sheets. I like the under in this one, Sweden have struggled in front of goal but their defense looks like they can cause USA some problems. This will be the Americans biggest test to date; playing with patience will be the key for them. Take the under 2.5 goals here.