The Myresjöjus Arena hosted an interesting game which saw sixth ranked Sweden play underdogs Scotland. Both sides are in the preparation stage for the fast approaching UEFA Women’s European Championships, which starts on July 16th.
It was the home side that came away the happiest as Caroline Seger managed to help her nation squeeze the victory.
Dominant start from Sweden
The Swedes started off on the front foot having the majority of possession and creating early chances. The first opportunity of the match fell to Lotta Schelin within 40 seconds of the whistle; she cleverly dribbled past two players to get into a shooting position, but her shot failed to trouble Gemma Fay in the goal for Scotland.
Schelin's next chance came shortly after. A corner whipped in from youngster Fiona Brown met the unsuspecting foot of the prolific goal-score, but without proper contact. The resulting cross into the box ended up at Nilla Fischer's head yet the ball drifted just past the post.
As the minutes went by the class between the two sides became evident as Sweden continued to have chance after chance with everything but a goal. Anna Signuel's Scotland weren't out of it yet though - the odd counter-attack suited Manchester City's Jane Ross with her battling and strength.
Scotland frustrate Sweden
It appeared as though the hosts had broke the deadlock on the 26th minute mark after a goal-mouth scramble in the box fell to Seger's feet. Credit is due to Fay as well as the back line of Scotland as the incoming pressure was enough to cause a miss cue between Seger and Schelin.
Although Sweden continued to dominate proceedings into the first half, the Scots defended well. Eskilstuna's Vaila Barsley looked comfortable in defence despite it being one of only her few national caps, matching the physicality and speed of play of Sweden's front line, proving a point to manager Signuel before the start of the Euro's.
Late drama causes Scotland to break
The second half was much like the second, Scotland continued to defend well whilst Sweden struggled to break them down in the final third. Stina Blackstenius was granted the first chance of the second half with a header, but she would've been devastated to not see the ball in the back of the net.
A solid defensive display from the Scotland backline stopped the majority of Sweden's play for most of the second half. Most notably Barsley who swept up to clear the danger for the underdogs on multiple occasions.
It was another header that sealed off the tie for the hosts though which came late on in the 84th minute. A ball floated into the box allowed Seger to head the ball over the top of Fay who leaped to no satisfaction. The goal came as a big relief for the home side after a display with no end products
Sweden will be delighted they came away with the win as it will be an esteem-boosting result with the Euro's in mind. They know that they'll play harder opposition and will aim to be more clinical in the final third.
Despite the loss, Scotland shouldn't be too downhearted. Considering the absentees of Kim Little and Jennifer Beattie through injury, the performance was strong against a team packed with world class. It was a test for the visitors, but nonetheless they showed they can push the top teams in the world.