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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," Schelin said.

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 Rozo.

Colombia can prove it can stand alongside the world's elite against Sweden.

06/28 00:37:24 ET


Women's World Cup News
· Herdman to coach Canadian women's soccer team

· Germany midfielder Garefrekes retires

· North Korea banned from 2015 Women's World Cup

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