FIFA Women's World Cup: Peter Gerhardsson hails Sweden 'heroes'

A "proud" Peter Gerhardsson saluted his Sweden players after they beat Canada to set up a Women's World Cup quarterfinal against Germany.

Peter Gerhardsson: "I am proud of the players." Photo: Getty Images

Coach Peter Gerhardsson hailed the courage of his Sweden "heroes" after they edged out Canada in the last 16 of the Women's World Cup.

Stina Blackstenius' clinical second-half strike earned Gerhardsson's team a 1-0 win on Monday as it set up a quarterfinal meeting with Germany. But it had goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl to thank after she superbly saved a Janine Beckie penalty to prevent Canada pulling level.

REPORT | Blackstenius the hero

Boss Gerhardsson joked: "I had the best preparation here today you can have for a match — I listened to four Neil Young albums, who is Canada's top performer! That's how I prepared!

"Above all I am proud of the players. We do perform well primarily in the second half. The first we were very much on the defensive, we defended the box well but less so midfield. There's a courage in trying to play your way out of situations. I did feel we made use of that positively. Kosovare [Asllani]'s pass, Stina's decisiveness, Hedvig's save, there were a lot of heroes towards the end of the match, too."

'Really happy'

Lindahl's moment came midway through the second half after a VAR penalty decision. "If they doubted I can make any penalty saves, that proved them wrong," she said. "I had to stretch fully and it worked. I was really happy, it was pure joy. We've got a lot more energy because of that."

 

Blackstenius' 55th-minute goal was her side's first shot on target of the match and Canada boss Kenneth Heiner-Moller rued his side's lack of cutting edge having had 59 per cent of the possession.

"We got the one counter wrong," he said. "That's all you need to get wrong in these matches. The story of the game was going in our favour. We were getting closer and closer. We had these final passes that were not really on point. I was thinking it would come. [I'm disappointed] with the result, but not the performance. I'm proud of this team."