Women's World Cup 2019: Sembrant's early opener helps Swedes ease into last 16

Sweden sealed its spot in the last 16 of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup with a 5-1 thumping of Thailand on Sunday.

Sweden's players celebrate during their 5-1 triumph over Thailand at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup on Sunday.   -  Getty Images

Sweden booked its place in the last 16 of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup with a comfortable 5-1 victory over Thailand in Nice.

Having left it late to overcome Chile 2-0 in its opening fixture in Group F, Peter Gerhardsson's side needed just six minutes to take the lead on Sunday. Linda Sembrant managed to get to Elin Rubensson's deep free-kick before goalkeeper Waraporn Boonsing to score the opener, potentially paving the way for a landslide victory.

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Yet, a Thailand team that conceded a record 13 goals against the United States managed to do a solid job of damage limitation following the early setback.

 

Kosovare Asllani doubled Sweden's lead when some excellent footwork at the byline allowed her to squeeze the ball inside the near post from a tight angle. She wastefully volleyed over soon after, but a third did arrive before halftime, Boonsing only able to parry Fridolina Rolfo's powerful long-range drive into the net.

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Thailand's goalkeeper bravely denied substitute Madelen Janogy from close range early in the second half, but was helpless when Lina Hurtig's superb header found the back of the net with nine minutes remaining. Kanjana Sung-Ngoen garnered the loudest cheer from the crowd when she fired in an unlikely consolation goal in stoppage time, her shot leaving Hedvig Lindahl rooted to the spot.

However, Sweden — which faces the USA next in a likely battle to finish top of the table — had the last word courtesy of a VAR review for handball, allowing Rubensson to add a fifth from the penalty spot.

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