• Thursday, November 30, 2023
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Sweden vs Australia: Sweden wins bronze medal

Screenshot 2023-08-19 132812

Sweden on Saturday edged co-host Australia 2-0 to win a bronze medal in the third-place play-off match in Brisbane.

Sweden scored in both halves of the game to win their fourth losers’ final, having been in the semi-finals five times to retain their World Cup best-of-the-rest status.

Sweden took the lead through a Fridolina Rolfo penalty in the 30th minute, followed by Kosovare Asllani’s 62nd-minute strike to make it 2-0.

Peter Gerhardsson’s side responded to their last-minute semi-final exit at the hands of Spain, outclassing Australia with better tactics and match management.

Sweden started quickly and set out their stall early on as Arsenal forward Stina Blackstenius got in on goal within the opening two minutes, her low shot turned away by Mackenzie Arnold.

Just as the hosts looked to be getting a foothold in the game, Sweden would take the lead as a penalty was awarded following a lengthy VAR review of Clare Hunt’s trip of Blackstenius’ trailing leg.

Rodolfo, who scored the winner when the two nations met in the 2020 Olympics semi-finals, made no mistake from the spot, with Arnold beaten despite diving the right way.

Read alsoWomen’s World Cup: Spain, England face-off in historic Sunday’s final

Sweden came close to doubling their lead in first-half stoppage time, but a fine low save from Arnold kept out a Filippa Angeldahl strike that flashed through a crowded penalty area.

Having beaten England to finish third four years ago in France, Sweden’s pacey counter-attack saw Blackstenius shake off the attentions of the Australian defence before squaring for Captain Asllani to hit one of the tournament’s goals.

Any hopes that Australia could launch an unlikely comeback suffered a blow when captain Sam Kerr hobbled off for treatment on her foot.

The Chelsea striker suffered a calf injury on the eve of the finals, dampening her impact as she was not fit enough to start a game until the semi-final loss to England.

She returned to the pitch, but by that stage, Sweden was in control of the tie and left the home fans cheering a valiant effort from Australia, who had to settle for fourth place.

Both teams have plenty of Women’s Super League representation within their squads, and Chelsea forward Sam Kerr admitted it was a tight game.

“It was a good battle, we play with, and against these girls week in, week out, so we know they’re all world-class players.

“We were up for it, they were up for it, and there wasn’t much in it in the end. But someone has to lose, and it sucks that it’s us”.