The final round of group games are upon us and group D will see Australia face Sweden, with the latter still looking for their first win in the Women’s World Cup 2015.
Form heading into the final 'Group of Death' game
Sweden were involved in a thriller in the opening game of the group, throwing away a two goal lead against Nigeria, before taking the lead again through Linda Sembrant, but were dealt a huge blow when Francisca Ordega equalised in the 87th minute.
The Blueyellow’s drew against the tournament favourites, USA in their second group game, whilst their opponents on Wednesday lost 3-1, before beating Nigeria two goals to nil, with both strikes coming from Kyah Simon.
Who to watch
All-time leading Sweden goalscorer, Lotta Schelin is often referred to as the female Zlatan Ibrahimovic. With 80 goals to her name at international level, Schelin, 31, plays her club football for Lyon, and has been regarded as one of the best players in the world, by Australia coach, Alen Stajcic.
Sweden midfielder, Therese Sjögran, is one of the oldest footballer’s at this year's competition. With over 200 caps for the national side, Sjögran, 38, is deadly from set pieces, whilst being known to having an assist or two, having been instrumental in helping her side take the lead against Nigeria.
With two goals in the first group game against Nigeria, Simon is a player that is likely to cause the Swedish defence problems with the 23-year old’s pace. With 53 caps to her name, the Aussie striker has just 13 international goals to her name.
Elise Kellond-Knight will be a key ingredient should Australia keep Sweden’s technically gifted midfielders quiet. The 24-year old midfielder has been at Brisbane Roar since 2008, whilst making her international debut in 2007, earning 55 caps.
Sweden boss under pressure to perform
Matildas coach, Stajcic was optimistic about qualifying from the group of death, saying: “Anyone who gets out of this group, I’m certain will end up in the top two or four in this tournament,” as they go head-to-head against the side that knocked them out of the quarter finals of the 2011 Women’s World Cup.
Stajcic has praised her side after going through: “three massive games of which were all tough,” in comparison to Germany, who have; “only really played one tough game.”
Australian defender, Steph Catley has praised her fellow teammates, in particular after keeping a clean sheet in the previous game: “Our back four in particular held strong and played a good game,” whilst insisting her side: “were going in with a lot of confidence.”
Despite being Sweden’s leading goalscorer, their shot-shy striker, Schelin, has failed to net in this year’s competition, but insisted: “I see goals and victory,” before praising their draw against USA saying the result: “against the USA will give us confidence.”
Sweden coach Pia Sundhage is under immense pressure to advance to the knockout stages, having already been asked to step down, should they fail to progress.
The 55-year old coach admitted that her team need a performance however, she stated: “we will do our very best, that’s all we can do.”
Australia – Williams, Alleway, Catley, Kellond-Knight, Foord, Van Egmond, De Vanna, Kennedy, Simon, Gorry, Kerr.
Sweden – Lindahl, Fischer, Dahlkvist, Schelin, Jakobsson, Ilestedt, Sjögran, Nilsson, Seger, Samuelsson, Rubensson.