Third Place Goes to Sweden!

11 Jul

A spirited Swedish team proved the Third Place match is no Nonsense with a 2-1 win over England in Nice on Saturday. This is the Sweden I remember! It was a good match and somewhat bittersweet as it would be the last World Cup appearances for Nilla Fischer and perhaps captain Caroline Seeger as well. Both played very well in this match and will go out with pride. Speaking of Caroline Seger…

Happy 200th cap for Swedish Captain Caroline Seger

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The match started with some pace from both sides – Kirby was up and down the pitch from the word go and Player of the Match Jakobsson was quick to test Telford in the early minutes of the match.

However, I couldn’t be more happy for Kosovare Asllani who left the semi final in a stretch after a scary injury but was back for this match and found the back of the net in the 11th minute. Rolfo had a great cross which Greenwood tried to clear, only to put it at the feet of Asllani.

England might have felt hard done on this one because Steph Haughton had been off the pitch and was waiting to be allowed back on. However, the defensive mishaps of the English campaign were still in focus during this match. Greenwood found herself often on the losing end of battles with Jakobsson. Jakobsson had a great first half, forcing some desperate defending from both Bronze and Telford.

It seemed only a matter of time before she scored and in the 23rd minute she did. This time instead of passing back and forth with Asllani, she played give and take with Blackstenius and was able to curl it into the back of the net.

All seemed to be going Sweden’s way but unfortunately, Fridolina Rolfo had to be substituted with a lower leg injury in the 26th minute. Sweden would not see the same sort of service into the box after she left the pitch.

A few minutes later Parris had a great run to find White who passed to Kirby and got England back into the game with a goal in the 32nd minute.

And a minute later Ellen White scored from a cross from Mead and got it past Sembrant and Lindahl, who should have done better on that, to be honest. However, VAR – Ellen White’s nemesis – decided against her, claiming a hand ball and the goal was disallowed. It seemed a harsh call, as she was trapping the ball against her chest but this tournament has seen softer calls for handball than that one.

Frustration started to sink into the English game as Mead was lucky not to get a card on a rough foul on Asllani. However, the Swedes, namely Jakobsson, continued to get into the box and past Greenwood. However, Parris had a great run in the dying minutes of the half to pass the ball to White but Lindahl, on her 20th World Cup appearance, stuck out her leg and cleared it.

Jody Taylor came on in the early minutes of the second half and had an immediate impact. Lindahl came running out to intercept her and missed the ball all together. Luckily she did not collide into Taylor or she would have had quite the issue. Taylor continued to bother Lindahl throughout the second half but she was not able to turn the attempts into a goal.

Just as time was ticking down toward the finish, Bronze had a fantastic shot from a set piece which beat Lindahl but Nilla Fischer was on the line to head it away from danger. Holy cow! What a way to finish your World Cup career!! What a warrior!

Four minutes later and it was all over. Sweden have the third place medal and despite England’s “nonsense game” quote (which I’m still fuming over), these women gave a stand out performance and should be proud.

Congratulations Sofia Jakobsson, player of the match.

Oh, and by the way, Phil Neville… the Swedes don’t think it was a nonsense game. Take a look.

And the final word goes to Teri:

I loved LOVED this match! Sweden came to play and came to win, showing exactly why I wanted them to make it to the final. But third place is pretty great for this slow-rolling team. They didn’t look like contenders at the start of the tournament but their confidence and playmaking grew through each match to the strident, strut-worthy team we saw out there for this one. Grattis!

Congrats to Seger on her 200th cap! What a way to mark the occasion. The bronze medal not the bumps. 😉

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And what can I say about Nilla Fischer? She was fantastic in the semi-final and she was again here. Will anyone forget this?

As for England, well, they have the goods but just a poor delivery system. White and Telford seemed the only players up for this match. That’s just sad. The grit and fire we saw in 2015 was just not here this tournament. And that’s down to the team environment and the team management. Will there be a change in the latter? I doubt it. Does England ever admit when they’ve made a managerial or administrative mistake?

As for Neville-gate, this ex-England goalkeeper said it best –

Stade de Nice (Allianz Riviera), Nice, France
Attendance 20,316
Referees: Anastasia Pustovoytova (RUS), Ekaterina Kurochkina (RUS), Petruta Iugulescu (ROM), Kate Jacewicz (AUS)
Line ups:
SWE: Lindahl, Sembrandt, Glas, Erikkson, Fischer, Asllani (Zigiotti, 46’), Jakobsson, Blackstenius, Bjorn (Ilestedt, 72’), Seger (Captain), Rolfo (Hurtig, 27’)
ENG: Telford, Bronze, Houghton (Captain), Greenwood, Kirby, McManus (Daly, 83’) Scott, Moore, White, Parris (Carney, 74’), Mead (Taylor 50’)

It’s been fun, All!

– ForzaSusan

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