Sweden Clinch FIFA Women’s World Cup Bronze Medal

In the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 third-place playoff, co-hosts Australia faced off against Sweden in a bid to claim the bronze medal. 

Both teams were coming off losses in the semifinals, with Australia being defeated by England and Sweden falling to Spain. The FIFA world rankings favoured Sweden, who were ranked third, while Australia sat at number ten.

Off the field, Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced a commitment of $200 million Australian dollars ($128m) towards women’s sports. The funds would be used to improve sports facilities and equipment for women and girls, with a focus on football following the Matildas’ impressive World Cup campaign. The Prime Minister also pledged to ensure that iconic women’s sporting events like the World Cup semi finals would be accessible for Australians to watch for free.

Sweden fielded the same starting lineup that lost to Spain in the quarter-finals, with Zecira Musovic in goal and a strong defensive line led by captain Kosovare Asllani. Australia’s Swedish-born coach, Tony Gustavsson, also stuck with the same XI that lost to England in the semifinals, with Mackenzie Arnold in goal and Sam Kerr captaining the team.

Perfect football conditions greeted the teams in Brisbane, with a pleasant temperature of 18 degrees, clear skies, and no rain in sight. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was spotted in the stands, showing support for the Matildas with a green and gold scarf.

The teams took the field with Sweden wearing their yellow shirts and blue shorts, lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. The Matildas donned their turquoise kit and started with a classic 4-4-2 lineup.

Referee Cheryl Foster from Wales blew the whistle, and Sweden got the match underway, kicking from left to right.

Sweden made an early chance in the first few minutes with a great pass from Filippa Angeldal to Stina Blackstenius in the penalty area. Blackstenius exchanged passes with Johanna Kaneryd and forced an excellent save from Arnold.

In the opening minutes, Sweden made the better start, putting pressure on the Australian defence. Australia had a chance from a free-kick in the 6th minute, but Clare Polkinghorne’s delivery was poor, failing to beat the first defender.

As the game progressed, Sweden continued to dominate possession, leaving Australia chasing their opponents in midfield. Australia conceded a free-kick in the 13th minute, but Ellie Carpenter cleared the ball with a header.

Australia started to find their rhythm and gained control after a slow start. They created a promising chance in the 21st minute, linking up well on the left side with Kerr and Raso, but the final through-ball was overhit.

In the 25th minute, Sweden came close to scoring as Fridolona Rolfo’s powerful header hit the crossbar. There was a possible penalty for Sweden as Hunt clipped the heels of Blackstenius, resulting in a penalty kick. Fridolina Rolfö stepped up and calmly side footed the ball into the right corner, giving Sweden a 1-0 lead.

Sweden had another opportunity in the 43rd minute, but Rolfö’s curled shot went wide despite having plenty of time to exploit the Australian defence.

The first half ended with Sweden leading 1-0. Sweden deservedly had the advantage, but Australia kept themselves in the game with some outstanding goalkeeping from Arnold.

The second half started with no substitutions from either coach. The game became hectic with contested headers, misplaced passes, and long balls. Sweden tried to calm things down with well-coordinated passing through the lines.

Australia made some substitutions around the hour mark, bringing on Van Egmond and Vine for Gorry and Raso. However, it was Sweden who extended their lead in the 63rd minute. Van Egmond lost possession, Carpenter committed defensively, and Sweden launched a swift counterattack. Asllani received the ball inside the penalty area and scored a fantastic goal to make it 2-0.

Australia had more possession in the second half, but Sweden’s defence remained strong against high balls. The midfield battle became scrappy as both teams fought for control.

As the match reached its closing stages, Australia struggled to create opportunities, resorting to playing long balls. Sweden remained organised and defended their lead effectively.

The match ended with a 2-0 victory for Sweden, securing the bronze medal in the 2023 World Cup. 

The Matildas fought hard throughout the tournament, but in this match, they appeared exhausted and lacked creativity. The capacity crowd of 49,461 in attendance witnessed the final moments of the tournament.

Sweden’s victory marks another successful campaign for the team, claiming third place in the Women’s World Cup. 

Meanwhile, Australia can take pride in their historic run to the semifinals and the increased support pledged by Prime Minister Albanese for women’s sports in the country.

Don’t miss out on the exciting FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 final match on Sunday, 20 August, between Spain and England, kicking off at 12:00. 

Catch all the action live on gsport4girls across all social media platforms.

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