Sweden sealed its place in the Women’s Euro 2022 quarterfinals as group winner despite the Netherlands’ big win against Switzerland.
Although Sweden began the day behind the Netherlands in Group C’s standings, its emphatic 5-0 victory – a result which equaled its biggest ever victory at a Women’s Euro – against Portugal at Leigh Sports Village sent the side top.
While the Netherlands put in its own dominant performance at Bramall Lane, Sheffield, beating Switzerland 4-1, Sweden finished as group winner on goal difference.
It means the world No. 2 will play the runner up of Group D in the next stage, which will be one of Iceland, Belgium or Italy, while defending champion Netherlands will face France.
Kosovare Asllani, who played a key role in the victory with a goal and an assist, said her Swedish team is playing with a lot of confidence.
“I had fun today and I feel like the entire team enjoyed playing football. We are feeling great. We have a lot of respect for Portugal, they have developed a lot, but at the same time, we just wanted to go all in and be as aggressive as possible in the last third.”
Three goals in the first half were the nail in the coffin for Portugal and really got Sweden motoring.
Manchester City’s Filippa Angeldal capitalized on a poor bit of handling from Portugal goalkeeper Patrícia Morais from a corner to start the scoring midway through the first 45 minutes before doubling the lead with a neat finish from a well-worked set piece on the stroke of halftime.
But the scoring didn’t end there in the first half as deep into added time, Carole Costa headed into her own net from a corner.
Asllani scored from the penalty spot to extend the lead to four before Stina Blackstenius finally got her goal, having had two ruled out earlier.
With three of her team’s goals coming from set pieces, Angeldal praised Sweden’s organization.
“We know that we generally are very good on set pieces so my role there is simply to just go on the balls that dip down, then the second one was a variant we have looked at a lot, and today, the opportunity finally arose.”
At the same time, Netherlands was putting in its own impressive performance.
Despite the absence of star-striker Vivianne Miedema due to Covid-19, the Netherlands looked dangerous in attack.
But when the opening goal came, it was actually through a Swiss head. As she attempted to clear a Dutch corner, Ana-Maria Crnogorcević’s header could only find her own top corner.
Just four minutes later, Switzerland was level through a tidy finish from close range from Géraldine Reuteler.
With time winding down and a draw perhaps looking on the cards, Romée Leuchter’s looping header just made it over the line – her first international goal – before another substitute, Victoria Pelova, doubled the Netherlands’ lead.
There was still time for Leuchter to grab her second of the game, the Netherlands’ fourth, as the Swiss tired and succumbed to the world No. 4 as she tapped home from close range.
Netherlands coach Mark Parsons was full of praise for his side afterwards, looking ahead to the squad’s highly-anticipated quarterfinal against France.
“What a great evening for us!” Parsons said. “It was a very tough game; Switzerland were fighting for their lives, we were fighting to top the group.
“It makes it fun and entertaining, but we kept calm. We saw some nerves at 1-1, but the players who came on changed the game. They gave us a lot of quality and energy and that’s happened in every game so far. We’re very happy with who’s starting, and we’re very happy with who’s finishing.
“We’re playing a big opponent [France], and so are they. I don’t think they want to play us. [The last time we met], the result wasn’t what we wanted, but we said that the next time we played them, we were confident that we would be better. We saw opportunity.”