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Sports digest: US retain Solheim Cup

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10:39 CEST+02:00
Sports digest is The Local's weekly look at sporting events making the news in Sweden and beyond.

Golf

The United States retained the Solheim Cup in Halmstad on Sunday after dominating Europe in the afternoon singles.

The Americans were two points down after losing the fourballs 3-1 and Scot Catriona Matthew's win over Laura Diaz in the opening singles.

Then came a fierce fightback with the US golfers prevailing eight and a half to three and a half to win the match 16-12.

The US lead the series 7-3 after Europe succumbed to only their second defeat on home turf.

Aside from Matthews, Solheim Cup veteran Laura Davies and Swede Linda Wessberg were Europe's only other winners in the singles, this pair respectively accounting for Brittany Lincicome and US Women's Open champion Cristie Kerr.

For the visitors their most remarkable performance came from teenager Morgan Pressel, who beat Annika Sörenstam two and one.

Matthew was Europe's top scorer with three wins out of four while for the US it was Paula Creamer who took the honours with three and a half points.

It was Nicole Castrale's three and two defeat of Bettina Hauert that retained the Cup for the Americans, with Creamer making the win secure when overcoming Maria Hjorth two and one.

The final day had started encouragingly for Europe who were lying only one point behind and up in three and level in one of Saturday's uncompleted fourballs.

Sörenstam's team took that session 3-1, only to let the title slip away in the afternoon.

Football

North Korea confident of downing desperate Sweden

Asian number ones North Korea are confident of fending off a desperate Sweden in a must-win clash in China on Tuesday to secure a place in the women's World Cup quarter-finals.

Sweden, runner-up in 2003 to champions Germany, are in serious danger of missing the finals for the first time in the 16-year history of the World Cup, after managing only a 1-1 draw with Nigeria and losing 2-0 to the US.

The world number three need to win by three clear goals against North Korea in a last ditch effort to scrape into the top two of their group and qualify for the quarters.

Veteran Swedish campaigner Hanna Ljungberg said despite the odds, the Scandinavians were in with a shot.

"Everybody is disappointed (with the US result) but (coach) Thomas Dennerby said 'everyone is disappointed but this group is still alive' and we are going to take a chance to get through to the quarters," she said.

"We can't go into the game thinking we have no chance to qualify," added captain Victoria Svensson.

"We must try to win and finish strong."

North Korea are riding high after holding football giants the United States to a 2-2 draw, and backing up with an emphatic 2-0 victory over African champions Nigeria to sit alongside the Americans on top of Group B.

In an ominous warning to Euro power Sweden ahead of the crunch match, North Korea said they had yet to hit peak form, and vowed to step up their campaign for a first-ever World Cup title.

No-nonsense coach Kim Kwang Min singled out Korean captain Ri Kum Suk, saying she was not playing at her best despite the tireless forward scoring the second goal against Nigeria.

"I have seen her play much, much better than she is at this World Cup," said Kim.

"If we are to hit our peak performance here in China, Ri Kum Suk will need to step up her game and give the kind of performance that we have come to expect from her over the years."

A draw would be enough for North Korea, ranked five in the world, who are clearly soaking up the pressure in China.

"We have had some success in Asia but now we intend to be regarded as a world power," said Ri, who scored four goals in their successful Asian Games campaign last year, and is considered North Korea's best player.

***

With just two points separating the top six teams, this season's Swedish title is still very much up for grabs.

AIK came away with a point after a 2-2 draw with Halmstad in Saturday's top game. That scoreline was repeated on Sunday when IFK Gothenburg took on champions Elfsborg.

Djurgården can take command at the top of the table if they manage to beat bottom side Trelleborg on Monday evening.

Allsvenskan: Table and results.

Athletics

Susanna Kallur saved her best performance of the season for Sunday's Golden League finale in Berlin.

The Swede ran a personal best to win the women's 100m hurdles in 12.49s from world champion Michelle Perry in the biggest shock of the day.

AFP/The Local

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