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Sweden secures World Cup bronze

AFP/The Local · 17 Jul 2011, 09:11

Published: 17 Jul 2011 09:11 GMT+02:00

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Sweden striker Lotta Schelin put her side ahead in the first half only for French replacement Elodie Thomis to equalise on 56 minutes before Swedish striker Josefine Öqvist was sent off on 68 minutes.

But in the dramatic closing stages, substitute midfielder Marie Hammarström won the game -- and the bronze medal -- for Sweden with a superb strike in the 82nd minute.

"I wasn't thinking of my friends in Lyon, just my friends in Sweden," said striker Schelin, who plays for Olympique Lyon in France.

"I am so happy about what we have achieved. It is a good team and we work for each other.

"We refocused after missing the opportunity to play in the final and at least we have a medal now."

Both teams had already secured the two available European places at the 2012 Olympic Games in London by reaching the semi-finals.

"It ends with two losses, but the team played with great heart," said France coach Bruno Bini.

"We tried to get back in the game, but sometimes things don't go your way. At least we have qualified for the Olympics."

Sweden's 3-1 defeat to Japan in Frankfurt on Wednesday and France's 3-1 loss to the USA in Moenchengladbach the same day brought the teams to the play-off.

The Swedes took the lead when a pass by defender Sara Larsson from inside her own half found Schelin and the Lyon striker chipped her shot past French goalkeeper Berangere Sapowicz on 29 minutes.

To add injury to insult, Sapowicz was stretchered off in obvious pain as the replay showed her jumping to block Schelin, only to land on her right ankle, which buckled underneath her.

France fought back straight after the double blow and Paris Saint Germain midfielder Elise Bussaglia hit the post straight after with Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl well beaten.

The French got back on level terms when left winger Gaetane Thiney won a tussle for the ball on the edge of the penalty area and strung a pass through the defence for substitute Elodie Thomis to roll her shot past Lindahl on 56 minutes.

Sweden were reduced to 10 players when Öqvist was shown a red card for lashing out.

"She kicked me, and I kicked back. I shouldn't have done what I did, but I think the referee was a coward. Both of us should have been sent off," Öqvist said to Swedish national TV station TV4.

Despite the loss of a player, the Swedes continued to dig deep for the winning goal.

Story continues below…

From a corner, the ball was headed away to Marie Hammarström -- who had only come off the bench an hour into the game - and the 29-year-old produced a stunning goal.

Having controlled the ball with her chest, she unleashed a fierce drive from the edge of the area which gave French substitute goalkeeper Celine Deville no chance.

"I couldn't understand. I don't even know what I did, I don't know," said an elated Hammarström to TV4.

"I didn't even think I would be in the World Cup. This is the best thing I've ever experienced."

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:28 July 17, 2011 by Gabin
Bravo les Filles.
10:41 July 17, 2011 by Maggie Malay
the Swede player who thought "the referee was a coward" has the luxury of expressing her opinion: referees and officials are generally unseen and unheard.

Whatever happened to being gracious in victory?
11:35 July 17, 2011 by krow
Arrogance from Öqvist. The french girl played a good ball, her job is to defend. You went out and kicked the hell out of her, we all saw that. It would have been a great mess if the opportunity for second goal was not single handedly created and scored. What a bad influence Öqvist for younger players. Or would I say typical swedish girl. Congrats to the rest.
12:09 July 17, 2011 by Dimukas
Go girls !
12:19 July 17, 2011 by andyron2
Absolute Hammar blow to the french.Happy to see the swedes win and great celebrations after.Congratulations Sweden!!!
18:05 July 17, 2011 by Englishted
Well done,congratulations.
19:59 July 17, 2011 by Kenny W

Your opinion about Öqvist seems a bit harsh. Even the crowd could see that she was unfairly provoked by the 'french-girl'. That's why the crowd was booing after the incident. If you look at the replay it was not the good ball that Öqvist reacted to but the unnecessary and continued body contact. I thought the kick to the chest was very un-Swedish and was one of my favorite women's world cup highlights.

As for being a bad influence on children. Well I can live with that. However I am sure that Swedish social system will be able to detect and heal any psychologically affected children who had the misfortune to watch the match.
20:37 July 17, 2011 by GLO
Who cares, nice girls sport,ready for the real Football season, I cant believe men watch, like womens basketball... pu.....
00:52 July 18, 2011 by DavidtheNorseman
The Swedish women's team was so much better than the US team that they should get the Silver instead of the US who don't deserve it. Kudo's to Japan who beat everybody. It is often the retaliation that gets called and often the retaliation is for a really nasty attack. Oqvist could be the new Captain of the Swedish Women's Australian Rules Football team :-)
05:10 July 18, 2011 by Alfred Nevada
Congratulations to the Swedish women!

I love you all!

12:35 July 18, 2011 by DavidtheNorseman
My apologies to Oqvist as after watching the youtube replay it was evident the French player knocked her down, then kicked her in the head then faked getting kicked herself....they really need video replay challenges in football these days the same as they have in American Football where it has worked very well at reversing evil calls and keeping the referees honest.
15:54 July 18, 2011 by Alfred Nevada
Yeah that French player really baited Josefine into that red card. The announcers even said she is practiced at doing just that -- baiting other players. To me, that's no way to play soccer (fotbol), that's too dirty.

02:36 July 19, 2011 by Gamla Hälsingebock
Sweden: Only country to have two coaches winning medals!

Sweden: Best team in Europe!

The announcers gave one of the most one sided and USA favored game/tournament descriptions I have ever heard; I can understand that from American Foudy but the Englishman Darke was a big disappointment; it seemed that the tournament was for the USA only. What "shills"!

If Sweden were lucky enough to play the USA again, the Gold would have been theirs!!!

I love Josephine "Ö", she makes me wish I was 40 years younger!

Sweden's little winning dance is the most scintillating, dynamic and highly emotional display of lagom of all time! X 3

Wait til 2015!
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