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U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Takes Stunning Loss After Kneeling For BLM At Olympic Opener

The U.S. women’s soccer team took a devastating 3-0 loss to Sweden early Wednesday morning in their Tokyo Olympic opener, breaking their 44-game winning streak.

All 22 players on Team USA took a knee in solidarity with the radical leftist group Black Lives Matter before the game, a major point of contention with U.S. fans.

U.S. came into the Tokyo Games with the number one ranking in the world. Sweden is ranked fifth in the world and notably knocked out Team USA on penalty kicks in the 2016 Olympics in the quarterfinals.

The two teams last paired off in April, which resulted in a 1-1 draw, the only game the U.S. women had not won since January 2019.

The Associated Press broke down the women’s Wednesday loss:

Blackstenius’ header into the far corner off a cross from Sofia Jakobsson in the 26th minute gave Sweden the first-half lead.

The United States came out stale, with its best chance of the opening half coming in the final moments when Rose Lavelle’s shot hit the post. Coach Vlatko Andonovski made changes for the second half, subbing in Carli Lloyd for Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz for Sam Mewis.

But Blackstenius scored again in the 54th minute, beating goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, as the Americans continued to struggle. Lina Hurtig then scored in the 72nd.

As noted by Yahoo!Sports, athletes at the Tokyo Olympics were given space to protest before games and events. Team USA knelt before their kickoff, just as players on Sweden’s women’s team did:

The U.S. women’s national team and other soccer teams knelt before kickoff of their Olympic openers on Wednesday, the first demonstrations under slightly relaxed restrictions on protest at the Games. 

The demonstrations were pre-planned, as they have been before various international soccer matches for over a year now as collective statements against racism and other forms of discrimination. 

“For us it really feels right to stand up for human rights,” said Swedish defender Amanda Ilestedt. “It was a communication with the U.S. team before, so for us it feels good to do that and it is something we stand for as a team.”

Women’s soccers players from Great Britain and New Zealand kneeled, too, just as Team USA and the Swedish, according to Reuters.