World Cup 2019 qualification – Group 4: Denmark score ten in two to close gap on Sweden

All the action from June’s qualifiers in Group 4.

Sweden 4-0 Croatia

Needing little encouragement in front of goal, the hosts took the lead sixteen minutes into the tie in Gothenburg, Stina Blackstenius’ standing header enough to finish a dominant move in a largely stilted first half. Resetting well after the break, the Swedes turned on the style, Elin Rubensson in the right place to carry the ball over the line for her first international goal. Blackstenius’ second of the match coming four minutes later to further the lead, the rangy attacker lurking in the box to guide Sofia Jakobsson’s deflected pass home. The visitors unable to deal with the pressure at Gamla Ullevi, they found themselves hit for a fourth in the dying moments, Hanna Folkesson the one to power Hanna Glas’ cross home for her first international goal.

Ukraine 1-5 Denmark

A bullet header from Nadia Nadim to turn Pernille Harder’s sixth minute free kick was enough to set the visitors on their way at the Arena Lviv. A solo-goal from Harder enough to leave the Danes two goals to the good at the break, her shot from 25-yards slipping inside of Kateryna Samson’s far post. Felled in the box less than ten minutes into the second half, Nadim added Denmark’s third, slotting the ball home from 12-yards with Samson sent the wrong way. The attacker unable to claim a hat trick after Harder was brought down in the box, her second penalty saved by Samson, an act of redemption for the ‘keeper who’d committed the initial foul.

Though it mattered not much as Sanne Troelsgaard found a fourth for the visitors late in the day, the match with plenty of late goals. Having seen a handful of chances throughout, the hosts finally found a moment of quality to grab a conciliation, Olha Ovdiychuk’s point-blank header in stoppage time enough to reduce the deficit. The scores advantage re-extended by Troelsgaard seconds later, her shot from the right side of the box bouncing off of Samson’s boot and in.

Ukraine 1-0 Sweden

From conceding five and scoring four respectively it was quite a different story when Sweden and the Ukraine clashed in Lviv, the visitors short on inspiration, finishing wayward as the hosts found themselves encouraged to attack. The decisive moment on the rain-slicked pitch coming just before the break when captain Daryna Apanaschenko charged forward, picking up Veronika Andrukhiv’s lay off before jogging into the pitch, slipping around the defence and wrapping the ball inside of the far post.

Still sluggish in attack over the second half, there was little Sweden were throwing at the hosts that was sticking, time fast running out, their first World Cup qualification defeat in 16 years enough to give Denmark a slim chance of finishing ahead of them in the group.

Denmark 5-1 Hungary

Having already hit a team for five this month, Denmark made it back-to-back 5-1 wins as they saw off Hungary in Viborg. A goal down half-way through the first half, Stina Lykke beaten by a deft Zsanett Jakabfi chip, the hosts found their feet to ease away from their opposition. A Nadim three-minute brace enough to see the hosts go in at the break a goal up, her toe poke at a scrappy corner the catalyst, a low finish moments later enough to see Réka Szőcs beaten again.

Up against a rampant Danish side, Szőcs remained one of the better players on the pitch for Hungary, the experienced ‘keeper left exposed minutes into the second half, Simone Boye free to slip a deflected corner into the far corner. The lead extended ten minutes later when Theresa Nielsen’s cross in made its way back out to her, the defender extending a boot to stroke the ball into the far side of the net. The scoring wrapped up deep in stoppage time by Harder, the attacker first to the ball after Szőcs’ had parried Karoline Smidt’s angled effort.

Group 4 as it stands (Credit: UEFA)
Group 4 as it stands (Credit: UEFA)