A successful afternoon for Magdalena Eriksson’s Sweden as they came from behind to beat the two-time champions, Germany, in the sweltering heat to confirm the last semi-final spot.
Sweden's 24-year run of misery against the world ranked no.2 side ended today when they carried out an outstanding performance to win 2-1 in front of 25,301 lively spectators in Rennes' Roazhon Park.
An early goal from the Germans did not rattle Sweden, and they levelled the scoring minutes later from a Sofia Jakobsson volley. Their lead was extended soon into the second half when Stina Blackstenius found the net.
The two European sides are extremely familiar with each other, having locked horns on several occasions. They have come up against each other four times in World Cup finals and before this fixture shared two wins apiece. Before this evening's triumph, Sweden's last win dated back to 1995 when they won 3-2 in the group stages of the same tournament.
The Scandinavians came second in Group F behind holders the USA after they won two and lost one. Sweden's first group match was against Chile, and they left it late to win 2-0, after they thumped Thailand 5-1, and then the USA defeated them 2-0. The Germans topped Group B and comfortably beat Nigeria in the Round of 16.
Peter Gerhardsson kept the same 4-3-3 line-up that he started with against Canada which meant Magdalena Eriksson remained stationed at left-back, former Blue, Hedvig Lindahl, as the no.1 and Jonna Andersson on the substitutes bench.
The first goal of the clash came from Germany on 16 minutes when Bayern Munich's Sara Daebritz intercepted Eriksson's pass before finding her club team-mate Lina Magull, who controlled the ball nicely to powerfully volley past Lindahl.
However, Germany did not take care of their lead as ex-Chelsea player, Jakobsson, equalised at Roazhon Park six minutes later. The striker exploited a pocket of space between the oppositions' centre-back pairing and slotted her tidy finish past Almuth Schult in goal, to make her the first player to score against Germany in France.
Sweden came firing out of the blocks for the second half, and they extended their lead almost immediately. Jakobsson nipped past her marker down the right flank and whipped a ball into a busy box which eventually found its way to Linkopings' Stina Blackstenius. The forward slammed her shot into the roof of the net from six yards out.
Germany persisted in trying to find a route back into the game, but the Scandinavians held their defensive shape brilliantly while still being a threat on the break. Firstly Blackstenius went close with 20 minutes left on the clock when she struck on target and then Jakobsson, today's player of the match, flashed a shot which looked like it was sailing into the top corner before Schult made a superb diving save to keep it out.
Tensions were high when Germany had claims for a late penalty turned down by referee Stephanie Frappart. While trying to clear a ball, Lindahl clattered into Alexandra Popp, but the referee denied the spot-kick call after a VAR review which was a major let off for the Swedes.
The Scandinavians are the first team in this tournament to come from behind and win and are now set to play current European champions, the Netherlands in Lyon on Wednesday 3 July.
Millie Bright, Fran Kirby, Karen Carney and Carly Telford's England face the USA in the other semi-final after an emphatic 3-0 victory against Norway on Thursday – they will battle it out for a place in the final on Tuesday 2 July, in Lyon also.
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