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EURO 2013

Swedish women cruise into Euro quarter-finals

A second-half goal explosion secured hosts Sweden a place in the quarter-finals as they beat Italy 3-1 on Tuesday to maintain their unbeaten record in the women's Euro 2013 tournament.

Swedish women cruise into Euro quarter-finals

Strikes from Lotta Schelin and Josefine Öqvist, and a Raffaella Manieri own goal, ensured Sweden finished top of group A with a tally of seven points after the match in Halmstad, western Sweden.

Over 7,000 spectators were in attendance to watch a lacklustre first-half.

Yet when the teams returned after the break, three goals were netted in quick succession before Italy’s Melania Gabbiadini scored a consolation in the 78th minute.

“It was so damn nice to get such a great start and after that we just kept on going,” goalscorer Schelin told TV4 after the game. “We didn’t have very many chances but we took the ones we got.”

Sweden coach Pia Sundhage was pleased with the win but quick to note her disappointment with the team’s first-half performance.

”The three points are welcome but the first 45 minutes were so-so and we became pretty stagnant,” she told TV4. ”The match as a whole was up and down and I think we can do better.”

Sweden’s quarter-final match will take place on Sunday as the team now prepares to face the third-place finishers in Group B or C.

The Local/cd

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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.”