Sweden vs. Colombia
The FIFA Women’s World Cup continues with action from Group C, this match sees tournament debutants Colombia face off against Scandinavian giants Sweden at the BayArena in Leverkusen, Germany.
Colombia’s performances at women’s youth level has finally paid off, as the core group of this squad comes from the U17 side won the 2008 South American Women’s Championships, qualified for the 2008 U17 World Cup and took 4 th place in the 2010 U20 Women’s World Cup that also took place in Germany. This team qualified by beating the likes of Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela in the 2010 South American Women’s Championships, eventually ending up as runners up behind Brazil and knocking out Argentina in the process. The main reason for all this success comes down to Coach Ricardo Rozo, the Colombian Soccer Association picked the right man for the job having nurtured and fostered all the young raw talent the women’s game has to offer and piggybacked off the success of the men’s side. The key players for Las Cafeteras are Yoreli Rincon, Andrea Peralta, and Carmen Rodallega; Peralta is a defender with an ability to score goals while Carmen Rodallega will act as the “elder statesmen” of the squad at only age 27, this just outlines they youth that Colombia boast. However the star of this team is Rincon, even though she is only 17 years old she has plenty of tournament experience and is the main source of both goals and positive play.
As for Sweden, they are FIFA Women’s World Cup veterans having qualified for every tournament since its inception back in 1991; their best tournament finish was in 2003 when they finished as runners up to Germany. This team is always a danger and has one of the most consistent programs in the women’s side of the game, with the rise of the Swedish league many of these players are very familiar with each other and have developed a very effective style. Coach Thomas Dennerby will have the responsibility of finally getting this team over the hump and win the World Cup; he is very familiar with the Swedish philosophy playing for the countries at U21, U-19 and U-17 national teams and is looking to now add something to his coaching resume. The key player for Sweden is Lotta Schelin; she is a prolific goal scorer at club level but hasn’t made the same transition at national team level. Other players to keep an eye on are Therese Sjögran and Sara Larsson; these are the two most experienced players on the squad and will be relied upon for their leadership and organization.
This is a tough first match for Colombia, however this is probably the best time to take on an experienced side like Sweden. The Swedes should win this match convincingly, but all the pressure will be on them with this being the South Americans debut.