Sweden vs Australia odds and betting statistics
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Sweden vs Australia match preview
After both suffered semi-final heartbreak this week, these two teams must go again in the match nobody wants to be involved in.
This summer, co-hosts Australia have reached the World Cup semis for the very first time, courtesy of knockout stage wins over Denmark and France, the latter achieved following a 7-6 penalty shootout win.
20 spot-kicks were taken, making it the longest shootout in the history of World Cups, women’s, men’s or youth.
So, on Wednesday, the Matildas took on European champions England in Sydney and, while it was the Lionesses who struck first, Australia’s superstar got her moment shortly after the hour mark.
Sam Kerr, starting at this tournament for the first time due to injury, picked up the ball near the half-way line, dribbled to the edge of the England area before smashing the ball into the top corner.
For the next ten minutes or so, the Aussies were in the ascendancy, but it was not meant to be, with England scoring twice late on, crushing the hopes and dreams of the host nation.
So, can Tony Gustavsson motivate his team to go again, thereby capping off an historic tournament for antipodean women’s sport with bronze medals in Brisbane?
Sweden meantime are well-versed when it comes to third-place play-offs, having suffered yet more semi-final disappointment on Tuesday.
All of the action in this clash with Spain was reserved for the closing stages, with la Roja landing the first blow in the 81st minute.
But, with two minutes to go, Rebecka Blomqvist got the Blågult back on level terms, teed-up by fellow-substitute Lina Hurtig.
However, a mere 93 seconds later, Spain won it, playing a corner short before firing the ball over the helpless Zećira Mušović and in off the crossbar.
This 2-1 defeat at Eden Park is the fourth time Sweden have been beaten in the World Cup semi-finals, although they did go on to claim bronze after all of them, doing so in 1991, 2011 and 2019.
Peter Gerhardsson’s team continue to be the bridesmaids but never the bride, having also lost in the Olympic Finals of 2016 and 2021, before being ousted by England in last year’s European Championships semis.
At the Olympics two summers ago, these two teams actually met twice with Sweden winning both times, prevailing 4-2 in Saitama during the group stages, before a 1-0 semi-final victory in Yokohama.
This time, backed by a raucous home crowd, determined to celebrate their team’s achievement in getting this far, Australia come into this third-place play-off at Lang Park as favourites.
Sweden team news
Peter Gerhardsson is likely to heavily rotate here, rewarded less-spotted squad members with well-deserved minutes, as he did for their final group game against Argentina.
Jennifer Falk got the nod in goal that night in Hamilton, so is likely to be rotated in for Zećira Mušović again.
38 year old Caroline Seger is Sweden’s most-capped player of all-time, so could she win make 239th and final appearance for the national team?
Centre-back Amanda Ilestedt will be hoping to start as she aims to win the golden boot, having scored four times at this tournament, one fewer than Hinata Miyazawa.
Predicted XI (4-3-3): Falk; Lennartsson, Ilestedt, Eriksson, Sandberg; Bennison, Seger, Janogy; Jakobsson, Hurtig, Blomqvist.
Australia teams news
Sam Kerr’s fitness has been the dominant talking point throughout this entire tournament and, after playing the full 90 on Wednesday, she’s certainly not likely to start again.
Tony Gustavsson has had to name his strongest possible XI for all matches at this tournament, given that their third group game against Canada was win or bust, so seven players haven’t seen any minutes at all.
Veteran goalkeeper Lydia Williams is likely to be one of those featuring at this World Cup for the very first time, picking up her 103rd cap.
Elsewhere, 21 year old Courtney Nevin will be hoping to come in at full-back, while Emily van Egmond is set to return up front, having been sacrificed to get Kerr into the XI against England.
Alanna Kennedy sat out the semi-final due to illness, so Clare Polkinghorne will keep her place at centre-back.
Predicted XI (4-4-2): Williams; Nevin, Hunt, Polkinghorne, Catley; Yallop, Chidiac, Vine, Foord; van Egmond, Fowler.