Sweden beat Australia to win World Cup third-place play-off for fourth time
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Sweden struck in either half to retain their World Cup best of the rest status with victory over co-hosts Australia in the third-place play-off.
A Fridolina Rolfo penalty and fine Kosovare Asllani strike secured a 2-0 win for Sweden, who never looked in danger of losing to the home favourites in Brisbane.
Peter Gerhardsson’s side responded magnificently to their last-minute semi-final exit at the hands of Spain, outclassing Australia to win the third-place play-off for the fourth time in their history.
Sweden started quickly and set out their stall early on as Arsenal forward Stina Blackstenius got in on goal within the opening two minutes, her low shot turned away by Mackenzie Arnold.
Just as the hosts looked to be getting a foothold in the game, Sweden would take the lead as a penalty was awarded following a lengthy VAR review of Clare Hunt’s trip of Blackstenius’ trailing leg.
Rolfo, who scored the winner when the two nations met in the 2020 Olympics semi-finals, made no mistake from the spot with Arnold beaten despite diving the right way.
Sweden came close to doubling their lead in first-half stoppage time but a fine low save from Arnold kept out a Filippa Angeldahl strike that flashed through a crowded penalty area.
Having beaten England to finish third four years ago in France, Sweden all-but secured another bronze medal as they widened the margin just after the hour.
A pacey counter-attack saw Blackstenius shake off the attentions of the Australia defence before squaring for Asllani to hit one of the goals of the tournament, beating Arnold with a strike from the edge of the box.
Any hopes that Australia could launch an unlikely comeback suffered a blow when captain Sam Kerr hobbled off for treatment on her foot.
The Chelsea striker suffered a calf injury on the eve of the finals, dampening her impact as she was not fit enough to start a game until the semi-final loss to England.
She returned to the pitch but, by that stage, Sweden were in control of the tie and left the home fans cheering a valiant effort from Australia, who had to settle for fourth place.
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