Nobody can defeat Sweden after a semifinal failure at the Women’s World Cup. Not even the event’s organizers.
Fridolina Rolfo and Kosovare Asllani scored goals in Sweden’s 2-0 victory over Australia on Saturday, extending the Swedes’ unblemished record in World Cup third-place matches to four.
“It feels incredible. We proved from the first minute on that we were the superior team,” Rolfo said. “We deserve this medal.”
It was a disappointing ending for the Matildas, who enraptured their nation during their first-ever run to the semifinals.
The tournament co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand set attendance records, and two of Australia’s matches were the most-watched domestic commercial television programs in the past two decades.
There was still optimism for a medal for the Matildas, as the Sydney Opera House was lit up in the green-and-gold colors of Australia and fans flocked to fan zones and giant screens in cities across the country.
Even with the return of star striker Sam Kerr to the starting lineup, it ultimately resulted in consecutive losses to the No. 3 and No. 4 teams in the world.
“We wanted to win, we wanted to carry home some hardware. Not meant to be,” Kerr stated. I believe we’ve proven to the world that we are a footballing nation due to the support of our supporters and the manner in which our female players have conducted themselves.
We were unable to complete the task tonight, but we have hopefully inspired people for many years to come.
Sunday’s final in Sydney pits European champion England against Spain. With Sweden’s victory, European nations will finish first, second, and third.
The Swedes won all three group games, then eliminated the United States on penalties in the round of 16 and defeated Japan in the quarterfinals.
Sweden dominated Australia for the majority of the match by remaining compact and organized and exploiting defensive weaknesses.
Rolfo scored a penalty kick with a low, curling left-foot shot in the 30th minute after Australian defender Clare Hunt was penalized for impeding Stina Blackstenius following a VAR review.