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Sweden surprises U.S. to win Group C

Jul 6, 2011 - 10:19 PM Wolfsburg, Germany (Sports Network) - The United States lost a group match for the first time ever at the Women's World Cup on Wednesday and its penalty is a quarterfinal showdown with Brazil.

Lisa Dahlkvist and Nilla Fischer scored in the first half and Sweden defeated the U.S., 2-1, at Volkswagen Arena to win Group C and snap the Americans' 17- game unbeaten streak in group play spanning all six World Cups.

Abby Wambach scored the lone goal for the U.S. in the 67th minute.

Sweden will play Group D runner-up Australia on Sunday, and the U.S. will meet Group D winner Brazil in the other quarterfinal. Brazil eliminated the U.S. in 2007 with a 4-0 win in the semifinals.

"This game was not so important concerning the tournament, but for us it was important to win to gain more confidence," said Sweden coach Thomas Dennerby. "Now we have to focus on Australia. We have watched their games and now we have to get together and find a strategy against that team."

The U.S. and Sweden entered their final Group C match level on points, and the U.S. needed only a draw to win the group.

But Swedish striker Charlotta Schelin was a handful from the start, and nearly scored the first goal inside 10 minutes when she got in on goal alone. Schelin picked out the bottom right, but U.S. goalie Hope Solo - who already moved to her right - stuck her leg out to deflect the shot.

Solo wasn't as fortunate in the 16th minute, as Dahlkvist converted a penalty to put Sweden in front. Schelin drew the foul on U.S. defender Amy LePeilbet, who dragged down the striker and was lucky to just receive a yellow card.

Dahlkvist drove the penalty to the left past Solo, who dove that way, for her second goal of the tournament. The goal ended Solo's shutout streak 46 minutes short of the U.S. record of 843 set by Maslin-Kammerdeiner from 1988-91.

The U.S. created numerous chances, but put most of its attempts off target and Sweden punished the Americans later in the half with its second goal.

Therese Sjogran won a free kick 30 yards from goal, and Fischer drove the shot toward the right post and got a lucky deflection off LePeilbet on the edge of the area.

With Solo already going to her left post, the ball floated into the left side in the 35th minute, putting Sweden in control after the opening 45 minutes.

After wasting a few more chances early in the second half, the U.S. pulled a goal back in the 67th minute when Wambach directed a corner kick from Lauren Cheney past Sweden goalie Hedvig Lindahl with her shoulder.

Wambach rose to challenge for the pass near two Swedish defenders and the ball deflected off her and perfectly into the upper-left corner for her first goal of the tournament and eighth in eight games against Sweden.

Kelly O'Hara had the best chance to rescue a draw for the U.S. with just under five minutes left, but she turned Cheney's cross wide of the right post with the net open.

"It was a very good game, very entertaining and my team played very well," said U.S. coach Pia Sundhage. "I am happy that we have created many chances, but I am sad that we have lost the game. We could have been more patient with our play. Sometimes the game took place too much in the midfield."

Sweden beat the U.S. in World Cup for the first time in four matches. The U.S. won group matches against Sweden in 1991, 2003 and 2007.

The U.S. was 15-0-2 in previous group matches, drawing China (3-3 in 1995) and North Korea (2-2 in 2007).