Sweden struggled but won its opener at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup against Colombia. Jessica landström saved the day in the 57th minute.
LEVERKUSEN, Germany - On a day so hot fans doused themselves with water, Sweden struggled to a 1-0 victory over Colombia at the Women's World Cup behind a 57th-minute goal by Jessica Landström.
Landström, the player of the match, had a number of chances but scored from close range off a fine cross by Lotta Schelin on the right wing.
"We won our opening match. It's been awhile since that last happened," Sweden coach Thomas Dennerby said.
The Swedes kept Colombian star 17-year-old Yoreli Rincon in check, but Colombia coach Ricardo Rozo said he expects more from her as the tournament progresses.
"If she goes on working properly she can show more than she showed today," Rozo said. "Look at this girl - she wants to be the best player in the world and she's working on it!"
Prior to the start of the match, FIFA announced the suspension of Colombian reserve goalkeeper Yineth Varon for failing a drug test she took on Saturday. Rozo refused to comment on Varon's suspension. The match was the first ever in the Women’s World Cup for Colombia.
Draining heat and humidity
A crowd of 21,106 filled the Bay Arena and watched as both sides struggled in the draining humidity and 90-degree heat.
"We prepared ourselves in the best way possible," Landström said. "We knew it was going to be warm weather, so there's nothing we would have changed."
Schelin created drama in the second minute when she beat Colombia goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda, only for Natalia Gaitan to clear her shot off the line. Moments later, Caroline Seger set up Schelin, but Sepulveda parried her shot away and cleared off the line again despite a defensive mix-up between Andrea Peralta and Colombia captain Gaitan.
Landström had a terrible miss in the 13th minute. Schelin dropped the ball back to the midfielder, but Landström blasted the ball over the crossbar from close range.
Colombia took a while to settle in, then displayed good individual technique despite physical challenges from the Swedes.
"Of course we have to use our physical preconditions," Dennerby said. "Use whatever you have."
After Landström scored, Carmen Rodallega nearly tied it in the 66th when her shot landed on the top of the net. Therese Sjögran came close before substitute Sofia Jakobsson drew a good save from Sepulveda in the closing stages.
"Perhaps we should have scored two or three more goals," Dennerby said. "But it doesn't matter today. We won. It was an excellent opening match, both physically and mentally for us."
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