Although missing out on the chance to play in this year’s Women’s World Cup final, Sweden and Australia still have a chance to end their tournament with a win at Brisbane Stadium in their third-place playoff matchup.
Who will have the bragging rights at the end of this game? Let’s have a look and find out.
Sweden looked the better side from the off; controlling the possession and creating better chances in comparison to the Aussies. Within the first minute, Sweden had their first shot on target through Stina Blackstenius but Mackenzie Arnold responded with a strong save to deny the early lead.
It took until the 23rd minute for the Matildas to register their first shot on target, where Hayley Raso’s shot was directed at the near post but Zecira Musovic was able to get a glove on it and prevent the lead for Australia.
A challenge by Clare Hunt on Stina Balckstenius in the 28th minute needed some deliberation from VAR after the Australian defender clipped the heel of the Swedish striker. After the check, referee Cheryl Foster awarded a penalty to Sweden where Fridolina Rolfo took responsibility for the spot kick and slotted it into the bottom right corner, putting Sweden a goal up.
The Scandinavian side almost doubled their lead through Kosovare Asslani, but Arnold was once again with another save to keep the Matildas in this contest. The last couple of minutes of the first half was feisty, with players from both sides going at each other. Rolfo and Blackstenius had goal-scoring opportunities but the pair were;t able to find the back of the net. Sam Kerr and Kyra Cooney-Cross both had shots on target late in the first half, but Musovic was able to save their shots relatively comfortably to retain Sweden’s lead into the break.
The Swedes remained on top throughout the second half as they continued to test the Matildas’ defence with chances from Rolfo and Asllani, who weren’t able to find the back of the net. But they eventually scored their second in the 62nd minute after Australia was dispossessed in the middle of the pitch and Sweden was off on the counter-attack. It started off with Asllani who charged towards goal and was able to pick out Blackstenius. The Arsenal forward played it back to Asllani on the edge of the box who struck it first time and into the back of the net.
Australia struggled to break down the Swedish defence but did nearly cut the lead back to one in the 70th minute through Clare Polkinghorne but the ball couldn’t get past Zecira Musovic. As the final whistle blew in Brisbane, Sweden ended their Women’s World Cup journey in third place which is the fourth time they’ve done it. As for Australia, losing this game means finishing fourth place which is the nation’s highest-ever finish at a Men’s or Women’s World Cup.