Wolfsburg, Germany — Rest is nice, winning is better.
The United States plays Sweden in the group stage finale at the Women’s World Cup on Wednesday, a game that would seem to have little importance with both teams already through to the quarterfinals. But there is plenty still at stake for the Americans, starting with the bragging rights — and everything that comes with them — for winning the group.
“We go for a win,” U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said Monday. “Absolutely.”
The two-time World Cup champions need only a tie against Sweden to win Group C and likely avoid a quarterfinal matchup with Brazil. The Group C winner plays the second-place team in Group D, likely Australia or Norway, while the Group C runner-up gets the Group D winner.
Brazil, runner-up in 2007 and at the last two Olympics, needs only a draw against World Cup newcomer Equatorial Guinea to win Group D.
“I can safely say that there’s not going to be one player or person or staff member from the United States that’s going to say, ’We want a tie,”’ Abby Wambach said. “We want to win this game because we want to keep the momentum going forward. Obviously, you have to be smart. We want to get some of those 90-minute players some rest if we can do that. But first and foremost, we want to make sure and secure the first place out of this group.”