Women's World Cup Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, July 10, 2011
(All times Eastern)
Australia (2-1-0) vs. Sweden (3-0-0), 7 a.m.
Augsburg, Germany (Sports Network) - Sweden finished the group stage unbeaten
for the first time in six World Cups, and now turns its focus to Australia in
the quarterfinals Sunday with its first title still the target.
Despite qualifying for every World Cup, Sweden has never lifted the World Cup
trophy, with an overtime loss to Germany in 2003 being its nearest miss.
But after winning Group C with a 2-1 win over the United States on Wednesday,
the Swedes head to Impuls Arena in Augsburg, Germany to face the Aussies with
the chance to return to the semifinals for the third time in their history.
After Japan shocked two-time defending champion and host Germany on Saturday,
Sweden may not have a better opportunity to return to the final. If it can get
past the Aussies. The Sweden-Australia winner plays Japan in the semis.
Sweden also reached the 1991 semifinals, and eventually finished fourth. And,
after failing to advanced past the group stage four years ago, the Swedes can
make a statement that they remain one of the elite teams in the world.
After three solid, although unimpressive wins, in group play, it would not be
a surprise to see Sweden advance.
Sweden opened with 1-0 wins over Colombia and North Korea, then edged the U.S.
on goals from Lisa Dahlkvist and Nilla Fischer. And that win came with captain
and midfield general Caroline Seger suspended due to accumulated yellow cards.
"I think the game was one of the best of the tournament so far. This game was
not so important concerning the tournament, but for us it was important to win
to gain more confidence," Sweden coach Thomas Dennerby said.
"Now we have to focus on Australia. We have watched their games and now we
have to get together and find a strategy against that team."
Australia lacks the credentials of Sweden, but after Kyah Simon scored twice
in a 2-1 win over Norway to send her side back to the quarterfinals for the
second straight tournament, the Aussies are starting to catch up.
After a 1-0 loss to Brazil in its opening match, Australia defeated Equatorial
Guinea 3-2 and Norway. With sparkplug Lisa De Vanna - who scored four goals in
the last World Cup - once again causing problems, Australia is a threat.
Norway led the match against Australia, but Simon answered the goal within one
minute and added the winning goal late in the match, although Australia would
have advanced with a draw.
"It was a really tough match," Aussie coach Tom Sermanni said. "The key moment
of the game was when we scored almost immediately after falling behind - it
brought us right back into it at a critical time."
And with its only loss coming against Brazil, Australia could be on the verge
of its first spot in the semifinals.
"Finishing the group stage with a victory will give us a real confidence boost
ahead of the next round," Simon said. "Reaching the quarterfinals is becoming
a bit of a nice habit for this team.
"Our next game will definitely be hard, but we're well prepared for it."
07/10 01:00:29 ET