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EURO 2013

EURO 2013

Swedes miss penalties in Denmark draw

Sweden were held to a 1-1 draw by neighbouring Denmark in their opening match of the Euro 2013 women's football tournament on Wednesday, missing two penalties in an eventful second half.

Swedes miss penalties in Denmark draw

“Among other things, someone else is going to take the penalties next time,” coach Pia Sundhage said to broadcaster TV4 after the match.

Sweden began the match strongly pushing Denmark back into defence and creating a couple of chances, but it was Denmark who took the lead through Mariann Gajhede Pedersen in the 26th minute.

Denmark were playing the better football with Sweden unable to find their game, but the equalizer came via Nilla Fischer from a free kick in the 35th minute.

Sweden’s confidence returned and they looked the more dangerous in the final third, creating a couple of chances and at times havoc in the Danish defence.

The second half began in an evenly balanced contest with Denmark keeping the ball well and Sweden looking to hit their neighbours on the break with swift counter attacks.

Kosovar Asllani managed to force the first penalty in the 67th minute after she was pulled down on the edge of the box.

Captain and Lyon star Lotta Schelin stepped up to take responsibility but hit a soft effort too close to goalkeeper Lykke Petersen who was able to box the ball away.

Sweden were given a chance to make amends in the 84th minute following a handball and this time Asllani took charge of the ball.

The striker placed the ball in the top right corner but didn’t get enough on it to test Peterson who easily saved.

“I thought to myself, how hard can it be,” Asllani said after the match.

Sundhage was however harder in her judgement of the two missed penalties.

“Marie Hammerström will take the penalties next time,” she said.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson

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FOOTBALL

Sundhage: The times they are a changin’ for Sweden

Sweden coach Pia Sundhage is hoping for a change of luck against old foes Germany to win her third consecutive women's football gold medal in Friday's final.

Sundhage: The times they are a changin' for Sweden
Sweden football coach Pia Sundhage meets the press in Rio. Photo: Tobias Röstlund/TT
Two-time world champions Germany have an impressive record against Sweden, winning all three previous Olympic meetings between the sides in 2000, 2004 and 2008, as well as a 4-1 thrashing at last year's World Cup.
 
“They have been winning against us too many times. They have to lose some time, hopefully it is tomorrow,” said a cheerful Sundhage, who ended her press conference Thursday by singing a line from Bob Dylan classic “The Times They Are A Changin'.”
 
Sundhage led the USA to gold in 2008 and 2012, but insists a third title with her native Sweden will mean more given the limited expectations of a side that only reached the quarter-finals by finishing as one of the two best third-placed sides in the group stages.
 
“It is one thing for the US to play under such pressure. There were so many people expecting US to win the gold.”
 
“When we started this road for Olympic qualification in March not many people expected us to be here.”
 
“Tomorrow will be the very best experience I have had with an Olympic gold medal.”
 
Germany coach Silvia Neid will take charge of the national team for the final time after 11 years at the Maracana.
 
“What can be nicer than have your last game playing for the gold medal and playing in this fantastic stadium,” said Neid, who will resume a three-decade long rivalry with Sundhage dating back to their playing careers.
 
However, she refused to try and out-sing her Swedish counterpart.
 
“I can't sing. I can dance, but I need Pia to do the music.”