Having just missed out on the Olympic gold medal last summer with captain Caroline Seger missing the decisive penalty in the Olympic final, Sweden has been very close to winning the championship for several years now, but never really were able to go all the way for the gold. In the 2011 and 2019 World Cups they got the bronze. In the 2016 and 2021 Olympics they won Silver. In the last 12 years, Sweden only missed out on silverware twice, yet hasn’t got the ultimate prize, gold. Having been so close, will this be the year?
Before heading to England, Sweden was to have a friendly against Brazil in front of a record crowd of 33,218 people. Sweden has played in front of bigger crowds before and we’ve been at those games, but this was the first time that such a crowd would turn out to support Sweden in a home game.
The head coach Peter Gerhardsson did start this game with a very experimental squad, resting several key players including Caroline Seger, with the only part of the formation that was practically not changed being the backline.
Perhaps that’s is something that contributed to the slow pace of the first half. Sweden did indeed control most of the ball but it was Brazil that had the most dangerous chances. A powerless shot straight on the goalkeeper by Kosovare Asslani was as good as it got from Sweden in the first half.
Glas – Ilested – Eriksson – Andersson
Angedalh – Asllani – Björn
Jakobsson – Hurtig – Rolfö
If you’d judge the squad based solely on the first 45 minutes, you would say that it was only the Man City midfielder Filippa Angedahl that lived up to the standards playing some incredible passes and showcasing world class vision. (She was Sweden’s overall best player during the game but surprisingly didn’t receive the player of the match. I’ll forgive the fans who voted this time.)
Going into the second half things looked even worse for Sweden when it was Brazil who scored the first goal.
Finally, in the 64th minute Peter Gerhardsson made a triple change brining on Stina Blackstenius, Olivia Schough and Johanna Rytting Kaneryd. The latter scored for Sweden instantly after coming in with her first touches on the ball. With confidence she dribbled past the Brazilian defense with no issues and then placed the ball behind the Brazilian keeper.
What a player. She has speed, incredible technique and great vision. She will have her breakthrough at the tournament. We will say this now because she will. She’s the player Sweden needs. She’s not afraid. She takes on players with incredible speed and confidence. The only reason why she hasn’t yet had yet become a clear star in the national team is because of injuries. This girl was part of the Galacticos Tyresö (At the time they had some of the best players in the world such as Marta) 10 years ago when she was 15 years old. In 2016 she was the breakthrough in Damallsvenskan playing with Djurgårdens IF. For the 2018 season she signed with Rosengård but got injured the same day the transfer was cleared. She tore her ACL and missed the entire 2018 season. It wasn’t until this season that she got her confidence back playing with Häcken and being their star player. Watch out for her. She will do some great things.
Going back to the game, after those subs were made and the first goal scored it’s as if someone told Sweden to start playing like Sweden can play. More movement around the pitch, fullbacks coming up higher up in the field, quicker decisions. Shortly after Lina Hurtig scored from a header to make it 2-1. And to finish it all up Stina Blackstenius elegantly chipped the ball over the brazilian goalkeeper for a 3-1 win.
The first half wasn’t pretty for Sweden. But when the right players came in, in the second half Sweden really showed how good they can be. Now it’s only up to head coach Peter Gerhardsson to pick the right players with the right chemistry.
How to stop Sweden? You can’t.
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