Familiar foes

Los Angeles Times - - WOMEN'S WORLD CUP -

The United States and Swe­den, who meet to­day in a key Group D game at the Women’s World Cup, are no strangers to each other: This will mark the fifth time the na­tions have met in seven Cups, all in group play. A look at the ri­valry:

AMONG THE ELITE: The U.S. and Swe­den en­tered this year’s World Cup ranked sec­ond and fifth, re­spec­tively, in FIFA’s world rank­ings. They are two of only three na­tions — along with Brazil — to have qual­i­fied for ev­ery World Cup and Olympic fi­nals.

TIGHT­EN­ING UP: The U.S. holds a 20-6-9 ad­van­tage in the se­ries, dat­ing back to a 2-1 win for Swe­den in 1987. But over the last seven meet­ings since 2011, the Swedes have won three games and tied two oth­ers.

SEE YOU IN POR­TU­GAL: The two na­tions have met 14 times at the Al­garve Cup, the in­vi­ta­tional in Por­tu­gal that an­nu­ally draws the world’s best teams. They met once in the ti­tle match, play­ing to a 1-1 tie in 2009 be­fore Swe­den won a penalty shootout, 4-3.

THE ANTI-PIA FAC­TOR: Pia Sund­hage, the for­mer Swedish star, for­mer U.S. coach and cur­rent Swedish coach, has taken part in two meet­ings of the teams at the World Cup, and was on the los­ing side both times. She played for Swe­den in a loss to the U.S. in 1991, and coached the U.S. in a loss to Swe­den in 2011.

ON THE BIG STAGE: How the teams fared in their four pre­vi­ous World Cup meet­ings:

1991 in Panyu, China: The first World Cup match for both teams, the U.S. took a 3-0 lead be­hind a pair of Caren Jen­nings goals be­fore hav­ing to hold on for a 3-2 victory.

2003 in Wash­ing­ton: First-half goals by Kris­tine Lilly and Cindy Par­low sparked the U.S. to a 3-1 open­ing victory, although Swe­den would go on to reach the cham­pi­onship match, los­ing to Ger­many.

2007 in Chengdu, China: Com­ing off a ragged per­for­mance in a tie with North Korea, the U.S. got back on track as Abby Wam­bach’s two goals and Hope Solo’s goal­keep­ing took down Swe­den, 2-0.

2011 in Wolfs­burg, Ger­many: The U.S. had never lost a World Cup game in group play, un­til first-half goals by Lisa Dahlkvist and Nilla Fischer proved too much from which to come back in a 2-1 Swedish victory.

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