Sweden left it late, but finally got their first win of Euro 2022 as substitute Hanna Bennison netted her first international goal in a 2-1 win over Switzerland. The Scandinavian side, who won the tournament in 1984, dominated throughout and were finally rewarded for their efforts when the 19-year old fired home from 20-yards deep into the second half.
Switzerland thought they had a chance to open the scoring on 11-minutes when Noelle Maritz was tripped in the box by Magdalena Eriksson. The referee pointed to the spot immediately, but soon reversed her decision after being advised to take another look at it by VAR, with replays showing the defender clearly took the ball first.
That was pretty much it for a tight first half, but the game burst into life after the break when Fridolina Rolfo fired Sweden into a 53rd minute lead after bursting onto Kosovare Asllani’s pass and stroking into the back of the net. The advantage lasted for merely 90 seconds though as Ramona Bachmann scored a stunning equaliser, curling into the far top corner from just inside the box.
Despite that strike, the Blue and Yellows continued to have the upperhand and only some last ditch defending prevented them from going ahead for a second time, with Stina Blackstenius in particular left frustrated when a brave block saw her shot diverted away from goal. At the other end, Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic saw a tame shot tipped around the post as Switzerland made a rare burst forward.
Sweden continued to push forwards and they finally got the goal they deserved on 79-minutes when Bennison, who plies her trade for Everton, was picked out on the edge of the area and duly slammed an inch perfect shot into the far corner.
TALKING POINT – SWEDEN STILL TO HIT THEIR STRIDE
Sweden, who have never failed to reach the knock-out stages when qualifying for the European Championships, were among the pre-tournament favourites, but it’s fair to say that we are yet to see the very best of them.
Peter Gerhardsson’s side were not clinical enough in their opening group game against the Netherlands, and there was a lack of potency in this win too, with Stina Blackstenius in particular guilty of wasting a glorious opening after the break when she raced through on goal, only for a heavy touch to see the chance go begging.
The manager will be desperate for his forwards to be tighter up front, while the final ball was often lacking too as Kosovare Asllami, among others, had a plethora of crosses and set-pieces in promising positions that failed to find their intended target.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Fridolina Rolfo (Sweden). Sweden had several attacking threats on the pitch, but none were more potent than Rolfo, who got the ball rolling for Peter Gerhardsson’s side when she coolly netted the opener, calmly slotting past the ‘keeper from inside the area.
Peter Gerhardsson’s side were constantly on the front foot, but they were left frustrated by a poor final ball, wasting numerous chances to get the ball into the box or poke past a belligerent Swiss defence.
And so it was left to Barcelona star Rolfo, who was a menace throughout as she cut in from the left hand flank and caused numerous problems with her passing, to make the difference with the kind of chance that her teammates had squandered earlier on as she put Sweden ahead.
SWEDEN WOMEN: Lindahl 6; Ilestedt 6, Bjorn 6, Eriksson 6, Glas 5; Angeldal 6, Seger 7, Asllani 8; Blackstenius 7, Hurtig 6, Rolfo 8. Subs: Kaneryd 6, Bennison 7, Blomqvist n/a
SWITZERLAND WOMEN: Thalmann 6; Maritz 7, Calligaris 7, Buhler 6, Aigbogun 6; Crnogorcevic 6, Walti 6, Maendly 6, Reuteler 6; Sow 6, Bachmann 7. Subs: Riesen 6, Rinast 6, Mauron 6, Humm 6
11’ NO PENALTY! Switzerland win a penalty after Maritz is tripped by Eriksson, but VAR tells the referee to take another look at it, and she changes her mind after seeing the defender clearly won the ball. Big let off for Sweden
52’ BIG CHANCE FOR SWEDEN! A brilliant ball over the top picks out Blackstenius and she’s through on goal, only for her touch to let her down, allowing defenders to get back. A tame shot is eventually blocked. That was a huge opening
53’ GOAL! SWEDEN 1-0 SWITZERLAND (Rolfo). You can’t say they don’t deserve it! Sweden finally have the breakthrough as Rolfo is perfectly picked out by Asllani, and the striker calmly strokes it into the back of the net
55’ GOAL! SWEDEN 1-1 SWITZERLAND (Bachmann). What a way to hit back! Sweden are ahead for just two minutes as the ball falls to Bachmann in the box and she stunningly curls into the far top corner!
79’ GOAL! SWEDEN 2-1 SWITZERLAND! (Bennison) WHAT. A. GOAL! Substitute Hanna Bennison nets her first international goal as she superbly finds the far corner with a brilliant right footed strike from 20-yards! Can they hold on this time?
88’ GOAL RULED OUT! Rebecka Blomqvist thinks she’s doubled Sweden’s lead, but the substitute was narrowly offside, with VAR disallowing the goal