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USA shaking off opening Jitters
WWCUP United States A Heal

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Forgive the United States for some opening night jitters.
    The team got off to a slow start — several players called it "choppy" — but broke open a 1-all tie with Australia after the first half for a 3-1 victory in the World Cup opener on Monday night. Megan Rapinoe scored twice for the U.S. women.
    "It was the first game, and there are some players out there who haven't played in a big tournament before," midfielder Carli Lloyd said. "I think we'll get better and better as each game goes on."
    The win gives the second-ranked Americans three points to start play in Group D, the so-called Group of Death, after a 3-3 draw in the group's opening match between fifth-ranked Sweden and upstart Nigeria, ranked No. 33.
    Next up for the United States is Sweden and former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage, which many are calling the most anticipated match of the group stage. But Sweden had trouble stopping a surprisingly fast Nigerian side.
    Australian coach Alan Stajcic was impressed with the tenacity of the Super Falcons.
    "I think they were fantastic today. They should have won that game based on the 40-50 minutes that I saw," Stajcic said.
    Sweden plays the United States on Friday night, following Nigeria's match against 10th-ranked Australia, which came out inspired on Monday night before the Americans put it away.
    U.S. coach Jill Ellis said she thought it was good to be challenged at the start of a tournament and survive.
    "I think when the draw happened and people talked about the Group of Death, that was the one positive. You're not going to ease into these opening games," she said. "You've got to be prepared from the very first whistle.
    "So I think in terms of mentality, having tough matches and going into a halftime tied up, I think those things serve you well down the line."