Women's World Cup Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
(All times Eastern)
Sweden (0-0-0) vs. Colombia (0-0-0), 9 a.m.
Leverkusen, Germany (Sports Network) - Sweden failed to advance past the group
round of the Women's World Cup for the first time four years ago, so Tuesday's
opening match of the 2011 tournament against Colombia at BayArena is crucial.
Sweden advanced to the quarterfinals of the first four tournaments, made it to
the semifinals twice, and finished runner-up to Germany in 2003 before failing
to advance in the 2007 event in China.
But to turn the page on its 2007 failures, Sweden needs to open with a victory
against the South American side, which is making its first appearance in the
World Cup finals this summer in Germany.
"We've arguably not done as well as we wanted in tournaments," Sweden captain
Caroline Seger told FIFA.com. "We're a good team and we know we can do better.
"We've played together for a while now, so going to big tournaments shouldn't
be an issue. But it's getting tougher and tougher, and I think we Swedes need
to step up our efforts."
Sweden is an obvious choice to escape Group C, which also includes the United
States and North Korea, but Colombia cannot be overlooked, according to Sweden
striker Lotta Schelin.
"Women's football in Colombia has come on a long way in recent years, and that
makes them genuinely dangerous," Schelin said.
"We can't go into the first match thinking we just have to show up in order to
win. We have a job to do, and we must do it well."
Sweden tied Nigeria in its opener four years ago and then a defeat to the U.S.
left it with just one point after two matches, meaning even a win in its group
finale against North Korea wasn't enough to advance.
So, Schelin knows Sweden cannot afford to give away any points this year or it
could fail to advance again.
"I hope we have luck on our side this time and make it to the quarterfinals,"
Colombia is an unknown on the international level, but after the Under-20 side
finished fourth last year in Germany, there is plenty of talent available for
coach Ricardo Rozo.
Seventeen-year-old Yorely Rincon is Colombia's prize talent - she scored five
goals in qualifying - but the team is balanced. Overall, 11 different players
scored in South American qualifying.
"I'd definitely say that Colombia are in the South American elite now," stated
Colombia can prove it can stand alongside the world's elite against Sweden.
06/28 00:37:24 ET