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.