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Not where they wanted to be of course, but someone must finish 3rd in this beautifully played Women’s World Cup. Sweden ranked fifth coming in, expected to make it further then they did, especially after beaten the U.S team the last 2 times they played each other. France on the other hand laid an egg against the U.S team in the pivotal semifinal game.
This game although not for the cup itself is very important; no team wants to leave any tournament losing 2 games in a row…especially the way these two teams lost. This is an opportunity to leave things on the highest note possible at this point and try to salvage what they can.
The game is tamed in the beginning as both teams feel each other out and the players seam focus; the French defenders are a little shaky after allowing the most goals in the tournament. I expected more from Georges, but she hasn’t played at a high level. Neither of these keepers has showed enough in order to place any confidence in them, the French goal keeper has played horribly up to this point, but hasn’t been tested much within the first 20 minutes of this third place game.
While watching this game, it is clear that these teams are here for a reason…they are not as technical or tactical as the Japanese team, nor are they as balanced and strong as the U.S team.
The game remained stagnant up until the 29th minute when a beautiful ball split the two back defenders from France and Schelin placed the ball over the goalkeeper to put the Swedes up 1. During the same play, the goal keeper was taken off the field and Necib was also taken out after her knee was causing her problems after a collision several minutes before. Schelin has definitely outplayed these French defenders this half. The French team has responded very well to the goal but have no goal to show for their efforts.
This half comes to an end with a blown opportunity from the Swedes. The Swedes are somewhat in control, although, this game is far from over; their opponents can’t seem to get much going even after having some good shots on goal.
We are now in the second half; France starts strong looking to even things up. We have our second goal of this game with France tying the game in 56th minute; interestingly enough, the goal was a brilliant shot by Thomis who replaced Necib in the first half after her knee troubles. The game is nearing the stretch run in which, one of these teams must do something extraordinary.
Sweden’s luck failed them in the 63rdminute with a great chance on goal; Thomis has taken control of this game and is leaving her mark out there…she has changed the pace and had a great chance against the keeper shortly after Sweden’s unfortunate crossbar incident.
Things took a turn toward controversy in the 67th minute with an unfortunate red card given to Swedish player Oqvist. She was caught retaliating while being tangled on the floor with French player Bompastor. The red card was unmerited but the referee made the decision and they must deal with it (of course an American referee at that)
Now the Swedes must find a way to play and win with 10 players.
This bronze medal game is going to come down to the last minutes, its only right given what we’ve seen this tournament. The pivotal goal comes in the 82nd minutes and I know I’ve said this several times but, this goal is the best goal of the tournament. The goal was scored by Swedish player Marie Hammarstrom after performing a gorgeous set of moves which she finished off with a laser shot…the goal keeper could have done better but the goal itself was more than brilliant.
2-1 and the match is over, Sweden has won a well deserved 3rd place match and their celebration officially begins. only one game remains for the cup between the U.S team and Japan; history tells us who should win but in the world cup, the victor is not determined by history-we will see if how things unfold but it should be a great game to watch.