Perfect US beat Sweden 2-0 to top Group F

The United States defeats Sweden 2-0 at Thursday’s World Cup match, topping group F. (AFP pic)

LE HAVRE: Holders the United States beat Sweden 2-0 on Thursday to maintain their perfect women’s World Cup record and top Group F, setting up a last-16 clash with Spain.

Lindsey Horan netted the tournament’s fastest goal after three minutes and Jonna Andersson scored an own goal as the US beat the record for most goals (18) in the women’s World Cup group stage.

Sweden, who were also qualified before kick-off, finished second in the group with six points and will face Canada for a place in the quarterfinals.

“It’s a good performance and we wanted to continue to build momentum,” US coach Jill Ellis told a news conference.

“We have things to work on to make sure we’re sharper next game, and the players know that. It was a rival game and I thought the players showed a great mentality.”

The US did not concede a goal in the group phase.

“It’s huge and a big part of what we’re trying to do both offensively and defensively. We talk about the idea of 360-degree defending where everyone is defending,” said midfielder Tobin Heath.

The US made a fast start when Horan tapped in the opening goal from close range from Megan Rapinoe’s corner.

That equalled Norway’s record group-stage tally of 17 set in 1995 but despite Sweden’s determined resistance, the mark seemed destined to be beaten at the Stade Oceane.

Five minutes into the second half, Heath’s header took a deflection off Andersson as the US doubled their lead.

The goal was confirmed after a VAR review which ruled that Heath was not offside.

Chile beat Thailand 2-0 to finish third in the group but were eliminated from the tournament. Thailand ended without a point.