Women’s World Cup: Chelsea debut but defeat for Swedes

Jonna Andersson was given her first World Cup appearance on Thursday evening in a Sweden side that were defeated 2-0 by the holders but had already secured their place in the last-16.

Victory for the Swedes over the United States would have handed them top spot in their group but a goal early in each half meant second place and a knockout-stage date with Canada in Paris on Monday.

Both sides made seven changes for tonight's game with Andersson given the left-back position having been an unused sub in Sweden’s first two group games which had yielded six points. It was Magda Eriksson’s turn to be on the bench but Hedvig Lindahl, who left Chelsea this summer, was in goal.

The USA made seven changes too with many of the players who had begun their huge opening win over Thailand returning having been rotated for the second game. Former Chelsea player Crystal Dunn was their right-back.

It took the reigning world champions only three minutes to take the lead when a corner was played in low and was poked in from close range by Portland Thorns’ midfielder Lindsey Horan.

The United States were the more dangerous side for much of the first half in Le Havre although Linkopings’ Kosovare Asllani had a shot saved, and former Chelsea striker Sofia Jakobsson fired just over.

The second goal came five minutes into the second half and not for the first time in this World Cup there was controversy over its awarding despite VAR being involved. A United States player was in an offside position when a cross came in and although she had an impact on a defensive clearance, when the second phase of play resulted in a goal it was allowed to stand.

It has been recorded as an Andersson own-goal although the shot from Tobin Heath may have been on target anyway had it not taken a deflection off the Chelsea player. Either way, whether it was an own-goal or not was not the main debating point about the strike that made it 2-0.

Sweden played some good football in the second half and as expected gave the States their toughest game yet in what is traditionally one of the big fixtures in women’s international football.

The last-16 fixtures are now known in full with Norway, England and Sweden having Chelsea representation. Norway play Australia on Saturday, England take on Cameroon on Sunday with Sweden’s game following the next day.