Sweden’s dreams of winning a first Women’s World Cup title were dramatically ended by Spain but the county is out to ensure its impressive run does not end without silverware when they meet co-host Australia in the third-place playoff on Saturday.
Third-ranked Sweden is playing in its second straight bronze medal match, having finished third at the 2019 World Cup. It came up short in its title bid again on Tuesday, losing 2-1 to Spain in the semifinal in Auckland.
The Scandinavians are aiming to repeat their feat from four years ago and looking forward to the vociferous atmosphere that will greet them at the 52,500-capacity Lang Park.
“I love it, it’s a particular feeling to have an entire stadium against you,” forward Kosovare Asllani told reporters on Friday. “Of course, we were disappointed after the last match. We wanted to go all the way to the final.
“At the same time, playing for a medal is a huge thing, and something that we’re proud of. We don’t want to leave here without it. We want to silence the stadium and bring that medal home.
“Everyone’s more than ready ... We’re going to do everything we can to win this medal for Sweden.”
Australia, who beat Sweden 4-0 in Melbourne last November, lost 3-1 to England in its semi-final, with talismanic captain Sam Kerr scoring a stunning goal.
Kerr made her first start of the tournament in that match and her Chelsea team mate Magdalena said she was delighted the striker had recovered from a calf injury that had ruled her out of the group stage.
“Her path through the tournament, the way she’s been gradually phased in, she deserves that,” Sweden defender Eriksson said. “As a footballer and on a personal level, I’m really happy that she managed to recover
“She has amazing skills as a footballer ... absolutely world class. We need to keep an eye on her, but it’s not as if they don’t have other players that have good quality.
“I was so disappointed after that match (against Spain) and during that evening, but the next day I just felt this hunger growing. I’m so proud of our journey and what we’ve done so far in this tournament. Now we just have to end it on a high.”
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