Georgia 0-15 Sweden
By: Yash Thakur
Sweden, which sits at the top of its FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying group, faced bottom-ranked Georgia and the match went as expected. It was a bloodbath, so much so that Sweden had 11-0 before the break and the match ended 15-0.
Peter Gerhardsson lined up his side in a back three and went with a 3-4-1-2 formation – Rolfö started as # 10. Kosovar Asllani, who has just returned from injury, was kept on the bench.
The gates opened in the 4th minute, with Rolfö scoring after a brilliant left shot from the edge of the penalty area. This was followed by a hat trick in the first half by Angeldal, position from Blackstenius and Hurtig, and goals each for Sembrant, Illestedt and Andersson – all during the initial forty-five minutes.
Georgia did not manage Sweden’s flying skills from corners or crosses. Sweden dominated the ball with 81% of possession and Georgia barely managed to get into the second half. Sweden’s level of dominance was also reflected in the number of shots, which surpassed Georgia by 55 to zero. Sweden had as many as seven players who attacked the box office the most in the match.
Asllani replaced Rolfö at the beginning of the second half and redid the # 10 role behind Blomqvist and Hurtig. Kosse looked like his dynamic self, constantly changing over the front line and running into the box outside other forwards. She kept appearing in the halftones to glide through her wingbacks and provide support. Asllani was, after 76 minutes, almost able to extend the visitors’ lead with a well placed diving header after the ball had looped into the center, but home side’s keeper Eduardo Alonso made the save. Five minutes later, she scored her second goal live.
Manchester CityFilippa Angeldal’s was absolutely phenomenal all night. She had a hat trick on both goal and assist and could have had more. She was on set play and her deliveries were brilliant (the same goes for her long-range shooting).
Results like these do not overwhelm women’s football in honor; instead, they open up a general discourse on the differences in investment and overall development in different countries.
Spain 1-1 Brazil
By: About Arvind
Jorge Vilda may have surprised some by choosing a fairly rotated eleven. While holding stands such as Mapi León, Aitana and Alexia in the lineup, he went with Ivana over Irene Paredes, Athletics Lucía García, midfielder Laia Alexandri in the defensive midfield and the rising star Claudia Pina.
Spain dominated the initial fifteen minutes or so and worked their way through a passive center block to threaten the box before counter-pressing so they could repeat the action. Laia looked good in those early minutes, as she got space to work on, drifted to Ivana’s side and helped lead the game through the right half surface.
It helped that Brazil was demoralized by an early, rejected free kick from Alexia Putellas.
Despite this, Brazil began to return to the trial, with the help of some sloppy giveaways from Spain. In addition, Brazil began to engage in more high-pressure sequences, and Kerolin and Geyse Ferreira got started in the transition and bothered Spain’s backline seriously to end the half.
Ivana, in particular, did not perform at her best and was beaten too lightly on the equalizer. Mapi will also be unhappy with how she defended herself. On the other hand, Geyse will pat herself on the shoulder for her cunning turn on the control and use her body to protect the ball.
Both center-backs also made a lot of mistakes in ball possession, although Mapi countered that with moments of real genius to break lines and develop the game. Ivana looked uncharacteristically out of sorts in that regard and failed to make a number of vertical passes.
Part of Spain’s negligence was due to the lack of chemistry. In at least a quarter of his turnover, a Barca player passed the ball without looking up, expecting a non-Barca player to be placed in a special way. These are natural kinks that can only be solved over time, as those from La Blaugrana are used to special automata and chemistry that have not yet been developed with figures from other teams.
What worked really well was the Amaiur Sarriegi-Claudia Pina dynamics, with their constant changes and movements in and out of the depths that early confused Brazil’s backline.
Vilda changed that during the break and got rid of Lucía for Sheila García and Pina for Esther. Olga Carmona also came in for Leila.
After 66 minutes, Irene and Zornoza Mapi replaced Alexia.
Although Aitana did raise its level in some places to keep the movements afloat, Spain struggled to threaten the box with consistency. Esther was the only one who managed to create some shots when the game ended.
Vilda’s last submarine came in the 80’s; Amaiur replaced Barbara Latorre.
None of this was enough to push the offensive to another lever in the last minutes, where Spain really put up a certain pressure and forced Brazil to hold on to dear life in the box.
It was too little, too late and Brazil held on for a well-deserved draw.