A win or a draw gives the USWNT first place above Sweden in Group F. With one score from Lindsey Horan in the third minute and then another in the 50th minute off a shot from Tobin Heath that was ruled as an own goal, the Americans created history.
Sterner tests will come, but probably not until the quarterfinals when France, if the last-16 ties go as the bookies' predict, will likely be the opponent for what would be a mouthwatering contest in Paris. Hosts France and defending champions US are on course to meet in the last eight and are on England's side of the draw.
Coming into Thursday's Group F closer, the narrative was whether the Americans might be better off losing so they could avoid a potential meeting with France in the quarter-final.
Where does Sweden and the United States play in the World Cup? But the USA went full throttle against Sweden, dominating possession and creating constant danger without easing off. The field was narrowed from 24 teams down to 16 after each nation participated in three games. A win against Spain could set up a showdown against host and tournament favorite France in the quarterfinals. But Gerhardsson had clearly left out more crucial players than Ellis had chosen to. Midfielder Julie Ertz - a player who kept a photo of the Sweden defeat as a screensaver on her phone to use failure to fuel the fire - was the only major absentee through injury.
Should the United States win Group F, it would move on to play the runner up in Group B, which is Spain.
The U.S. was on the verge of reaching that milestone heading into Thursday's game, needing two goals. She danced with the ball in front of Swedish defender Jonna Anderson and fired a cross that went off Andersson's foot and into goal.
Tobin Heath of the US celebrates with teammate Kelley O'hara after scoring her team's second goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World CupFrance group F match between Sweden and United States of America at Stade Oceane on June 20, 2019, in Le Havre, France.
Heath's strike somehow survived a VAR check from referee Anastasia Pustovoytova despite substitute Carli Lloyd looking to be offside in the build up.
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