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It’s been a wonderful week already for Australian football after wins to the Matildas and the Olyroos to start their Tokyo Olympics campaign.
The Matildas had a dominant first half against New Zealand on Wednesday and while the second half was less convincing they held their nerve after a late goal to from the Kiwis to win 2-1.
Sweden, on paper, looks to be a much tougher assignment in this Group G clash.
They’re ranked fifth in the world on the FIFA rankings but as we’ve seen so far in both the women’s and men’s competition favoritism doesn’t count for a lot, especially in an empty stadium.
However, Sweden ARE the real deal and they showed that by defeating one of the powerhouses in women’s football USA 3-0.
The Matildas will have to be on their guard to stop Stina Blackstenius who scored two goals against America. It could be an old-fashioned shootout with plenty of firepower for the Matildas including Caitlin Foord, Hayley Raso, Kyah Simon and Sam Kerr.
The win against the Football Ferns was an important one for the Matildas. It ended a five game losing run in 2021 and was the first victory under new boss Tony Gustavsson.
The three points also put Australia in a better position to progress to the knockout stages; the top two teams from every group plus the two best third-placed teams qualify.
Tameka Yallop opened the scoring for the Matildas in the 20th minute thanks to some neat work in the build from Kyah Simon and Sam Kerr. The Matildas captain then went on to double the lead in the 33rd minute, heading home from a Steph Catley corner.
While Sweden and Australia played out a 0-0 draw in a friendly last month, this match should be very different. It will take another strong performance from Australia to take any points from this clash.
After the New Zealand game, captain Kerr was happy with the performance as well as getting her name on the scoresheet.
“We feel good. First win in the tournament, just our first step in this journey, so to get the win was the most important thing today. It’s a confidence booster,” Kerr said.
“I would have obviously liked to score more and put the game to bed a lot sooner but we controlled the game. We let them in at times but the most important thing was the win. When you score as a striker, you’re always happy.”
“If we win the next game we almost guarantee ourselves to go through. So, the most important game is the next game, and we always knew that if we won today, we’d put ourselves in a good position to get a confidence boost and win the next game,” she explained.
Kick-off: 6:30pm (AEST)
Venue: Saitama Stadium, Tokyo
TV: Channel Seven
1. Hedvig Lindahl 2. Jonna Andersson 3. Emma Kullberg 4. Hanna Glas 5. Hanna Bennison 6. Magdalena Eriksson 7. Madelen Janogy 8. Lina Hurtig 9. Kosovare Asllani 10. Sofia Jakobsson 11. Stina Blackstenius 12. Jennifer Falk 13. Amanda Ilestedt 14. Nathalie Björn 15. Olivia Schough 16. Filippa Angeldal 17. Caroline Seger 18. Fridolina Rolfö 19. Anna Anvegård 20. Julia Roddar 21. Rebecka Blomqvist 22. Zecira Musovic
1. Lydia Williams, 2. Sam Kerr, 3. Kyra Cooney-Cross, 4. Clare Polkinghorne, 5. Aivi Luik, 6, Chloe Logarzo, 7. Steph Catley, 8. Elise Kellond-Knight, 9. Caitlin Foord, 10. Emily van Egmond, 11. Mary Fowler, 12. Ellie Carpenter, 13. Tameka Yallop, 14. Alanna Kennedy, 15. Emily Gielnik, 16, Hayley Raso, 17. Kyah Simon, 18. Teagan Micah, 19. Courtney Nevin, 20. Charlotte Grant, 21. Laura Brock, 22. Mackenzie Arnold