Sweden leaves it late and spoils Chile’s World Cup debut

13 Jun

Soccer Football – Women’s World Cup – Group F – Chile v Sweden – Roazhon Park, Rennes, France – June 11, 2019 Players walk off the pitch after the match is stopped due to weather REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Welcome La Roja Femeninato to the Women’s World Cup! I love seeing emerging teams hit the international stage. I also love seeing top calibre players in domestic leagues get a bow at this level so people can go, “hey, they’re good” and then they search them out and (hopefully) become fans and buy tickets to their matches. Christiane Endler, anyone?

Speaking of tickets (sorta), Tuesday was all about tickets in France. FIFA has a problem when it comes to knowing what the hell is going on with the tickets. Outlets like the BBC and the Independent are calling them out about the tickets.

Here’s a few recent revelations –

  • FIFA claimed over 1 million tickets were allocated to fans; Wednesday morning they revised this to say this number includes tickets given for free to “delegations of the teams playing, commercial affiliates, observers, medical and technical staff.”
  • FIFA aka President Infantino claimed 20 matches were sold out. The number is 14.
  • The England v Scotland match was billed as being close to a sell-out; only 13,188 people attended at a 35,100 seat stadium. That’s a 37% capacity for a stadium where (supposedly) all the tickets were available to purchase.
  • People could buy tickets to that match on the day of the tournament but they couldn’t buy them at the stadium.

FIFA has a continuing ticket problem. And a communication problem and a logistics problem (well, more than one logistics problem but I’m on a deadline here). We’ve truly entered into a different realm when Ticketmaster looks good in comparison.

I’m just happy when the empty seats don’t appear to outnumber the filled seats. Isn’t it pretty?!

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Pre-match festivities

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Match overview


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Location: Roazhon Park, Rennes

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Referee: Lucila Venegas (Mexico)

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Match details

Seven minutes into the match and Chile had 6 or 7 players at the back already. Chile aren’t known for their defensive prowess but they had a strategy to make the most of what they’ve got.

A bunch of passing and what-not went on until Sweden’s Magdalena Eriksson had enough of the niceties and fired off a medium-range-ish shot. Nice tactic too as Christiane Endler looked a bit shaky backpedalling to get it. Chile then forced Hedvig Lindahl into some backpedalling at the other end.

A nasty collision at 16′ between Sweden’s Kosovare Asllani and Chile’s Camila Sáez stopped the play. Both were checked over by the medical teams and returned to the match.

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An oh-so-close chance for Sweden halfway through the half with Endler coming up big v Nilla Fischer in the box. It almost looked like the ball maybe crossed the goal line but the referee didn’t stop play for a VAR review so on they went.

The next spell was pretty much all about Endler counterbalancing Sweden’s attack. Emma Blackstenius had a great chance which she whiffed and then she almost created a great chance for, well, no one as the cross was cut out.

Chile had their first attacking spark around 41′ but sent it wide. The Chilean players appeared to be smiling after this; a good sign they were still in it to win it. (My deductions are always 100% accurate, okay?)

Blackstenius came up with another good chance at 44′ but sent the ball on a trip to the stands. Swedish captain Caroline Seger then tried her best in the box off a corner kick only to see Endler deny her the glory.

Half-time: 0-0.

The second half started a bit subdued until Seger setup a 4-on-4. The pressure went nowhere. You may have already guessed this without me explicitly saying so.

Bad news for Chile soon after as striker María Urrutia went down following a collision. The situation was serious enough that she had to be stretchered off. No word on the injury but I’m hoping it’s not too serious.

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Sweden made a couple changes after this, including substituting Blackstenius. Huh. Wouldn’t have been my choice but I’m not a football manager; I only play one in my living room.

The first yellow card of the match happened at the 67′ mark with Sweden receiving an accessory to match their kits.

RAIN DELAY! Heavy rains and lightning forced the referee to stop the game at 72′. Did you know players can change into dry kits during these breaks? I did not.

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About 40 minutes later play resumed and Sweden were gifted an opportunity they couldn’t convert.

The deadlock was finally broken with seven minutes to go. A cross came to Madelen Janogy who poked it to someone-whose-name-I-don’t-remember whose shot was deflected into the path of Asllani who … didn’t miss. 1-0 Sweden.

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Some sloppy play by the Swedes ensued opening up the midfield for Chile to run through. Francisca Lara made it to the top of the box only to see her effort stream over the crossbar. So close!

Five minutes of extra time meant nail-biting time for Chile to nab one back. But it was not to be. Instead Janogy drafted three defenders and picked out the top corner of the net to sound the bell.

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Final score: 2- 0 Sweden

HB & HB Player of the Match: Christiane Endler (CHL)

VISA Player of the Match: Kosovare Asllani (SWE)

Final thoughts

Sweden had 65% possession and 21 goal attempts by the end of the match but only managed two goals. And one of those one was gifted to them more than being the result of any great movement. Does this indicate they are a great attacking force? Ummmm, maybe?

What wasn’t on display here was whether or not Sweden’s defense is solid enough to withstand a more counter-attacking team. They were increasingly sloppy in the midfield and swung open the door a few times for Chile to pop through and mount an attack.

For Chile, Endler definitely lived up to the pre-game hype. She was the top keeper in Division 1 Féminine this past season and was ranked the sixth best female goalkeeper in the world by IFFHS in 2018. She’s got the goods and wow did she show it in this match.

Can she continue with this form through the next games? Maybe. Chile reminds me of Costa Rica in the 2014 World Cup. Navas pulled them through to the quarter-finals and narrowly missed getting them to the semis. I’m not saying that will happen here but a great goalkeeper can pull off most anything for a team who believes they can win.

Chile have the technique and Lara definitely knows what to do to get the ball in net. Their lack of urgency here may have been merely nerves, or at least I hope that’s what it was. They have a lot still to show as do Sweden.

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– Teri

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