Sweden beat Argentina to qualify as Group F winners

A much-changed Sweden reached the Women’s World Cup last 16 with a perfect record after Rebecka Blomqvist’s second-half header and substitute Elin Rubensson’s 90th-minute penalty helped them beat Argentina 2-0.

Blomqvist met Sofia Jakobsson’s cross with a fantastic header in the 66th minute to put the third-ranked Swedes firmly on course to advance as Group G winners, before Rubensson sealed the win with a superbly taken spot kick.

Argentina, who lost midfielder Florencia Bonsegundo to injury minutes before the break, needed a victory to stand any chance of going through but never really troubled the Swedish defence or goalkeeper Jennifer Falk.

They remain without a win in their four World Cup appearances and finished bottom of the group.

Sweden's Elin Rubensson celebrates the second goal of the match during the Women's World Cup Group G soccer match between Argentina and Sweden in Hamilton, New Zealand, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Juan Mendez)
Elin Rubensson added a second for Sweden late in the game

Sweden will next face holders United States in a blockbuster clash in Melbourne on Sunday – a rematch of the Olympic quarter-finals in 2021 when the Europeans won 3-0 en route to the final.

Having already secured qualification after winning their first two games, Sweden only needed a point to top the group and coach Peter Gerhardsson made nine changes to the side that thrashed Italy 5-0.

Argentina's Dalila Ippolito reacts besides referee Salima Mukansanga after Sweden scored the second goal during the Women's World Cup Group G soccer match between Argentina and Sweden in Hamilton, New Zealand, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)
Argentina have exited at the group stage for a second successive World Cup

Only defenders Amanda Ilestedt and Magdalena Eriksson retained their places and Sweden were far from their rampant best, with Olivia Schough’s weak free-kick their only shot on target in a disjointed first half.

Blomqvist finally got the breakthrough after the hour mark and was brought down inside the penalty area by Gabriela Chavez in the closing minutes to allow Rubensson to drive the resulting penalty into the roof of the net.

What’s next?

Group G winners Sweden will face World Cup holders the USA in the last 16 on Sunday August 6 in Melbourne; kick-off 10am.

What is the schedule?

The group stage has begun and runs over a two-week period finishing on August 3. Group winners and runners-up progress to the round of 16, which takes place from August 5 to August 8.

The quarter-finals, which will be held in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney, are scheduled for August 11 and 12.

The first semi-final will then be played on August 15 in Auckland, with the other semi-final taking place on August 16 at the Accor Stadium in Sydney, which will then host the final on August 20.

A third-place play-off will be played the day before the final on August 19 in Brisbane.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *