Sweden tops N. Korea in World Cup
Sweden defeated North Korea to book its passage to the quarterfinals of the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany.
Sweden’s final group match is July 6 against the U.S. The match is on ESPN at 2:45 p.m. Every match of the tournament is also on ESPN3, Women's World Cup Online the all-sports network’s Internet streaming site. Check availability with your internet supplier.
Sweden advanced to the quarterfinals for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 1-0 win over North Korea in Augsburg, Germany.
Lisa Dahlkvist tallied the decisive goal in the 64th minute after the Blue and Yellow once misfired for much of the game. Although the North Koreans, ranked eighth in the world, were a much tougher nut to crack than Colombia, Sweden’s first opponent in the tournament, the one goal was a disappointment to a team that entered the World Cup with expectations of offensive firepower.
Lotta Schelin, who plays for newly crowned European club champion Lyon in France, again failed to find the net despite numerous chances. In just the second minute, Schelin rounded North Korean goalkeeper Hong Myong Hui but put her shot over the crossbar. The misfiring continued for much of the match as the Swedes simply lacked the final touch in front of goal. Schelin, however, remained positive about her side’s attack.
“When one of your goals is to make it into the quarter-finals, and you succeed, of course it’s reason to celebrate,” she said. “Sure we had missed opportunities today, but in practice I took advantage of several chances to score. So sometimes it just doesn’t work out and sometimes it does.”
Korea outplayed in the second half
North Korea, runners up in the Asian Cup, could not compete with Sweden’s size or physical strength. The Asian power entered the tournament with the youngest team in the World Cup and started six teenagers against Sweden. That lack of experience showed as the Koreans displayed a neat passing game but never seemed able to take advantage of Sweden’s offensive miscues.
After Schelin again squandered a chance following a fine through pass from Caroline Seger, the Korean counter attacked. Song Jong Sun sent in right-wing cross that Kim Su Gyong headed toward, but her effort lacked direction and failed to trouble Swedish net minder Hedvig Lindahl.
“North Korea was very strong in the first half, but we simply outplayed them in the second half and that was the difference,” said midfielder Jessica Landstrom. “North Korea is a very good team. We were perhaps a bit nervous today and as a result missed a few chances. The main thing is that we won the match.“
After playing their opening game in 90-degree heat, the Swedes seemed to revel in the mild 60-degree temperatures at game time against the Korean. The Blue and Yellow came out fresh for the second half and turned up the offensive heat.
Just five minutes after the restart, Charlotte Rohlin sent a long ball from the back to Schelin, who unselfishly passed to Dahlkvist. However, with just the keeper to beat, the midfielder failed to control the ball and Hong turned the shot out for a corner.
Sweden went close again in the 55th minute when Sara Thunebro struck an inswinging corner from the right the Korean defense failed to clear. The ball fell to Dahlkvist in the box, but the Koreans managed to block her effort.
Nine minutes later, Dahlkvist finally broke through. Linda Forsberg sent in a cross from the left that Sjogran acrobatically controlled and dropped in Dahlkvist’s path. The Kopparbergs/Göteborg midfielder made no mistake from close range.
The one-goal lead proved precarious as North Korea nearly tied it in the 73rd minute. Ri Un-hyang sent in a header from a corner kick that beat Lindahl but Sara Thunebro was there to clear the ball off the line. Sweden clamped down defensively and held on for the win.
“I thought we did very well, our defense was great,” said Swedem head coach Thomas Dennerby. “ We worked hard to create chances. We are satisfied. I hope that if we keep working with our forwards, they will score, but it doesn’t matter who scores, I don’t think about that. Because we won, I’m satisfied. Before the next game, I’ll tell them to keep on working hard. That’s all we, and they, can do.”
Sweden next faces the U.S., 3-0 winners over Colombia. The Americans lead the group over Sweden on difference. Both teams have six points from two wins.
The two teams meet July 6 for the group title. A draw would give the Americans the group and with it a quarterfinal matchup with the second-place team from Group D, likely to be either Norway or Australia. Sweden, as the second place team, would play Brazil.
Sweden must take on the U.S. without Seger, who picked up her second yellow card of the tournament and must sit out a game,
The match marks the first time U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage has faced her homeland in a major tournament.
by Chipp Reid