Sweden has shattered Australia’s dream of a World Cup medal. In their fourth World Cup match for third place, the Europeans won bronze for the fourth time. Nevertheless, the “Matildas” ended the World Cup with their best placing in history.
With a deserved 2-0 (1-0) win against Australia on Saturday (19.08.2023), Sweden won the match for third place at the Women’s World Cup. The goals in the hard-fought game in the packed stadium in Brisbane were scored by Fridolina Rolfö with a penalty (30′) and Kosovare Asllani (62′) with a long-range shot. This is Sweden’s fourth World Cup bronze medal after 2007, 2011 and 2015.
Australia World Champions of Hearts
Co-hosts Australia failed to win the medal they had hoped for. After four weeks of enthusiasm in the country, new viewing records on TV, a relaxed atmosphere in the stadiums and crowded fan miles, the “Matildas” can feel like “world champions of hearts”. And that’s how they celebrated in the stadium of the surfing stronghold Brisbane in the east of the country.
Australia let Sweden have the ball
In the duel between the two switching teams, Australia often gave the ball to the Swedes at first. Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson’s team had problems with the ball possession of more than 60 percent at times. The “Matildas” were tight at the back, relying on fast counterattacks – and were therefore the more dangerous team at the beginning of the game. Hayley Raso on the right and Caitlin Foord on the left kept putting the ball forward dangerously. Superstar Sam Kerr was often wanted, but she was mostly canceled by the strong Amanda Ilestedt.
Latte – Penalty – Goal
With the best “Matildas” chance, Sweden goalkeeper Zecira Musovic defused a Raso shot on the short corner (18th). Sweden then scored the first goal of the game: After a crossbar header from Rolfö (26th), a previous duel in the penalty area was checked again. And then Australia’s Clare Hunt ran into Sweden’s Stina Blackstenius, referee Cheryl Foster decided on a penalty after a video check. And Rolfö transformed that safely – Australia’s goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold was in the left corner, but didn’t get the ball well placed (30′).
The “Matildas” needed something to digest the residue. Sweden kept the pressure on in the now heated game. In injury time, Australia’s strong Arnold prevented the 0:2. The 29-year-old was able to fend off a tight shot from Kosovare Asllani in dire need (45+2).
Just a Kerr shot on target, Asllani decides the game
The “Matildas”, coached by Swedish coach Tony Gustavsson, came out of the break with the expected pressure and momentum. The first few minutes belonged to the hostesses, cheered on by 50,000 fans in Brisbane. But against the well-organized defense of the Swedes, Kerr and Co. could not get through. Kerr had her first and long only shot on goal in injury time of the first half.
Sweden had the better chances again: Asllani was initially denied by the “Matildas” defense (52′) after great preliminary work by Elin Rubensson. Shortly thereafter, however, the offensive player from AC Milan decided the game: After a Blackstenius ball behind the defense, Asllani hit the bottom right corner from 16 meters (62′).
Polkinghorne forgives connection
Australia didn’t give up and kept running – but mostly headless. Nevertheless, the connection could have fallen. But with the best chance to make it 1: 2, Clare Polkinghorne shot Sweden’s goalkeeper Musovic from close range (70th). It was the hosts’ last big chance of the game.
After the final whistle, the “Matildas” were still celebrated. Sweden travels home for the fourth time with World Cup bronze – but there is no celebration for the time being. Because of the threat of terrorism, Sweden’s authorities canceled all celebrations for the time being.
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