FIFA Women’s World Cup wrap: Sweden stun USA, top group

Sweden have shocked the United States 2-1 to finish on top of Group C at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Wolfsburg on Wednesday.The win, Sweden’s first over the USA in four World Cup meetings, was set up courtesy of first-half goals from Lisa Dahlkvist and skipper Nilla Fischer.

The Stars and Stripes pulled one back in the second half through Abby Wambach but were unable to find an equaliser and fell to their first-ever defeat in the group stages.

They face a crunch clash with Group D table-toppers Brazil in the quarter-finals, while Sweden advance to the last eight to face group runners-up Australia.

Dahlkvist put Sweden ahead in the 15th minute, expertly guiding home a penalty kick after Lotta Schelin was felled in the area by Amy LePeilbet.

A slice of luck allowed Sweden to go further ahead on 35 minutes, as Fischer’s 25-metre free kick took a massive deflection and left USA goalkeeper Hope Solo stranded.

The USA came out with renewed intensity in the second half and were rewarded for their efforts when Wambach rose highest to nod home a corner past Sweden custodian Hedvig Lindahl in the 66th minute.

The prolific striker becomes the eighth player to reach ten Women’s World Cup goals.

Sweden rode their luck as the Stars and Stripes dominated throughout the final 45 minutes, but a lack of finish prevented them from squaring up the game and taking the group.

Also in Group C, North Korea and Colombia finished up their campaigns with a 0-0 draw and thus return home having failed to score at the 2011 tournament.

Thirty-three shots were registered at Bochum Stadium but only seven were on target as both sides squandered gilt-edged opportunities to finally get on the scoresheet.

North Korea finished third in the group, ahead of Colombia on goal difference.

In Frankfurt, Brazil wrapped up an unbeaten run through the group stages with a convincing 3-0 win over bottom-placed Equatorial Guinea.

Cristiane scored a brace and Erika also found the net for the Brazilians, who were already assured of topping Group D after wins over Australia and Norway.

Finally, Australia secured second place in the group with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Norway in Leverkusen.

Norway led briefly through Elise Thorsnes’ goal on 56 minutes, but Kyah Simon levelled for the Matildas barely 60 seconds later and headed home the winner in the 87th minute.

 


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