Women's World Cup 2019

Lifting maiden cup is a Swede dream

Swedish players celebrate during the match against Germany at the Women's World Cup 2019 in Rennes, France, on June 29, 2019.
Swedish players celebrate during the match against Germany at the Women's World Cup 2019 in Rennes, France, on June 29, 2019.

Sweden's confidence on a high after ending Germany jinx; face Dutch nemesis in s-finals

RENNES • Sweden had not beaten Germany at a major women's football tournament since the 1995 World Cup.

That wretched run included defeats in the 2003 World Cup final and the gold-medal deciding match at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

But, after coming from behind to win their quarter-final tie 2-1, ending a 24-year hoodoo on Saturday, the Swedes have only one thing on their minds - lifting their maiden World Cup and they are "going to go for it".

Their bullish coach Peter Gerhardsson said: "We have talked about the possibilities here for us to go far and win every game.

"There's not a single cell in us that's content."

Germany had not conceded a goal in the group stage and it showed as they looked the sharper side in the opening exchanges, before taking an early lead through Lina Magull.

But, thereafter, Sweden gained a foothold in the game as they exploited the space behind their opponent's backline through long balls.

Sofia Jakobsson got the equaliser for the Swedish team before their pacy front three of Fridolina Rolfo, Jakobsson and Stina Blackstenius combined for Blackstenius to nab the close-range winner just after half-time.

Once the dominant force in European women's football, two-time world champions Germany have now failed to reach the semi-finals in two of their last three World Cups.

  • 24

  • Years since Sweden beat Germany at the Women's World Cup before Saturday.

Defeat also robs them of the chance to defend their gold medal at the Olympics next year.

While Germany were the reigning champions, they still needed to finish among the top three European teams at this tournament to book their ticket to Tokyo.

There were tears on the faces of many of their players as the reality of their exit - and Olympic absence - hit home hard and their coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg told broadcaster ARD that "the defeat hurts".

She said: "We are in a process. We will grow from this experience. I know that some players are considering (ending their international careers).

"We have young players coming up, and we will use the next two years before the European Championships."

Sweden will now join the Netherlands and Great Britain at the Games instead and Gerhardsson hailed the achievement, calling it "the one thing that has been hanging over our heads for a while".

Next up for his players will be a meeting against the Netherlands on Wednesday in Lyon, where they will look to exact revenge on another side that has caused them untold pain in the past.

Having lost 2-0 to the European champions in the last eight at Euro 2017, the Swedes have another score to settle and Jakobsson is full of belief that the team "want to go further" as they "are not done".


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2019, with the headline 'Lifting maiden cup is a Swede dream'. Print Edition | Subscribe