The United States women’s soccer team beat New Zealand 6-1, providing sighs of relief to fans. They were surprisingly beaten by Sweden 3-0 three days ag, ending their 44 game winning streak.
NBC reports that Rose Lavelle opened the scoring in the ninth minute, Lindsey Horan made it 2-0 just before halftime, and two own goals sandwiched around strikes by Christen Press and Alex Morgan provided the final point.
The victory almost assures the U.S. will move onto the quarterfinals, which begin next week.
In what is just a 12-team field, it’s possible to advance to the knockout stage with as little as one point. The Americans now have three going into their group play finale against a very good Australia side on Tuesday. It’s worth noting that New Zealand isn’t highly ranked: they’re ranked number 22, while Sweden is ranked No. 5 and the U.S. is the top-ranked team in the world.
NBC reported that U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovki made five changes to his lineup for the game, in order to rest some of the squad’s veteran players for the three-day turn-around; but they speculate that the move was also likely to shake things up following the loss to Sweden. Their next game is on Tuesday, against Australia.