FIFA Women’s World Cup Review: Sweden and United States ease into knockout rounds
Group F heavyweights Sweden and the United States eased into the knockout rounds of the Women’s World Cup with routine wins on Sunday.
Double figures might have eluded USA on this occasion but their passage to three points against Chile was assured from the early stages in Paris.
Head coach Jill Ellis made eight changes to the team that embarrassed Thailand 13-0 on Tuesday and the big-name inclusion, co-captain Carli Lloyd, confidently set about winning back a starting berth.
Lloyd, 36, punished a poor defensive header with a well-taken opener in the 11th minute and headed in a second before the break, in the process becoming the oldest player to score multiple goals in a Women’s World Cup match.
Julie Ertz nodded in a Tierna Davidson corner between her team-mate’s brace and only Lloyd’s failure to convert a late penalty – along with some excellent goalkeeping from Chile’s Christiane Endler – prevented the margin from ballooning beyond 3-0.
USA are still not assured of top spot, though, as Sweden beat Thailand 5-1 in the early kick-off to set up a shootout for first place when the sides meet in in Le Havre on Thursday.
Linda Sembrant got Sweden up and running with just five minutes and 24 seconds played – the earliest goal to be scored in the competition so far – which Kosovare Asllani and Fridolina Rolfo added to before half-time.
The fourth goal was provided by Lina Hurtig nine minutes from the end and, after Kanjana Sung-Ngoen pulled a consolation goal back for Thailand that was celebrated wildly, Elin Rubensson converted from the penalty spot to complete the rout.