Sweden have defeated Australia 2-0 to secure the bronze medal at this year’s Women’s World Cup.
The first goal of the third-place play-off came midway through the first half when the otherwise steadfast Clare Hunt clipped the heel of Blackstenius inside the box. VAR called for a penalty, and Fridolina Rolfo stepped up to put Sweden in front.
Kosovare Asllani doubled her sides lead in the second half with a brilliant strike from long-range. Asllani was arguably player of the match, controlling the game both in defence and attack, limiting Australia’s chances and creating opportunities for Sweden offensively.
The best chances of the match came for the Matildas in the form of Hayley Raso. A near post shot in the 23rd minute momentarily scared Musovic and forced her to make a save, but ultimately it wasn’t enough. The game finished 2-0 in favour of the Swedes.
For Sweden, this is their fourth time finishing in third place at the World Cup.
For the Matildas, this is the furthest their nation has ever gone, finishing fourth overall.
The last two losses to Sweden and the Lionesses might seem a disappointing way to end the tournament – but it’s important to take a step back and truly grasp the impact this team has had on Australia.
The Matildas have made history, this team has created some of Australia's best footballing moments. Never before has an Australian footballing team made it to the semi-finals in a World Cup. Never before has an Australian women’s sporting team rallied over 17 million people to watch a game. Never before has a team so intensely demanded the attention of the nation, to the point where the federal government has promised $200 million of funding into women's sport.
This tournament may have come to an end for the Matildas – but the legacy of this team will live on, inspiring women and men, boys and girls for generations to come.
Some may think this is the end. It’s just the beginning.