Sweden vs. France
The FIFA Women’s World Cup is coming to end with the final already set, however this match is the third place game between Sweden and France at Rhein-Neckar-Arena in Sinsheim, Germany.
Sweden comes into this match off a 3-1 loss to Japan in the Quarterfinals, they managed to get the opening goal within the first ten minutes but were subsequently outplayed by the passing, movement and compact nature of the Asian outfit. The Swedes will face something similar in this match against France and will need to figure it out, taking advantage of set pieces, using their overwhelming size and making the match physical will be key for them. Coach Thomas Dennerby will need wingbacks Sara Thunebro and Sara Larsson to be on top of their game, as both will have the responsibility of marking wide players Gaëtane Thiney and Camille Abily as well as not leaving any gaps for chief playmaker Louisa Necib to exploit. If Sweden are to come away with the third place medal they will need to rely on forward Josefine Öqvist and midfielder Lisa Dahlkvist to score goals, as usual goal scoring threats Lotta Schelin and Jessica Landström have been largely ineffective over the course of the competition.
As for France, although they ultimately lost by the same 3-1 score line to USA they played them quite well for the majority of the match. Les Bleues were stringing passes together and creating good chances but completely fell apart in the last fifteen minutes to a team that kicked it into gear and showed a killer instinct. Coach Bruno Bini has to be proud of how far this French side has gone and will not want to come away empty handed, however in Sweden they play a team that can turn it on at any moment and have an edge about them that is dictated by their captain Caroline Seger. I expect impact substitutes Élodie Thomis and Eugénie Le Sommer to be major factors in this match, possibly with one of them getting a place in the starting XI. Regular starting forward Marie-Laure Delie had a good tournament early on but has faded a bit since and either one of these two could freshen up the attack.
I’ll take France in this one; something about this Swedish team makes me hesitant. Whether it be their inconsistency or something else entirely I think we know what we are getting with France and they will have motivation after making it the farthest they have ever gone to come away with a medal.