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Sweden women’s soccer team misses Paris Olympics after Tokyo silver

Sweden Women's Soccer Team

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 06: Sweden players wait for the goal line technology to confirm the seventh penalty taken by Lina Hurtig of Sweden crossing the line during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Round of 16 match between Sweden and USA at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on August 06, 2023 in Melbourne / Naarm, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

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Sweden’s women’s soccer team, silver medalist at the last two Olympics, was eliminated from qualification for the Paris Games and will miss a global championship for the first time.

Sweden’s loss to Switzerland on Friday in the UEFA Nations League ensured it cannot win its group over World Cup champion Spain. Only the three group winners other than already qualified France have a chance at the open two Olympic spots for European nations.

The Olympic spots will be decided among Spain, Germany or Denmark and the Netherlands, England (playing for Great Britain) or Belgium.

Sweden was the only nation to finish in the top three of the last four global tournaments — World Cups in 2019 and 2023 and the Olympics in 2016 and 2021. It has reached the semifinals of the Olympics or World Cup eight times without winning a title.

In Tokyo, Canada defeated Sweden in penalty kicks in the final.

At the World Cup this past August, Sweden ousted the two-time defending champion U.S. in a round of 16 shootout, then beat 2011 World Cup champion Japan before losing to eventual champion Spain in the semifinals. The Swedes defeated Australia 2-0 in the third-place match.

Olympic qualifying in Europe has a peculiar twist come Tuesday. If Scotland ties or beats England, it will eliminate Great Britain from Olympic qualifying. Though Great Britain’s delegation at the Olympics is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and some Northern Ireland athletes, it does not have a national year-round soccer team. Therefore, England was designated as the team to attempt to qualify Great Britain for the Olympics in UEFA competition.

The U.S., Canada, Brazil and Colombia previously qualified to join host France in the 12-team Olympic tournament.

Sweden’s elimination will leave the U.S. and Brazil as the lone nations to compete in every Olympics and World Cup since the first Women’s World Cup in 1991.