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U.S. Loses To Sweden; Allows First Goals Of Women's World Cup

Nilla Fischer of Sweden and America's Abby Wambach battle for the ball during their Group C match in the Women's World Cup. Sweden took an early 1-0 advantage in the match.
Martin Rose
Getty Images
Nilla Fischer of Sweden and America's Abby Wambach battle for the ball during their Group C match in the Women's World Cup. Sweden took an early 1-0 advantage in the match.

Key moments from the FIFA Women's World Cup Group C match between the United States and Sweden, played in Wolfsburg, Germany, Wednesday:

Update at 4:38 p.m. ET:The victory is Sweden's first over the United States in the World Cup. The U.S. women will play Brazil in the quarter-finals Sunday, July 10, at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Update at 4:35 p.m. ET: Final score: Sweden 2, U.S. 1. The silver lining to the loss: facing Brazil would mean that Germany is in the other bracket, so a U.S.-Germany final would be possible.

Update at 4:33 p.m. ET:Sweden scored a goal after their charging player had been called off-side. ESPN analyst Julie Foudy says the call was wrong, the second time of the half that Swedish strikers have been wrongly called offside.

Update at 4:31 p.m. ET:Sweden is stalling and playing as many small short passes as possible. Totally understandable, but always jarring to watch desperation at one end of the pitch and sloth at the other.

Update at 4:29 p.m. ET:Second-half sub Kelley O'Hara misses a golden opportunity, as her close-in shot goes wide after a one-time feed.

Update at 4:23 p.m. ET:The referee missed a U.S. corner-kick call, after the ball went out on a Swedish player's foot. Lots of whistling in the stadium. Abby Wambach unhappy.

Update at 4:21 p.m. ET:The evening game drew a crowd of more than 23,000 soccer fans, including most of the German national team and Chancellor Angela Merkel. At the same stadium Saturday, Germany opens the second stage with a match against Japan.

Update at 4:10 p.m. ET:Abby Wambach heads a corner kick into the net, making it 2-1 at the 67th minute. Or rather, she shouldered it in — the ball missed her head. It's her first goal of the tournament. The Americans have had several threats in the second half, but most were from long range.

Update at 3:32 p.m. ET:At the end of the first half, Sweden is up, 2-0. The Swedish goalie had several key saves in the latter part of the first half, punching the ball away as U.S. players converged on the net.

Update at 3:20 p.m. ET: Sweden has scored after another U.S. penalty, as Nilla Fischer's free kick was deflected off of America's Amy LePeilbet and got past Hope Solo.

Our original post:

The U.S. women's soccer team faces Sweden in the FIFA Women's World Cup Wednesday, trying to wrap up group play by winning Group C. But the Americans surrendered two goals in the first half.

Sweden went ahead 1-0 in the 14th minute, after defender Amy LePeilbet was given a yellow card for bringing down a Swedish player just inside the penalty box.

The resulting penalty kick and goal by Lisa Dahlkvist broke U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo's run of shutouts in the tournament.

A win or a draw would be enough for the U.S. win the group. The loser of the match will be the runner-up in Group C — meaning they'll face Brazil in the next round. The winner of the match will play Australia, the Group D runner-up.

Earlier Wednesday, Brazil finished first in Group D, on the strength of seven goals scored in its first three matches. Both France and Germany have also scored seven goals — but unlike their European rivals, the Brazilian women didn't allow a goal in group play.

Injuries threatened to hurt the U.S. chances, with Heather O'Reilly scratched from the lineup due to a groin injury. And Abby Wambach was slowed by a heel injury that kept her out of two training sessions this week.

The next match for the U.S. squad will be on Sunday, July 10. We'll update this post as the U.S.-Sweden match progresses.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.