Goals either side of half-time saw the United States beat Sweden 2-0 to win Group F at the Women's World Cup on Thursday night in Le Havre, setting up a round-of-16 match with Spain.
After making seven lineup changes for the match against Chile, coach Jill Ellis went back to the front three she used in the opener: Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath. Julie Ertz was not in the lineup for the U.S. as a precautionary measure because of a hip contusion after she started and scored in the 3-0 win against Chile.
The U.S., looking for a bit of revenge after losing to Sweden in the 2016 Olympics, got off to a perfect start when Lindsey Horan poked home from close range in the third minute after Megan Rapinoe's corner kick skipped past goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl.
Despite the early goal and plenty of pressure from the U.S., Sweden settled into the game and looked dangerous on the counter-attack, with Sofia Jakobsson in particular causing the Americans' back-line problems.
The U.S., unbeaten when leading at half-time in World Cup play, brought on Carli Lloyd in place of Alex Morgan at the start of the second half. Morgan was involved in a couple of collisions in the first half and at one point held her right knee.
"Alex took a knock in the first half and it was just, 'Let's be smart about this.' Similar vein to Julie. It is a zero risk game in terms of having players available for the next round," Ellis said.
Tobin Heath had the ball in the net minutes after the restart, beating her defender at the near post and benefitting from a slight deflection from Joanna Andersson that beat Lindahl. The play was reviewed by the referee on the pitchside monitor as Lloyd appeared to be offside in the buildup, but the goal was allowed and ruled an own goal by Andersson as the U.S. took a 2-0 win.
"It's a good performance and we wanted to continue to build momentum," Ellis told a news conference after the match. "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 U.S. did not concede a goal in the group phase and extended its team record of 13 games without a loss in the Women's World Cup dating back to a 2011 group stage defeat to Sweden.
"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 Heath.
The goal was the 18th for the U.S. in group play, breaking the Women's World Cup mark set by Norway in 1995.
The U.S. plays Spain, who finished second in Group B, on June 24 in the knockout round, while Sweden will play Canada on the same day.