Sweden is through to the semifinals of the 2019 Women's World Cup. With a 2-1 win over Germany in the quarterfinals on Saturday, Sweden secured a date. The victor will face the winner of England-U.S. in the World Cup final on July 7.
In a free-flowing match, Sweden used its athleticism and strength up front to overrun Germany's backline. After going down 1-0 in the early going, Sweden took control as the match wore on, before barely hanging on for a tight win. They quickly equalized in the first half and jumped over Germany in the opening minutes of the second half, scoring the game-winning goal in the 48th minute.
Here it is, the moment that sent Sweden to the semifinals.
The Germans dominated most of the possession in the first half, but the match was a back-and-forth affair with plenty of chances for both sides. Six minutes after Germany took a 1-0 lead thanks to a splendid pass from Sara Däbritz and an excellent half-volley finish from Lina Magull, they allowed Sweden to tie the match in a horrible way. A simple long ball and a misjudged header resulted in a breakaway for Sofia Jakobsson, who coolly slotted the equalizer into the far post. It was the first goal Germany allowed at the tournament.
WHAT A GOAL! 😱— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) June 29, 2019
Germany takes the 1-0 lead on Sweden thanks to this beautiful goal from Lina Magull. 🇩🇪pic.twitter.com/UGZkRcQyel
The German defense looked shaky from that point on. The scoreline was tied at halftime, but Sweden had the better of the chances.
Sure enough, Sweden found the go-ahead goal in the opening minutes of the second half. A header toward the far post from Fridolina Rolfo was saved well, but the ball fell to the feet of Stina Blackstenius, who hammered home the rebound. Sweden led 2-1 after 47 minutes.
On the other end, Sweden salted away the match, holding off Germany's desperate final attacks. Twice in the final few minutes, Germany floated in dangerous crosses that could've resulted in a tying goal, but both times their headers flew beyond the frame of the goal. The chances were there, but Germany failed to take them.
Both teams finished with six shots on target, with Germany barely outshooting Sweden 13-12.
Sweden how has a chance to qualify for their first World Cup final since 2003, when they lost to Germany in a heartbreaker that saw Sweden blow a 1-0 lead and lose in extra time. Sweden also got eliminated by Germany in the Round of 16 four years ago. But on Saturday, Sweden finally exorcised their demons. As a result, they still have a chance to do what they've never done before: finish first at the World Cup.
First, a difficult matchup with the Netherlands awaits.