In what was the perfect example of a game of two halves, Sweden beat Canada 1-0 while Hedvig Lindahl saved a penalty to send their opponents home. They will play Germany in the round of 16 later in the week.
The first half was probably the worst half of football in the whole tournament. Neither team had any chances at all and BBC struggled so much to find highlights at half time they were reduced to using shots of Mexican waves in the crowd.
Things couldn’t have been any more different in the second period as there were as less than ten minutes into the half, we got the goal that the game so desperately craved. It came when Stina Blackstenius was played through on goal by a wonderful Kosovare Asllani pass, she ran onto the ball and squeezed a first time effort past Stephanie Labbe in the Canadian net.
In the 67th minute, Desiree Scott hammered a shot towards goal from the edge of the area and it smashed the arm of Asllani. The referee went to VAR and after a couple of minutes, pointed to the spot. Janine Beckie stepped up to take it and in all fairness, it was a decent effort – Hedvig Lindahl was equal to it and she got down so well to tip it round the post.
Not too long later, Sweden had their own penalty shout when Ashley Lawrence took out Blackstenius inside the area. It was a nailed on penalty but the referee went to VAR to confirm the decision, took multiple looks at it and decided not to award it. Replays showed that there was a player offside in the build up – definitely the correct decision.
Canada had a late flurry that saw delivery after delivery come into the box. Sweden has no issue dealing with the crosses and even managed to survive a post final whistle VAR check for a penalty. Peter Gerhardsson’s side win and will face Germany in the quarters on Saturday afternoon.