Photo Credit: Katelyn Mulcahy – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
Sweden scored three first-half goals to set them on their way to victory over Italy in Wellington, confirming their place in the knockout stages at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™.
Italy actually started the brighter of the two, looking to build on their opening win over Argentina, but were powerless to stop the Swedes once they found their groove.
Amanda Ilestedt opened the scoring minutes before the half-time break, heading home from a corner for her second goal of the tournament. Another set piece led to the second, this time Fridolina Rolfo scoring from close range as Italy failed to clear their lines. A third was added in stoppage time of the opening period, as Stina Blackstenius found the net after yet another corner kick.
Despite initially stemming the tide in the second half, Italy conceded a fourth as a Swedish dead ball was again their undoing, Ilestedt heading in her second of the night to put the result beyond doubt. A fifth came in the dying seconds when substitute Rebecka Blomqvist ran through on goal and calmly finished past Francesca Durante.
Progression confirmed then for Sweden, whilst Italy can ensure they advance to the Round of 16 if they beat South Africa in their final group stage match.
Sweden: 5 (Amanda ILESTEDT 39′, 50′, Fridolina ROLFO 45, Stina BLACKSTENIUS 45+1′, Rebecka BLOMQVIST 90+6′)
France scored late to kick-start their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign with a crucial 2-1 victory over Brazil in Brisbane.
Wendie Renard’s 83rd minute winner was the difference between two sides with aspirations of going deep into this tournament.
France, who had looked flat in their opening match against Jamaica, started brightly and got their due rewards thanks to Eugenie Le Sommer’s strike in the 17th minute. The forward flicking her header past goalkeeper Leticia and into the far post after the initial ball had been well won by Kadidiatou Diani.
Brazil found their leveller through Debinha. The forward being the beneficiary of a fortunate deflection before keeping her calm and slotting past French ‘keeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.
Renard however proved herself the match winner with a powerful back post header to give France all three points and put them in charge of Group F, with one match remaining next week.
France: 2 (Eugenie LE SOMMER 17′, Wendie RENARD 83′)
Brazil: 1 (DEBINHA 58′)