France 2 Sweden 1
Updated Friday, 3rd August 2012
Sweden paid the price for not scoring more when in the acendancy in the first half.
The early stages of the game were played in a steady drizzle as the sides sized each other up. Sweden kicked-off with a speculative long range shot/lob from the centre circle hoping to catch Sarah Bouhaddi off her line. Unfortunately for Lisa Dahlkvist her accuracy let her down and the ball was safely watched as it went out for a bye. The first shot of the game was taken by France as Marie-Laure Delie beat the off-side trap on the left and moved in on Hedvig Lindahl who had to be sharp to save the shot to her near-side post. There was concern on the Swedish bench in the 12th minute when Lotta Schelin collided with Sarah Bouhaddi as she chased a long ball into the box, Bothe players were watching the ball and fell to the ground. Thankfully it appeared the worst injury was Schelin being winded and she recovered after treatment. The first blood was drawn by Sweden after a couple of corners in 18 minutes. The first from the left was scrambled away from a forest of arms and legs but the second from the right by Maria Hammarstrom found captain Nilla Fischer unmarked on the six metre line and she headed home. The French did think they had equalised in the 22nd minute but the flag was up for offside. The game was warming up now as Sweden went up the park on the right for Annica Svenssonto cross the ball to Lisa Dahlkvist head the ball firmly down in front of Sarah Bouhaddi but the French ‘keeper was up to the task of smothering the ball. Laura Georges finally got an equaliser for France as she was the first to react to the ball after Hedvig Lindahl scoped a corner from Louisa Necib from under her bar. The ball floated out to the six metre line for Georges to head home to set the game up nicely for a good contest. In the 40th minute France went into the lead as Wendi Renard took advantage of another dead ball situation. A free-kick around 25 metres out on the right was crossed the left before being headed over to the right for Renard to shoot the ball into the net. Three goals all from dead-ball situations did not really reflect the quality of play on display.
Half-time: France 2 Sweden 1
From the kick-off in the second half France looked as if they wanted to kill the game off. They were defending higher up the park and were putting the Swedish defence under constant pressure in the first five minutes of the second 45. A corner in the 53 minute found Linda Sembrant at the back and I thought it was going to be back to all square. However, the ball went just past the wrong side of the post for that to happen. In the 65 minutes Sweden looked to score without the need for a dead- ball. Moving quickly down the left with good interplay between Maria Hammarstrom, Carolone Seberand Sara Thunebro set the latter up for a long range effort which Sarah Bouhaddi was glad to smother at her right hand post. In the 73rd minute France moved quickly do the right through Corine Franco who pulled the ball back for Louisa Necib who headed just wide. No sooner was the ball back in play than Sweden’s captain Nilla Fischerheaded the ball just past the post from the six metre line. This flurry of activity at both ends did distract the crowd who had decided to get warm with a Mexican wave or two. No danger of any of the players needing to get warm as the game moved from end to end. While the Swedes poured forward in the hope of taking the game to extra time, the French defence were resolute in keeping the pressure off Sarah Bouhaddi. Three minutes of extra time did not bring the goal for Sweden that would add another 30 to the match. The Swedish team deserved more from the first half performance but the French did what needed to be done to run out winners and progress to the semi-finals without being spectacular.
France: Sarah Bouhaddi, Wendie Renard, Sandrine Soubeyrand (Camille Abily 71 mins), Corine Franco, Sonia Bompastor, Marie-Laure Delie, Elodie Thomis (Eugenie le Sommer 75 mins), Louisa Necib, Elise Bussaglia, Gaetane Thiney (Camille Catala 88 mins)
Unused Subs: Celine Deville, Laure Boulleau, Ophelie Meilleroux, Sabrina Viguier
Sweden: Hedvig Lindahl, Linda Sembrant, Emma Berglund, Annica Svensson (Madelaine Edlund 83 mins), Nilla Fischer, Sara Thunebro, Lisa Dahlkvist, Lotta Schelin, Sofia Jakobsson (Kosovare Asllani 58 mins), Maria Hammarstrom (Antonia Goransson 71 mins), Carolone Seber
Unused Subs: Lina Nilsson, Malin Levestad, Sofia Lundgren