FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. Round of 16 Sunday 6 August | Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne Sweden v USA

The match

It is fair to say that Sweden and the USA have history at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ after six previous meetings, although this will be the first time they have faced each other in the knockout stages. The USA won their last Women’s World Cup encounter 2-0 in the group phase at France 2019 but their last competitive meeting saw Sweden run out convincing 3-0 winners at Tokyo 2020.

The two teams have also had contrasting routes to the last 16. Sweden claimed a dramatic late win over South Africa and then thrashed Italy to wrap up qualification with a game to spare before rounding off their group by beating Argentina.


The USA, though, scraped into the knockout rounds by the width of the post following a 0-0 draw with Portugal in their closing group game. Defeat would have sent Vlatko Andonovski’s side out following an earlier win over Vietnam and a draw with the Netherlands, with the USA yet to fully click into gear.

Team news

Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson made nine changes to his starting line-up for the final group game against Argentina and was rewarded with a 2-0 victory, which made it three wins from three matches.


Gerhardsson is likely to revert to a team similar to that which started the first two games against South Africa and Italy, with Caroline Seger, playing in her last World Cup, in danger of not being involved due to the calf injury which has plagued her in recent months.

A previous thigh issue has not prevented Amanda Ilestedt from playing a key role for Sweden so far, while Linda Sembrant appeared from the bench against Argentina. Fridolina Rolfo was substituted in the first two games as she makes her way back from a knee injury but she should start against the USA.

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The USA will be forced into making one change from the team which hung on for a 0-0 draw against Portugal as Rose Lavelle is suspended after collecting her second yellow card of the tournament.

Savannah DeMelo had started the first two games in midfield and will be hoping for a recall, while Julie Ertz looks set to continue her role as a central defender.

Players to watch

Stina Blackstenius Sweden striker Blackstenius may have been overshadowed in the goalscoring stakes by defender Ilestedt at the tournament so far, but she remains a vital component in her team’s setup. Blackstenius scored in the 5-0 win over Italy, while she also netted twice in Sweden’s victory over the USA at the Olympics in Tokyo. Given the way Portugal were able to create chances against the USA, Sweden will be confident of doing the same and will expect Blackstenius to be clinical if she is on the end of one of those opportunities.


Lindsey Horan As team captain at the tournament, Horan has been leading from the front, especially in the face of some of the criticism which has come the USA’s way following their stumble through the group phase. She scored in the opening 3-0 win over Vietnam following Sophia Smith’s double and then netted the equaliser in the 1-1 draw with the Netherlands. Horan scored in the win over Sweden at France 2019 and will again need to be similarly instrumental to give the USA their best chance of making it through to the quarter-finals.


“We’ve had some good results against them in the last couple of years. We are confident and I think we know how to hurt them, but it’s going to be a challenging game and we have a lot of respect for them. It’s a really, really good team who won the last World Cup. They want, a little bit like us, they want to play with a lot of speed and they want to win the ball and go for attacks straightaway. I feel like that’s where we can go for the attack as well. We are the best when we win the ball high up the pitch and really hurt them there. So, hopefully, if we get that part right from the start, I think we can have a good game.” Johanna Kaneryd, Sweden


“It wouldn’t be a major tournament if we weren’t facing Sweden. We know that they are a very good team. Every tournament that we’ve played them in is a massive battle. We know what they can bring, we know what we can bring and I think that’s the main focus right now – what we can do to expose them and go out and win this game. It’s going to be a battle. It’s the round of 16. It’s a knockout game. This is what we’re playing for. We’re playing for these big matches, we’re playing for these big moments, these pressure cookers. That’s what we want to be a part of. We’re going to take that pressure and we’re going to go with it and focus on ourselves. At the end of the day, it’s the World Cup.” Lindsey Horan, USA captain

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