Sweden ended their 24-year wait for a win against the two-time champions Germany in the sizzling French heat at the weekend, securing a semi-final spot, and Chelsea Women’s defender Magdalena Eriksson spoke about the achievement.
Sweden had not beaten Germany at a major women's tournament since the 1995 World Cup, failing to win any of their subsequent meetings at World Cups, European Championships and the Olympics in almost quarter of a century.
That included defeats in the 2003 World Cup final and the 2016 Olympics gold medal match. However, Sweden finally exorcised their German demons when they came from behind to book a semi-final ticket.
‘I don’t think I can believe it, what an achievement,’ Eriksson told the official Chelsea website. ‘We’ve made it to the Olympics, we’ve made it to the semi-final, and we’ve killed the German ghost, as we call it in Sweden.
‘I think I need some time to really understand what we have done, but I’m so happy and so proud.’
Sweden were the underdogs going into the clash against the second-ranked team in the world, but the Scandinavians proved a lot of the women’s football world wrong when they eliminated the Germans from the tournament.
‘We always believe in ourselves, we knew we were underdogs, but we still knew that we could hurt them in exactly the ways that we did.
‘We put balls in behind, went forward on the counter-attack and had a very compact defence, so I think we did everything we should have done except for the early goal,’ she added.
The quarter-final win means that the Swedes have guaranteed their place as one of three European teams at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and after falling short to Germany in Rio 2016, Eriksson revealed how much the win means to her.
‘It makes it even more surreal; we are actually going to Tokyo next summer and play another Olympics.
‘I don’t think Sweden has ever missed out on any Olympics since they started with women’s football, so it’s such an achievement for us, it’s so nice to prove that we are still among the best in the world and I’m so proud of the team.’
Two more games, two more hurdles until Sweden potentially lift the golden trophy in Lyon, but first they must overcome current European champions the Netherlands on Wednesday in Lyon.
‘It’s crazy, it’s insane, I’m so happy that we made it and I’m so proud of the team, and I just want to win the semis and reach the final.
‘It’s going to be a really tough game of course, they have one of the most dangerous strikers in the world at the moment and two really good wingers that we need to take control over, but it’s a team we have a good chance of winning against if we treat the game like we did against Germany.’