There is nothing too interesting about a match that takes place under the sun, nor is there anything remarkable about a match played late at night, but when you combine the two, you have a truly unique experience.
A spectacle fit for the Luzhniki
With all eyes set to be on Russia, Damallsvenskan dared fans to look towards Kiruna for a one of a kind match to be played at 10pm in in Sweden’s northernmost town, the game set to wrap-up at midnight under the bright summer sun. When you think of Lapland, snow and Santa are probably what spring to mind, but because of its’ location, Kiruna sees 24 hours of daylight for a month and a half from the end of May to mid-July. On a late flight from Stockholm you may even be treated to the spectacle of seeing the sun both set and rise within minutes as your plane journeys north of the Arctic Circle.
When the match was announced, there are few who could have predicted that it would be taking place between the top two in the league, Piteå the perpetual underdogs, Rosengård a dominant force without a league title in two seasons. Not just unbeaten but carrying a 100% record coming into the match – with a five-point lead over FCR – the Norrbotten side had nothing to lose. For Rosengård there was everything to be gained, and they came out firing whilst the world focused on Croatia besting Nigeria in Kaliningrad.
With the floodlights rather pointlessly turned on the match kicked off, the building of the ground casting a deep shadow over the pitch though the sun bathed the pitch in natural light, the temperature the only clue as to the time of the night.
On a day that had already seen it’s fair share of football including a Danish win, Sanne Troelsgaard emulated her countryman, Yussuf Poulsen in netting winner for the away side. Though most would have been settling into the second half of Croatia’s triumph, Lombia IP was packed to the rafters, fans treated to the Brown and Troelsgaard Show. With five to her name in the first seven matches of this season, Fiona Brown continued her superb form, her determination down the left wing more than Piteå knew how to handle. A player with untapped potential at Eskilstuna United, a winter move to Malmö has been imperative in seeing the 23-year-old unlock that potential. From a deflected equaliser in Rosengård’s first match of the season, the Sterling native has only gone from strength to strength, her consistency earning her a start in Shelley Kerr’s Scotland squad for their recent qualifiers. The diminutive attacker having turned into one of the best in Sweden since her move.
Though it’s not just about Brown but Troelsgaard who similarly upped her game, having played all her life in Denmark’s 3fLiga, her move ahead of the 2017 season saw Troelsgaard raise her game. Forced to think and move faster in the Swedish league, the [then] 28-year-old levelled up, using her natural strength to propel her game, benefiting not just Rosengård but Denmark too, especially over the Euros.
The match decided in the 64 minute when Brown chipped the ball from the left to the right for her teammate, a miss-kick from June Pedersen leaving the Dane with space to run into. Letting Casja Andersson go low, Troelsgaard took the ball around the ‘keeper before finishing into the open goal, an unlikely attacking partnership providing all the sizzle under the midnight sun.
Though the second half saw far more chances for Piteå, the hosts failed to convert, a late cameo from Madelen Janogy enough to dazzle, though it was the visitors who were left to bask in the midsummer glow. A win not just to cut PIF’s lead down but one for the history books, the match the first of its kind to ever be played in the top flight and one that those in attendance won’t soon forget.