Sweden advanced to the semifinals of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup with a 3-1 win over Australia, plays Japan 'now'.. link:
Sweden - Japan semifinals on July 13, link to watch the match live - FIFA Live Video streaming
The Swedish women’s national team continued its run through the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup as it easily swept aside Australia 3-1 the quarterfinals July 10 in Augsburg, Germany.
The Blue and Yellow, ranked fifth in the world, played like world-beaters as Lisa Dahlkvist and Therese Sjögran scored five minutes apart in the opening quarter-hour, to quickly put Sweden in the driver’s seat. From there on, the Swedish midfield controlled the match, with a couple of hiccups, as the Scandinavians booked their trip to a semifinal matchup with Asian power Japan.
“We were a little nervous before we went out, but there is a fantastic atmosphere in our team and we pulled each other through,” said forward Lotta Schelin, who scored Sweden’s third goal.
Schelin had a great chance to open the scoring when Collette McCallum's back pass almost failed to make it back to the keeper, but the Lyon forward failed to control the ball properly and the threat passed.
The 27-year-old striker set up her side’s opening goal when she collected a long pass from defender Charlotta Rohlin and rounded Australian defender Ellyse Perry before cutting the ball into the area. Sjogran scooped up the pass and fired a shot to the near post past Matilda net minder Melissa Barbieri.
Sjögran was the architect for Sweden’s second five minutes later when her cross from the right was inch perfect for the virtually unmarked Dahlkvist to head home. Josefine Öqvist had a good opportunity to make it three when she leapt above Kim Carroll to connect with Schelin’s cross, but her effort was well off target.
The Blue and Yellow remained in control for much of the half, with Australians only threatening when they exploited the at-times bunched Scandinavian shape. The Matilda’s first real chance came at the 38-minute mark when McCallum caught Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl off guard with a free kick that sailed just wide.
Australia did score two minutes later when McCallum sent a short corner kick to Perry. The 2010 Cricket World Cup winner blasted a left-footed shot past Lindahl to cut the lead to 2-1.
After the half, Sweden once more asserted its dominance, with Schelin finally scoring a World Cup. Just seven minutes after the restart, Schelin found herself the recipient of a gift. Kim Carroll sent a nonchalant back pass toward Barbieri, not knowing Schelin was lurking nearby. The Lyon striker quickly outran the pass, dribbled around Barbieri and tapped the ball into the net.
Backed by the Augsburg crowd, the Matildas refused to give up and almost reduced the deficit when Kyah Simon headed a cross from Tameka Butt’s just wide of the goal. Minutes later, Lisa De Vanna may have regretted not squaring the ball to her strike partner after one of her trademark lung-bursting runs into the box. After beating Lindahl to the ball, the former AIK striker shot herself rather than square the ball to Simon who would have had an easier opportunity to make it 3-2.
As time ticked away, Barbieri almost took the ball over her own line after collecting a cross from the right awkwardly, while at the other end, Lindahl made a fantastic diving save to deny Butt’s drive from 25 yards.
The victory did more than send Sweden to the semifinals for the first time since 2003, when it lost in the final in overtime to Germany. The win propelled the Blue and Yellow into the 2012 Olympic tournament at the expense of Germany, which crashed out of the World Cup against the Japanese.
“We are very satisfied to have reached the semi-finals and that we’ve gained the chance to play at the Olympic Games in London,” said Sweden manager Thomas Dennerby. “Up to yesterday we thought our opposing team in the semi-finals was going to be Germany, but now we have to concentrate on winning against Japan. We do not have very good memories of playing against them, but we hope to do better this time. We will work out a promising tactical plan and our players will work hard to go one step further.”
By Chipp Reid