Sweden cruise into quarter-finals

NAILBITING::Despite losing to the hosts, Italy go into the last eight as runners-up in Group A, while third-placed Denmark must rely on other results to progress


Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - Page 20

A goal and an assist from Lotta Schelin helped hosts Sweden beat Italy 3-1 on Tuesday to win their qualifying group and cruise into the quarter-finals of UEFA Women’s Euro 2013.

Sweden exploded in the second half, netting three goals in the opening 12 minutes, to preserve their unbeaten record and top Group A ahead of Italy who qualified as runners-up.

Finland became the first team to exit the tournament after a 1-1 draw with Denmark, who could still go through depending on results in the remaining games in the other groups.

Sweden finished on seven points with Italy on four ahead of Denmark and Finland on two apiece, with Finland heading home due to an inferior goal-difference.

An own-goal by Italy defender Rafaella Manieri set Sweden on their way in the seaside town of Halmstad as she deflected substitute Therese Sjogran’s pass into the net two minutes into the second half.

Two minutes later, striker Schelin got her third goal in three games, after rounding the keeper before setting up Sweden’s third goal just before the hour with a simple pull-back for Josfin Oqvist.

Italy’s Melania Gabbiadini headed home unmarked to reduce the deficit 12 minutes from time.

“We didn’t have many chances, but the ones we got we put away,” Schelin said in a pitchside interview after the match.

In Gothenburg, Denmark’s Mia Brogaard struck a deflected 29th-minute goal that looked to have booked their place in the knockout stage, but Finland equalized when Annica Sjolund rose to head home a corner three minutes from time.

Despite their meager points tally, Denmark can qualify as one of the best third-placed teams depending on results in the final matches in Group B and Group C yesterday and today.