It’s no secret that Sweden have been the biggest thorn in the side of the United States women’s national team in recent history. The Swedes knocked the USWNT out of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the 2016 Olympics and thrashed the Americans 3-0 in the group stage of the 2020 Olympics.
Sweden are the USWNT’s kryptonite. They won’t be able to hurt the USWNT in Paris next summer though because they failed to qualify due to a 1-0 loss to Switzerland on Friday.
Sweden fail to qualify for Olympics
SWEDEN WILL NOT QUALIFY FOR THE 2024 OLYMPICS.The silver medalists from Tokyo 2020 and recent third-place finishers at the 2023 World Cup will be at home this summer. pic.twitter.com/CT6gVKfeNg
— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) December 1, 2023
Sweden women’s team will miss the Olympics for the first time everThe 2020 Olympic silver medalists and 2023 World Cup third place finishers won’t be at Paris 2024 pic.twitter.com/cnIbDG5IVG
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 1, 2023
The Paris Olympics will be the first time in history that Sweden won’t compete in women’s soccer at the Summer Games since the sport was added in 1996. The European powerhouse had qualified seven-straight times.
How did this happen?
European women’s teams trying to qualify for the 2024 Olympics face a brutal path. With France already qualified as the hosts, only two spots remain for qualification.
The process is being done through the UEFA Women’s Nations League with the two finalists of the tournament securing the qualifications spots. (If France make the final then the winner of the third-place game gets the final ticket for the Olympics.)
Teams were placed in four groups of four with only the winner of each group advancing to the semifinals. Each team in the group played each other home and away.
Sweden had the odds stacked against them as they were put in the same group with Spain, the defending world champs. Switzerland and Italy make up the other two teams in the group.
The Swedes’ dreams of making the Olympics came crashing down with two poor results. A 1-1 draw with Italy in October was a speedbump, but Friday’s 1-0 shock loss to Switzerland was the nail in the coffin.
Switzerland had lost all four games managing just one goal in the process going into Friday’s contest. Despite Sweden recording four times as many shots as the Swiss — 28 to seven — a sixth minute goal from Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic proved to be the difference.
El gol de Ana Mari Crnogorcevic pic.twitter.com/KJssLoFzMO— FCBSeny (@FCBseny) December 1, 2023
The goal doomed Sweden and spread a sigh of relief among USWNT fans. The U.S. already secured a spot in next summer’s Olympics after winning the 2022 Concacaf Championship.
Spain and France have both locked in a spot in the Nations League semifinals. The final two semifinal spots will be contested between England-Netherlands and Germany-Denmark.