The stage is set for qualification in the Women’s World Cup Group G match between Sweden and Italy. Both teams took maximum points off their opponents in their first group matches, with Italy trouncing Argentina by a lone goal and Sweden beating South Africa after conceding an early second-half equalizer. Both teams will be well aware of what is at stake as a win here for any of these teams will guarantee qualification from the group.
Italy started well against Argentina but failed to put in their chances. However, credit must be given to the Argentinian squad who put in a solid shift as a unit, attacking sporadically and defending well. The Italians must have been thinking that would be the final result until a cross from deep from Lisa Boattin found Cristiana Girelli, who hit a looping header that went over Vanina Noemi Correa, who had been excellent all evening, and into the back of the net. The goal sparked wild celebrations among the Italian camp and the stands, and Girelli was bombarded by her teammates shouting and screaming for joy. The Argentinians could do nothing for the next nine minutes of extra time, as the Italians held first to pick up precious three points. Milena Bertolini’s charges will surely be looking forward to their match against the Swedish with their confidence-boosting win.
Sweden, who have failed to reach the knockout rounds just once in eight tries in the World Cup, will be looking to add to this impressive record by beating Italy and securing qualification even before their third match. They will however be looking to break the hoodoo of consecutive wins, as the last time they claimed such was at last year’s European Championship. The first half was largely uneventful, but the second half sparked into life when South African Hilda Magaia broke the deadlock with a fine finish. The goal however woke Sweden up, and they pushed for an equalizer, getting the reward for their hard work through Fridolina Rolfo in the sixty-fifth minute. It would take the last minute for Sweden to steal all precious points through Amanda Ilestedt in the ninetieth minute with South Africa surrendering a two-goal lead to Argentina to draw in their match, Italy and Sweden now know that a win will help ease tired legs in preparation for the next round. We look forward to an interesting match-up between both teams to see who wants qualification more. See you after the match!