The United States Women’s National Team begins its pursuit of a fifth Olympic gold medal Wednesday morning against Sweden, the same nation that eliminated the USWNT in a stunning quarterfinal upset at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Plenty has changed in the five years since, but as many as 20 players combined between the two nations have returned for the rematch in Tokyo.
The biggest changes will be seen in the two technical areas. For Sweden, Peter Gerhardsson has replaced Pia Sundhage, who crafted the defensive-minded game plan to eliminate the U.S. in Rio four years after coaching the Americans to gold at the London 2012 Olympics. Sundhage will still have a large presence in Tokyo, heading up the Brazilian women’s team.
Meanwhile, for the U.S., Vlatko Andonovski will get his first taste of major tournament action since taking over from former USWNT coach Jill Ellis. Since Andonovski’s hire in January 2019, the U.S. has won 22 times and drawn once in 23 matches.
He has had the benefit of coaching the defending FIFA Women’s World Cup champions, a vastly experienced squad that includes several of the greatest players in the history of the women’s game, namely Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan. However, the star of the Andonovski era to-date has been Christen Press, who arrives in Tokyo red hot with 14 goals and 21 assists in her last 35 games for the national team.
The U.S. meets Sweden for the ninth time at a major tournament, the most of any opponent. Sweden’s attack is spearheaded by Sofia Jakobsen with 23 career international goals, as well as Stina Blackstenius, who scored against the U.S. in the Rio quarterfinal which ended 1-1 with Sweden prevailing in a penalty shootout. The Swedish goal is protected by Hedvig Lindahl, one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
The rivals make up half of Group G at the Tokyo Olympics, which also includes Australia and New Zealand.
SEE MORE: Rio 2016: USWNT falls to Sweden in PKs, eliminated in QF
The match kicks off from Tokyo Stadium at 5:30 p.m. locally in Japan, putting it at 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time Wednesday morning in the U.S.
How to Watch
The U.S. vs. Sweden will air LIVE on USA at 4:30 a.m. ET and will also be replayed on NBCSN at 8:30 a.m. ET and 6:00 p.m. ET.
The match is also streaming LIVE on NBCOlympics.com (LINK HERE) and on the NBC Sports app. A full replay will be available on those platforms as soon as the match concludes.
For the rest of Wednesday's soccer action, visit the full Tokyo Olympics soccer schedule. For Spanish-language coverage, visit the full Telemundo coverage schedule.