8 July 2019 – Sweden capped their Women’s World Cup run with a bronze medal
France 2019 further boosted the popularity of the game at home
“We have grown with the Swedish people”
As the final whistle sounded in Nice, the joy of the Swedish players was unmistakable.
“There were a lot of tears, I can tell you that,” captain Caroline Seger told FIFA.com.
For Sweden, defeating England 2-1 to win bronze at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ was no small feat. They came into this tournament ranked ninth in the world and now leave it with a podium finish.
“We have achieved so much,” said midfielder Kosovare Asllani. “No one thought we would take one of three Olympic spots nor that we would win bronze. We should be proud.”
Historically Sweden have been a powerhouse in women’s football – this is their fourth top-three finish at the World Cup – but as the sport has grown other countries have caught up.
“It’s no secret that there are countries that invest a lot more than us,” goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl said. “We need to work even harder to be able to play on this level.”
It’s the third World Cup medal and second bronze for Lindahl, and she says she values this one highly.
“It’s the same result as 2011,” she said. “But personally I feel like I played better this time. I also believe that eight years ago Sweden were probably more advanced competitively than other countries, and now many have moved ahead of us. In that way this bronze is a bigger achievement. It makes me very proud.”
“It’s difficult to put words to it,” defender Nilla Fischer says. “Our competitiveness today has been consistent throughout the competition. It is something we should be proud of.”
But the Swedish players all argue that it’s about more than just getting a bronze medal around their neck; it’s about what it has created and will create for women’s football back home.
“I believe this will create a ripple effect,” Seger said. “That we continue to be up there winning medals is a huge step. Now you can watch women’s football on TV, you can follow it. We have grown with the Swedish people.”
“The longer the tournament went, the more you noticed the effect it had,” said Linda Sembrant. “How much has happened back home; how many have been following, taken notice and started to get interested. It’s fantastic to be part of creating that impact on Sweden and for young girls. It’s truly something special.”
For Lindahl, Seger, Sembrant and Fischer, it’s possible this was their last World Cup match. They all started the game under different circumstances than the ones they are now leaving the new generation. They have helped lead the way.