Two late goals secured Sweden a 2-0 victory over Women’s World Cup newbies Chile in Group F.
Javiera Toro almost put the ball in the back of her own net within two minutes but luckily her interception went wide of the post. Sweden held more of the ball but neither side produced any clearcut chances in the early stages.
After a poor opening 45 minutes – from the Swedish perspective – the heavens opened as the second half began. Again, Sweden had the possession but didn’t have a way through the Chile defence.
Thunderbolts and lightning were clearly very, very frightening. There was a break in play after 72 minutes due to the adverse weather conditions.
Sometime later, play resumed and Sweden finally got their breakthrough with Kosovare Asllani pouncing on some insecure defending by the South Americans. Minutes later, substitute Madelen Janogy found space and fired high into the top corner to seal the three points.
The scoreline remained and finished 2-0 to Sweden who can breathe a sigh of relief following their late show in Rennes.
Here are the winners and losers from Sweden’s 2-0 win over Chile in the Fifa Women’s World Cup Group F match.
Winner: Christiane Endler
Going into this tournament, goalkeeper Christiane Endler was by far the most prestigious player among the Chile ranks, such is her standing in the game.
Endler was recently announced by IFFHS as the sixth best footballer in women’s football and voted the best goalkeeper in the French League for this season with Paris Saint-Germain.
On Tuesday she became the first Chilean international to lead out her country at the Women’s World Cup, an honour that she spoke about prior to this afternoon’s clash with USA.
Speaking to reporters she said: “It’s emotional, I’m very happy.
“For me, the most incredible thing is representing Chile and we hope to do it in the best possible way.
She produced a fantastic save down to her left following a Sweden corner to showcase her renowned ability. She was by far the most effective player on the pitch.
Despite Chile’s inability to grind out a result against tough Swedish opposition, try telling Endler that she isn’t a true winner after creating history and keeping her side in the match for as long as possible.
Loser: Chile defence
Chile hadn’t kept a clean sheet in the last eight matches ahead of this game, when they defeated Argentina 4-0 at the Copa America in 2018.
Although Sweden kept going at them, the Chile defence’s organisation limited their opposition to just six shots on target out of 24 attempts.
However, Chile’s backline was finally breached late on and all their hard work turned into painful memories, with their chances of picking up a point all but gone with few minutes left on the clock.
Winner: Kosovare Asllani
At 29 years of age, Kosovare Asllani is in her peak years and may already be known by some for her stints with football giants Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.
Asllani is considered key to Sweden’s chances of at the very least reaching the knock-out stages of this year’s World Cup, with the influential midfielder now sitting on 126 caps for her country.
Tuesday’s performance at the heart of the Swedish starting eleven saw her involved in a few nasty collisions that may have thrown her off her game. She missed a good opportunity from close range to put her side ahead in the opening 20 minutes which could have eased nerves around the Sweden camp.
She did showcase some neat footwork and eventually became the match winner after she tucked home from close-range to put her side ahead with minutes left to play, her 33rd international goal.
Loser: The match
It seemed as though if Sweden turned up in Rennes, we could be about to witness a bloodbath of a match against World Cup newbies Chile.
However, that simply wasn’t the case.
Sweden had most of the ball and continuously found themselves in the final third but they could barely muster a decent attempt on target. When they did, Chile shot-stopper Endler was on hand to deny time and time again.
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This wasn’t the best advert for women’s football – especially in comparison to fixtures already played out in this competition – and it seems that unless they are able to step it up against the likes of the USA and Thailand – the latter they should beat with ease – Sweden may be at risk of not reaching their ambitions this time around.
Alright, they didn’t ‘technically’ win the game today but they will feel far from down after playing their first 90 minutes at the Women’s World Cup.
There wasn’t a fellow novice standing in their way today but a country who have made eight appearances in this competition, reaching the knock-out stages in six of the past seven attempts.
1 – Chile are playing in their first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup finals tournament and are the fifth South American nation to do so – they qualified after finishing as runners-up in the 2018 Copa América Femenina. Inaugural. #FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/lsGamY9HdG
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 11, 2019
Head coach José Letelier will almost certainly be proud of his side who frustrated their opponents and despite attempting just one shot on target themselves, didn’t look like losing heavily as some feared prior to kick-off.
Unfortunately, things won’t be getting easier for the South Americans who next come up against World Cup holders and favourites USA on Sunday afternoon.
Loser: The weather
To top it all off, a thunderstorm in the middle of the second half interrupted the game and saw both teams exit the field of play prematurely.
Some cynics would say this was arguably the most interesting part of the afternoon’s festivities…
Winner: Madelen Janogy
On as a second-half substitute, Janogy provided one of the rare moment of quality in this match that will lift Swedish spirits heading further into this competition.
Taking the ball under her control, the forward ventured into the Chile box, fashioned some well-sought space and fired a shot into the top-right corner of the net.
She has done herself no harm today and has now made a great case to start her countries next match against Thailand on Sunday afternoon.