The record two-time champions, USA, will play their 60th game in
a FIFA women's competition against Sweden in Chengdu on Friday.
That statistic will be of little concern to Greg Ryan's side
when they step out against the Scandinavians, however, with their
focus directed exclusively on gaining a victory against a team two
places below them on the FIFA Women's World Ranking. USA have
the strength in depth that befits their status as world No1 and
they will be confident of taking a stride towards the knockout
rounds, yet an American victory is anything but a foregone
conclusion. With Hanna Ljungberg in her pomp and an impressive
supporting cast, Sweden believe they have every chance of seizing
the Group B initiative.
Sweden-USA, Chengdu, Friday 14 September, 17:00 (local time)
Group B is evenly poised, with all four teams tied on one point. A defeat for either side would leave their hopes of progress in the balance.
The birthday girl
One day before her 22nd birthday, Sweden front-runner Madelaine Edlund will hope for an early present against USA.
Sweden's Nilla Fischer will undergo a fitness test ahead of the match but her team-mate Caroline Seger has been passed fit to play. USA's Abby Wambach is ready to take to the field despite having five stitches to a head wound during the game against Korea DPR.
What they said
We know that the US are going to play long balls up to Wambach and they are very physical - it's going to be a tough game but we have a plan to play them in the typical Swedish way. We think we know how they are going to attack us and we are happy with our preparations - Thomas Dennerby, Sweden coach
We knew coming into this World Cup that we were put in a really complicated group. Sweden will be a tough test for us, just like Korea was a tough test. We have yet to play our best soccer and hopefully against the Swedes we can hit our stride and show what we're capable of - USA striker, Abby Wambach