LE HAVRE, France — After all the tension and the build-up and the references to the 2016 Olympics loss to Sweden, the United States women's national team came out and scored in less than three minutes.
The Americans then scored again in the second half to break the Women's World Cup group stage scoring record and beat Sweden, 2-0, Thursday at Stade Oceane. The U.S. finished first in Group F with 18 goals, surpassing the 1995 Norway team's 17. Spain now waits in the round of 16.
Sweden finished second in the group and will play Canada next.
The U.S. strength that concerned Sweden most is what led to the opening goal — a set piece. Megan Rapinoe whipped in a corner kick that flew through quite a few legs before landing in front of Lindsey Horan, who finished from close range for the fastest goal in the 2019 Women's World Cup.
Seagulls swooped overhead in the coastal stadium full of an announced crowd of 22,418 fans, largely favoring the United States but also featuring a large contingent of Swedes at one end who countered eruptions of "U-S-A!" with chants of their own.
In the first half, Crystal Dunn led the U.S. defense by thwarting various attempts from Sweden's Sofia Jakobsson. Just before halftime, Jakobsson finally got a shot past Dunn, but Alyssa Naeher made a diving save to keep the score at 1-0. The U.S. controlled 62% of possession in the first half and outshot Sweden 13-4.
Sweden played a physical match and more than one U.S. player went down on the pitch during the match.
Alex Morgan hit the turf late in the first half and was slow to get up, holding what appeared to be her right leg. She jogged it off and finished the half but was replaced by Carli Lloyd at halftime.
Ten minutes into the second half, Rapinoe sent a ball into the box that soared over Lloyd's head and landed in front of Tobin Heath. A few dribbles, a quick flick and Heath put the ball over the head of Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl for a 2-0 lead. The goal officially was ruled an own goal because the ball skimmed off the foot of defender Jonna Andersson.
Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson began making substitutions fairly early in the second half. He brought on forward Fridolina Rolfo in the 56th minute for midfielder Olivia Schough, and then subbed off captain Caroline Seger and leading goal scorer Kosovare Asllani for defender Hanna Glas and forward Lina Hurtig, respectively.
U.S. coach Jill Ellis used her additional substitutes to bring on fresh forwards in Mallory Pugh and Christen Press, who replaced Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle.
Through the final minutes of regulation and the seven minutes of extra time, the United States continued to threaten the goal, but did not break through again.