Disappointed Sweden look to Olympics to make amends

European heavyweights Sweden were gutted at being sent packing at the women's World Cup, but are already looking to the Beijing Olympics to make amends.

The Swedes failed to qualify for the quarter-finals for the first time in the 16-year history of the World Cup despite downing Asian number ones North Korea 2-1 on Tuesday.

Sweden, runner up in 2003, needed to win by three clear goals to catapult them into the knockout stage after earlier failures left them languishing in third place in their group.

“We put in a really great performance. Even though we won it wasn’t enough to qualify so I feel totally empty right now,” said Swedish captain Victoria Svensson.

“All of our opponents in Group B were really strong, they’re three really world class teams so this was a really tough group for us.”

Sweden were drawn in the ‘Group of Death’ with world number ones the United States, North Korea, ranked five in the world, and African champions Nigeria.

Despite the disappointment at failing to qualify, coach Thomas Dennerby said the future of women’s football in Sweden was bright, and they were were now looking towards the Beijing Olympics next year.

“Once Korea equalized and gave themselves a lifeline, I knew that we were back to square one,” he said.

“The Swedish team has a great future because we had a lot of young players who were making their World Cup debut at this tournament.

“As long as we can build up their experience, we’re sure to have plenty of success at the Olympic Games in 2008.”