7 July 2019 – Sweden beat England in Match for Third Place in Nice.

Action-packed match illuminated by excellent Jakobsson and Kirby goals.

Reaction and more: #ENGSWE Live Blog

Sweden have finished third at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ after beating England 2-1 in Nice.

All three goals came in an open, incident-packed and error-strewn first half, with early efforts from Kosovare Asllani and Sofia Jakobsson putting the Swedes in control before Fran Kirby struck back. The quality of the Jakobsson and Kirby goals in particular thrilled the sun-drenched supporters in the Stade de Nice, with less to cheer in a subdued second period.

England dominated the closing stages but were unable to break through, with Nilla Fischer securing victory – and bronze medals – for the Swedes with a dramatic goal-line clearance as the clock ticked down.

England 1-2 Sweden

Team Reporter analysis

Laure James (England)

England finish their World Cup adventure with back-to-back defeats, and that will sting for some time. But the Lionesses could not be accused of a lack of effort, having ploughed deep into Sweden’s half in the second half and pressed until the very end. It just wasn’t to be their day, and Nilla Fischer’s amazing goal-line clearance from Lucy Bronze’s thunderbolt seemed to sum that up. Desperation eventually got the better of Phil Neville’s side, this after three earlier minutes of wonder saw England hit the net twice – until VAR intervened, ultimately killing off Ellen White’s dream of the Golden Boot. Karen Carney’s final appearance as a second-half substitute gave England added impetus, but they just couldn’t find a way through.

Alexandra Jonson (Sweden)

After going 2-0 up in the early stages, it looked like this might be a comfortable march to bronze for the Swedes. In the end, it was nothing but. England pulled themselves back into the match and with Fridolina Rolfo forced to leave the pitch injured and Kosovare Asllani replaced with a knock at half-time, Sweden lost momentum and control. The second half became a fight against the clock, and a battle to not concede again. Peter Gerhardsson used his third substitution to create a five-player defence in a bid to stop England piercing them with through balls, and it worked. On Wednesday, the Swedish players cried with sadness; tonight, the tears came again – but the emotions were happiness, relief and pride. They came here ranked ninth in the world and are going home with bronze medals.

Peter Gerhardsson, Sweden coach

“We fought incredibly hard in the second half. I got the impression that it was like an old boxing match. It was a strange game. Above all, the players’ way of tactically, mentally and physically tackling it was amazing. There were several leaders out on the pitch who contributed to players who were not as experienced.”

 Peter Gerhardsson on the match for third place

“It’s a huge difference between winning a bronze medal and ending up fourth. It’s more about the way we won this match. There were so many good performances, incredible moments. I thought it was very important to win this match.”

Sofia Jakobsson, Visa Player of the Match

“I’m so proud of everybody in this team. We’ve been living in the present ever since we arrived in France. I know what the team has in their hearts and their heads. In this game we wanted to come out as winners. We gave everything today. We fought for this win, and I think we deserved it. We are a family and we find energy in everything we do together.”

Phil Neville, England coach

“The disappointment was probably the semi-final, the emotion today was probably from Tuesday. There’s a feeling that we’re frustrated having not achieved our goals. 

“I don’t live my life looking back, I live it looking forward. I think we had some unbelievable moments in the competition. We’ve had 51 days away from home where the players and staff have produced top class performances. In ten days’ time I’ll look back on myself and what I could have done better. I’ve got to make sure that next time, when we come back in August, that we lift the bar even more and that my performances are better, because the players deserve better. I cannot ask any more of my players.”

Phil Neville on England’s performance

“I suppose the proudest moment was the enjoyment my players had, the courage and bravery they played with together. Everything I’ve wanted for 18 months – they’ve delivered everything I wanted. We’ve got another 15-20 percent to go. Theres many a champion that’s had to suffer before they get what they deserve. My players are suffering but I’m immensely proud. In two weeks time, we reset, debrief, and we get back on that horse again.”

Phil Neville on the future of the Lionesses

“I have great hope and ambition for the next three, four, five years for my set of players and those that are coming through the system. It’s an exciting time. Without the investment and support from the FA, we wouldn’t have got to where we are today. The support has to keep coming and we’ll keep seeing the benefits.”

Ellen White, England forward

“I think those two goals really did cost us, but we showed our resilience and a lot of character after those goals and in the second half. We had some chances and we gave everything in that game – there’s not one person who didn’t give everything.”

(source: FIFA.com)

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