USWNT to play pair of friendlies in Europe this April
CHICAGO – The U.S. Women’s National Team will travel to Europe during the April FIFA international match window and will face Sweden on April 10 at Friends Arena in Stockholm (FOX at 1 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. local). U.S. Soccer is currently finalizing a second match in Europe to be played on April 13.
Friends Arena is an ultra-modern retractable roof stadium that opened at the end of 2012, but there will be no fans allowed at the game. Sweden is currently fifth in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings and this will be the first match ever for the USWNT in Sweden’s capital city.
The most recent meeting between the countries came in Vlatko Andonovski’s first match as USWNT head coach on Nov. 7, 2019, a 3-2 U.S. victory. The USA also faced Sweden in group play at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a 2-0 U.S. win.
Unbeaten through five games so far in 2021, these will be the first away games of the year and mark a relatively quick return to Europe for the U.S. Women who defeated the Netherlands, 2-0, in Breda last November.
“We want to play as many of the top teams as possible to prepare for the Olympics and Sweden certainly falls into that category,” said Andonovski. “They are proven winners, have tremendously athletic players, are led by an excellent coach and are tactically savvy and experienced. We need as many tests as possible like the ones we’ll face at the Olympics and these games in Europe will give us that. We only have a few matches left before we have to pick the Olympic Team so we need the players to show how they can impact the success of our team and we need to see them do it against world class teams.”
The USA has played Sweden 40 times in its history, but only three of those matches have been in Sweden. The USA last played in Sweden on June 8, 2017, in Gothenburg, a 1-0 win on a goal from Rose Lavelle. The USA first faced Sweden in 1987, but the first match between the teams in Sweden came 22 years later in the 24th meeting on July 5, 2008 in Skellefteå, a 1-0 U.S. win on a goal from Carli Lloyd. The teams also played in Halmstad on June 16, 2012, a 3-1 U.S. victory, as Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath scored.
Europe’s qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics came from the top three European finishers at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sweden qualified for Tokyo by virtue of its third-place finish in France.
As was the case during all U.S. Soccer activity during the pandemic, the U.S. players and staff will operate inside highly controlled environments at the team hotels in Europe. The staging of the training and the matches will fall under the comprehensive U.S. Soccer Return to Play Protocols and Guidelines and in accordance with the UEFA Return to Play Protocols, with stringent collaboration with hosting Federations.
The U.S. delegation has received an exemption from quarantine provided to professional sports organizations. Everyone entering the environment will be tested for COVID-19 before traveling, upon arrival and every two days thereafter. The USA will not begin full team training in Europe until the results of all arrival tests are confirmed.
- The April 2021 FIFA international match window runs from April 5-13.
- The USA is 23-6-11 all-time against Sweden with 12 of those meetings taking place at the annual Algarve Cup in Portugal.
- Sweden’s six all-time wins against the USA are the most by any country except Norway, which has 19 wins against the USA.
- Eight of the previous 40 meetings between the teams have come at world championships – six at the World Cup and twice at the Olympics.
- Sweden cruised through qualifying to earn its berth to the 2022 UEFA Women’s Championship, which will be staged in England.
- Sweden won Group F with 22 points from seven wins and one tie and a goal difference of 40-2.