The USWNT’s defeat to Sweden in the Olympics should be a wake-up call, but the pursuit of the gold medal continues

Vlatko Andonovski was hired in October 2019, and the position required him to be almost perfect, and this was exactly what he offered before landing in Japan for the 2020 Olympics. He coached the U.S. women’s football team in 23 games, including 22 victories and none of the losses.

However, none of these competitions have participated in major tournaments. His highest-level international football debut was against the US rival Sweden at the Olympics on Wednesday, which became the worst day of his tenure: the coach performed the worst, the USWNT players performed the worst, and the results were the worst imaginable.

No, the last part is not correct.

If you are smart enough to not set the alarm clock to wake you up before dawn, then all you have to know is yourself-frankly, one thing the US women’s national team must know-about Sweden’s 3-0 at the Tokyo Olympics Won the first match of the football championship.

more: Sweden’s stunning 3-0 victory over the U.S. game by game blog

That’s it: the game is not that close yet.

“Our ass got kicked a little bit,” veteran Megan Rapinoe said afterwards.

“Flatko said,’We got ourselves into this mess, and now we have a responsibility to get ourselves out of it,” said team captain Becky Sauerbrunn.

The generous nature of the Olympics only eliminated 4 of the 12 teams after the group stage, which means that the United States still has a chance to advance to the quarterfinals. There was a game against New Zealand on Saturday, followed by a Group G final against Australia. Another effort in this neighborhood will undermine any plan to win the fifth Olympic gold medal.

“Obviously, we put ourselves in a big hole, but we are the only ones who can get ourselves out of trouble,” Andonovsky told reporters. “It’s not easy. We have to achieve other results in the next two games, but in fact there are still opportunities-I know this team will not give up.”

This statement is based on his knowledge of the players on the roster, but the fact is that only veterans Cali Lloyd and Tobin Heath have ever been in similar positions.

USWNT has previously participated in 14 major events-the Olympics and World Cup-and only lost one opener. In the 2008 Olympics, it defeated Norway 2-0. Lloyd defeated Brazil with an overtime goal and won the gold medal . Their record in the championship opener is 11-1-2, and they lead their opponents by a 46-12 advantage.

In the first half it sometimes seemed that Sweden might score 46 points in this game alone. Sweden has enough clear and attractive opportunities to score as many as six goals. It’s not just the results that are disturbing. This is acting.

“Sometimes, I think if we lose or tie, or someone gives us a match, it’s like incredible,” Rapino told reporters later. “This is really an offense to all other teams. This is the highest level and the best team in the world-Sweden is one of the best teams in the world, and of course it is also true in Europe. Therefore, If we don’t play well in the games, we won’t win these games.”

However, this is the essence of international football. Emphasizing a single result may feel unfair, but in a compact tournament held every four years, a game may contain extravagant consequences.

Imagine that Colombia brought Carlos Valderrama and Faustino Asprilla to the United States. Their odds of winning the 1994 World Cup were very small, but they lost 3-1 to Romania in the first game and never recovered. Or Germany’s highest confidence after the 2014 World Cup championship, which did not prevent the first loss to Mexico in 1-0 four years later, which led to the withdrawal of the group stage after only three games and 10 days.

“We always want to win every game we participate in,” Rapinoe (pictured below) said. “So did we expect this result tonight? No, it’s frustrating. Frustratingly, this is Sweden. They found a lot of space in us. I don’t even know-we gave up this year How many goals were there? I don’t remember when we lost the ball last time.”

USWNT only created 3 high-quality scoring opportunities in 90 minutes: Rose LaVille’s header in the first half scored to the left goal post; in the 71st minute, Rapinoe’s fast pass to Christen Press came so fast that Press almost There was no time to react and shot the ball from the goal post, but Lloyd shot from near the top of the penalty area and was blocked by a defender.

Obviously early in the game, if defensive midfielder Julie Ertz is injured, the United States will not be able to win the game. In the five games before the Olympics, Andonovsky tried to use attacking midfielder Lindsey Holland in this role, but no opponent could pass the midfield to the United States like Derek Henry did in a football match. Put tremendous pressure on. Curiously, when Andonowski chose to insert Eltz at halftime, he removed Sam Mavis, who was the only player to provide physical presence and slowed the transition in Sweden. .

The decision not to start Rapinoe is also strange. She was effectively replaced by Heath in the starting lineup, who has not participated in a game due to injury since December last year. Heath is a wreck, creates no danger, and relies too much on—as she often does—her dribbling skills, often turning the ball over.

Alyssa Naeher also really showed discomfort in scoring for the first time. She hesitated on the cross for Sweden’s second goal and was at a loss for the third goal.

“I think we still did enough in the game. We completed more opportunities and we were there. Passed a few times here or there,” Rapino said. “I don’t think it is,’Oh my God, the team is too tight, we can’t do anything.’

This sounds like a warrior’s self-confidence after being knocked down, because this is the only obstacle to realizing that another person has just separated him or her from consciousness-and the only way to get the courage to climb back. ring.

But sometimes, it does work.

Or “retracting the championship belt” is not the same thing.

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