After their respective semifinal defeats, Sweden and Australia will contest the third-place playoff on Saturday. Neither side would have wanted to make the trip to Brisbane at this point in the tournament – but alas, there is still a prize at stake.
Sweden had been billed as favourites to lift the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy following their quarterfinal win against Japan, though Peter Gerhardsson’s lost their semifinal clash with Spain after a frantic final ten minutes saw three goals.
Until that point, the Blågult had been undefeated in Australia and New Zealand. Opening their tournament with a win against South Africa, the Scandinavian outfit went on to defeat Italy and Argentina – before stunning the United States in the round-of-sixteen as Lina Hurtig’s decisive penalty trickled over the line by mere millimetres.
Australia’s campaign hasn’t been quite as convincing. Buoyed by an impressive home crowd, the Matildas recorded victory against the Republic of Ireland in their opening game – despite losing Sam Kerr to injury just hours before kickoff. Evidently feeling the effects of tournament football without Chelsea striker, Tony Gustavsson’s side stumbled against Nigeria and recorded a loss in a five-goal thriller.
Since then though, it looked as though the co-hosts had turned a corner. A comfortable win against Canada was swiftly followed by a round-of-sixteen win against Denmark, and a dramatic penalty shootout saw the Matildas edge past France in the quarterfinals.
With Australia holding the bragging rights in cricket and netball already, the nation felt sure of victory against England at Stadium Australia on Wednesday. Goals from Ella Toone, Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo ensured that wasn’t to be the case though, despite Sam Kerr’s stunning strike.
Both managers are expected to name unchanged lineups from their respective semifinal defeats, with Clare Polkinghorne deputising for the concussed Alanna Kennedy.
Sweden: Musovic; Bjorn, Ilestedt, Eriksson, Andersson; Angeldal, Rubensson; Rytting Kaneryd, Asllani, Rolfo; Blackstenius
Australia: Arnold; Carpenter, Hunt, Polkinghorne, Catley; Raso, Gorry, Cooney-Cross Foord; Kerr, Fowler