Thursday, July 18, 2019 | ePaper

USA the 'target' in World Cup knockouts, says Lloyd

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Agency :
Carli Lloyd says that everyone is gunning for the United States after they moved into the knockout stages of the Women's World Cup as Group F winner with a 2-0 win over Sweden on Thursday.
Jill Ellis's side broke a 24-year-old record for the number of goals scored in the group stage when Jonna Andersson deflected Tobin Heath's shot into her own net four minutes after the break, and the States go into the last 16 having scored a whopping 18 times without conceding once.
Those numbers make the reigning word champions the side to beat as they prepare for a last-16 clash with Spain in Reims on Monday, but there is room for improvement after a far-from-thrilling performance against a much-changed Swedish side.
"The target's on the back, we're expected to win and anything less than that is considered a failure in everyone's eyes. I think it's really all about just keeping the foot down on the pedal," said Lloyd, who was at the centre of yet another VAR controversy.
The 36-year-old looked beyond the last defender in the build up to Jonna Andersson's 50th-minute own goal, but referee Anastasia Pustovoytova somehow allowed Andersson's own goal to stand despite checking the video footage.
However the Americans were good value for their win, which puts them in the harder side of the knockout stage draw alongside hosts and potential quarter-final opponents France, England, Norway, Brazil and dark horses Australia.
Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson admitted that he "didn't think in advance that it was important to end up first or second" after making seven changes and giving four players their World Cup debuts.
The USA seemed unconvinced of that strategy, even if it earned the Swedes a last-16 clash against Canada and only Germany and the Netherlands-themselves through as Group E winners after beating the Canadians 2-1 on Thursday-as truly strong opposition should they progress further.
"I think if you're scared to play a team in the World Cup then you don't deserve to win it," said midfielder Rose Lavelle.

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