A nothing first half, a brilliant Hedvig Lindahl penalty save and a fantastic Aussie performance in the centre of the Parc sees the Swedes oot do the Canucks to reach the #FIFAWWC QFs.
It was a contest that started out tighter than an Ikea display room. We’ve had some cracking games so far in the Round of 16 so I had high hopes for this one. As both teams finished 2nd in their groups after some solid performances it was a difficult game to call before kick-off. Unfortunately, this translated into a rather dull first half as both sides struggled for break down the opposition’s defensive line.
Even with the majority of possession, I can’t recall any clear-cut Canuck chances (say that five times fast) in the opening 45. Sofia Jakobsson looked the most dangerous for Sweden, giving the fullback pairing of Kadeisha Buchanan and Shelina Zadorsky the smallest (like miniscule) of headaches yet only managed two shots off target.
The second half started off much the same and I’m regretting not making multiple coffees. It wasn’t until a brilliant interception from Sweden that we see the first real action of the game, after 55 long minutes. Kosovare Asllani, otherwise known as the one to watch in almost every #SWECAN preview made a brilliant break away run down the right on the counter for Sweden, before playing the ball in behind Zadorsky. The pass could not be more perfect, giving Stina Blackstenius just enough time to get a touch on the ball and send it past an oncoming Stephanie Labbé to make it 1-0.
F I N A L L Y we have a game on our hands folks. Sweden start to open up the Cauncks a little more and it feels like #SWECAN make it 2-0 (I love this hashtag) before we’ve finally got some VAR drama up the other end. Asllani’s arm got in the way of a Desiree Scott shot and after the VAR check Aussie Kate Jacewitz points to the spot.
Janine Beckie (with the good hair) steps up to take the pen over Christine Sinclair and I’m perplexed to say the least. This is puzzling for two reasons. First of all Sinclair is two goals away from equalling the all-time international goal scoring record and two, I thought Sinclair was Canada’s primary penalty taker?
Beckie aims low into the bottom left and absolute legend Lindahl makes a glorious save. With her left foot on the line as the pen is taken, Lindahl dives to her right, fully outstretched to deny Beckie. Que the Sass Qween Hope Solo tweeting about making the goals smaller. As a Chelsea fan, this brings a small tear to my eye as I realise I’ll never see Lindahl make a save like that for The Blues again.
Things look to go from bad to worse for Canada up the other end as Ashley Lawrence fouls Fridolina Rolfö in the box in the 81st. We’ve got a VAR check and they’ve (correctly) spotted an offside in the led up play giving Canada a reprieve. You might think the Canucks would throw the kitchen sink at Sweden to level and send this game to extra time but after two defensive subs from our maple leaf friend you can feel this game is pretty much wrapped up. The Swedes see off some last-minute
pressure from Canada (and one last VAR check) before becoming the fifth European team to progress to GFs where they’ll meet Germany.
Shout out to Kate Jacewitz who was an absolute star on the field today. She let the game flow and I can’t find fault with any of her decisions. After seeing a decent referee performance and having no controversial VAR calls, the only thing that could make this WWC better is to see Italy get knocked out tomorrow morning.
By Bree Reidy