Sweden Beat Germany to Advance to 2019 Women's World Cup Semi-Finals

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2019

Sweden's Stina Blackstenius, middle, celebrates with teammates after scoring her side's second goal during the of the Women's World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Germany and Sweden at Roazhon Park in Rennes, France, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
David Vincent/Associated Press

Sweden eliminated Germany to reach the last four of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup after a 2-1 win in Rennes, France, on Saturday.

Sofia Jakobsson and Stina Blackstenius scored in response to Lina Magull's opener for Germany to send the Swedes into a semi-final matchup against the Netherlands, who beat Italy 2-0 earlier in the day.

A fairly turgid opening 15 minutes was enlivened when Germany put a flowing move together. Typically, Sara Dabritz was at the heart of it, sliding in Magull, who took a touch before finishing smartly on the turn:

Match of the Day @BBCMOTD

#GER take the lead! Lina Magull with a lovely finish. 👌 📺 Watch LIVE on @BBCOne. 📱💻 Also online: https://t.co/IqEpWwieig #FIFAWWC #ChangeTheGame https://t.co/kpaYZF6zuz

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

WHAT A GOAL! 🔥🔥🔥 Lina Magull gives Germany the lead on the half volley, after a great assist from Sara Däbritz. 1-0 🇩🇪 #FIFAWWC https://t.co/bm3S36dmy1

Magull was finding plenty of pockets of space in between the midfield and forward lines. In particular, she was exploiting room created whenever Alexandra Popp dropped off the front.

Sweden's best answer to German's artful pass-and-move game proved Jakobsson's pace and tireless running, and she ran free to equalise on 22 minutes.

It was the first goal Germany have conceded at the tournament and one that should have been avoided:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

The immediate answer from Sweden! 🇸🇪 A long ball over the top finds Jakobsson, who slots it past Schult and ties the game. That's Germany's first goal allowed at this #FIFAWWC https://t.co/QKY4MWOubd

Sweden continued causing problems on the break, and Blackstenius was wasteful after Jakobsson's pass split the German defence to put her through.

Sweden's willingness to play long balls over the top was catching German defenders on their heels, and they were lucky to go in level at the break.

With Germany persisting with a high defensive line after half-time, it took just three minutes for Blackstenius to cap a slick move with an instinctive finish from close range:

Match of the Day @BBCMOTD

#SWE lead #GER! Stina Blackstenius pokes it home to put them 2-1 up. 📺 Watch LIVE on @BBCOne. 📱💻 Also online: https://t.co/IqEpWwieig #FIFAWWC #ChangeTheGame https://t.co/M8dDSZsxv1

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

SWEDEN LEAD!!! Blackstenius scores just 2 minutes into the 2nd half! #FIFAWWC https://t.co/dd0DyWVt59

Germany needed inspiration and brought chief creator Dzsenifer Marozsan off the bench to provide it. Having missed all but one game at the tournament because of a broken toe, Marozsan understandably struggled to adapt to the pace of the game.

At the other end, Blackstenius went clear again but delayed her shot too long after rounding goalkeeper Almuth Schult, allowing defenders to swarm in to block. Soon after, Jakobsson broke from the flank and drew yet another save from Germany's busiest player.

Germany should have been level deep into injury time, but Marina Hegering headed over with Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl beaten, and it proved to be the last meaningful threat from the Germans.


What's Next?

Sweden face the Netherlands in the second semi-final on Wednesday, with the winner to play either England or the United States in the final in Lyon on July 7.