Following on from their loss to Italy in their last group game, the Swedish team were left frustrated with themselves. A win would have seen them top the group and face fellow Scandinavians, Denmark, in the quarter-finals. The loss means they’ll go toe-to-toe with hosts, Holland. VAVEL UK spoke to co-captain Caroline Seger and regular midfielder, Elin Rubensson, about the game.
A game of two halves
A strong showing from the Azzurre in the first-half had Sweden pinned back, a Lotta Schelin penalty all they had to show for a tough first 45 minutes. A change of personnel at the break brought about more stability and the team looked far more up for the challenge after the break.
“A game that had two sides, I’d say. [For us] the first-half wasn’t good enough but the second-half we were better and I think we deserved to get at least one point but Italy are good – number eleven is their best player – and they really wanted to win. I felt we were a little bit… not here but, overall we are in the quarter-final and we can not forget about that.”
When asked if the team was maybe a little too relaxed coming into the game – only a big win for Italy would see Sweden fail to make the knock-outs – Seger remained firm in her teams’ desire to wi. But clearly not quite up for the game, the co-captain is fully aware the team were well under par.
“I don’t doubt any of us – mentally that’s what we wanted but there’s always this small thing that can go into your brain and be like “oh, we’re going to win and there’s not a problem” and it’s not the same adrenaline and at the end of the day we were not at our best today.”
Facing a tasty match-up with the Netherlands, the hosts shining so far in front of their home fans, Seger expects a big response from the team next time out.
“We really wanted to win this group," she said. "And we had a really good chance of doing it but if you don’t play your best you’re not going to win. I expect more from myself and the team, Hopefully, against a good Holland team we can do that together.”
Göteborg captain similarly as downbeat
Out of position at right-back, Rubensson – who has played across the length of the pitch over her career – was given a tough task against Barbara Bonansea, the Italian magician one of the most exciting and creative players at the tournament. Out of practice and forced to switch back to defensive mode for the first time in a long time, Rubensson couldn’t hide her feelings at the result, looking defeated she lamented that it had been a “tough game.”
“Of course, it’s tough to lose, I think the second-half was better than the first but they were good, their number eleven is really good, really fast but it’s a tough loss.”
On playing back in defence Rubensson admitted that it’s not where she’d rather be playing but the feeling of doing all she could to help her team, to help Sweden in the tournament was more than enough motivation to give all she could to the role.
“It can be hard to play in so many different positions. I usually like higher up, the last game I played as a full-back was in the Olympic final last year so it’s been a while. It’s not really my position but I play there for the team.”