European contestants Sweden and France faced each other for the 3rd Place Match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 today. Sweden defeated France 2-1 to win the match.
The match at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena in Sinsheim lacked the class and pace in the early minutes. The spectators witnessed several runs over the wings on both sides, but they didn’t result in any promising attempts on goal.
Thomas Dennerby’s Swedish team was the more active side in the first twenty minutes, while France played the temporising game they displayed in their last few matches.
The French team took the initiative moments later and forced the Scandinavians to play a more defensive game. Sonia Bompastor and Louisa Nécib created lots of pressure on the left flank and the Swedish team allowed them to deliver several crosses into the box, which were not received by the French strikers.
But Sweden replied to the French pressure in the 29th minute, when a long ball by Sara Larsson found Lotta Schelin up-front. The Swedish striker, who plays her club football with French side Olympique Lyonnais, slotted the ball past an on-rushing keeper Berangere Sapowicz to give her team the lead.
Bruno Bini’s side had to face even more misery as Sapowicz twisted her ankle, when she tried to stop Schelin. The keeper and her team mate Louisa Nécib, who picked up a knee injury moments earlier, had to be replaced in the aftermath of the goal.
France almost levelled the score in the 36th minute, when Elise Bussaglia’s curling right footed shot beat Swedish keeper Hedvig Lindahl, before hitting the post to the dissatisfaction of the French fans.
Sweden could have doubled the lead in the dying minutes of the first half, but Lotta Schelin failed to score her second goal of the match. Therese Sjögran delivered a well-timed through ball to Schelin, who went on to the box and faced a one on one with the new French keeper Celine Deville. Deville had the better end on her side, as she blocked Schelin’s shot to keep the one goal deficit for her team at half-time.
France kept their hopes alive with an early goal in the second half, when a strike by Elodie Thomis levelled the score in the 56th minute. Thomis received a pass at the edge of the area after an excellent display by Gaetane Thiney against three Swedish defenders. The substitute fired a right footed shot into the Swedish net to make it 1-1 at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena.
The match turned into an evenly balanced encounter France took control of the match, but was lucky not to concede a goal in the 64th minute. An excellent through ball by Lisa Dahlkvist found an unmarked Josefine Öqvist. Öqvist had only Deville between her and the goal. The Swedish player chipped the ball past the keeper, but was denied a goal as her shot hit the post.
Josefine Öqvist placed herself into the hot seat four minutes later, when she was sent off after a violent conduct on Bompastor. Öqvist kicked Bompastor purposely and referee Kari Seitz was up to speed and red carded the Swedish player.
But Sweden didn’t surrender and kept on fighting despite being one player down. The Swedish team led by their star striker Lotta Schelin continued to pressurize the French team.
And Sweden got their reward for their spirited performance in the 82nd minute. Substitute Marie Hammarström lived up to her name, when she hammered the rebound off a corner kick into the top corner of the French goal to give her team a 2-1 lead minutes before the final whistle.
Hammarström’s goal turned into the deciding moment of the game, as France had no reply to give in the remaining minutes of the match.
Sweden clinched the bronze medal at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 to give their campaign a happy end on German soil.
3rd Place Match
Sweden 2-1 France
1-0 Lotta SCHELIN (29′)
1-1 Elodie THOMIS (56′)
2-1 Marie HAMMARSTRÖM (82′)
1-Hedvig LINDAHL; 2-Charlotte ROHLIN, 4-Annica SVENSSON, 6-Sara THUNEBRO, 7-Sara LARSSON; 18-Nilla FISCHER [C] (73′ 3-Linda SEMBRANT), 15-Therese SJÖGRAN, 17-Lisa DAHLKVIST; 8-Lotta SCHELIN, 14-Josefine ÖQVIST, 16-Linda FORSBERG (62′ 20-Marie HAMMARSTRÖM)
5-Caroline SEGER, 9-Jessica LANDSTRÖM, 10-Sofia JAKOBSSON, 11-Antonia GORANSSON, 12-Kristin HAMMARSTRÖM, 13-Lina NILSSON, 19-Madelaine EDLUND, 21-Sofia LUNDGREN
16-Berangere SAPOWICZ (32′ 1-Celine DEVILLE); 2-Wendie RENARD, 4-Laura GEORGES, 7-Corine FRANCO (84′ 13-Caroline PIZZALA); 6-Sandrine SOUBEYRAND [C], 8-Sonia BOMPASTOR, 10-Camille ABILY, 14-Louisa NECIB (32′ 12-Elodie THOMIS), 15-Elise BUSSAGLIA; 9-Eugenie LE SOMMER, 17-Gaetane THINEY
3-Laure BOULLEAU, 5-Ophelie MEILLEROUX, 11-Laure LEPAILLEUR, 18-Marie-Laure DELIE, 19-Sandrine BRETIGNY, 20-Sabrina VIGUIER, 21-Laetitia PHILIPPE
Kari SEITZ (USA)
Marlene DUFFY (USA), Veronica PEREZ (USA)
64′ Josefine ÖQVIST (Sweden)