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U.S. falls to Sweden, will face Brazil in quarterfinals

Amy Rodriguez of USA looks dejected during the

Amy Rodriguez of USA looks dejected during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 Group C match between Sweden and USA at the Arena In Allerpark. (July 6, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

 The United States was stunned by Sweden, 2-1, in its 2011 World Cup group-stage finale and will enter the knockout rounds as the runner-up team from Group C.

This was the United States' first loss in the group stage of the World Cup, having posted a 15-0-2 record entering Wednesday's game. The Americans will face Brazil and the legendary Marta in the quarterfinals Sunday in Dresden, Germany (11 a.m., ESPN).

Sweden scored twice in the first half on a pair of miscues by defender Amy LePeilbet -- one her fault, one just an unlucky bounce. She took down Lotta Schelin in the box to give Sweden in a penalty kick 15 minutes into the game. Lisa Dahlkvist struck it confidently past goalkeeper Hope Solo for a 1-0 lead. Later in the half, Sweden earned a free kick 30 yards from goal. Nilla Fischer blasted it off LePeilbet's leg and it redirected into the net to double Sweden's lead.

Solo entered the game having played 781 minutes without surrendering a goal. She added 14 minutes to that streak at the outset of the game, but couldn't extend it long enough to set an all-time record. Kim Maslin-Kammerdeiner played 843 minutes without allowing a goal from 1988 to 1991.

Abby Wambach scored her 119th career goal -- and the first of this World Cup -- in the 67th minute, but the Americans couldn't score the equalizer before time ran out.

"If we put away our chances, it would've been a different game," head coach Pia Sundhage said in a television interview after the game. "But, credit to Sweden. They had the counter attacks and that's something we have to defend against."

Sundhage was facing a team she knew plenty about. She played 146 times for Sweden -- including in two World Cups -- and scored 71 goals.

The Americans join Brazil in the bottom half of the World Cup bracket. The winner of Sunday's game faces the winner of England-France. Germany, Japan, Sweden and Australia comprise the top half of the bracket. 

New York Sports