England vs. Sweden: Blue and Yellow hangs on to win Women’s World Cup bronze

The Washington Post

England’s Ellen White tries to control the ball in front of Linda Sembrant of Sweden. (Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters)

Follow here for live updates from the Women’s World Cup third-place match.

In-game updates

90th minute +5: England gets a yellow card

Jade Moore is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

90th minute: Heads-up save by Nilla Fischer

Playing in her fourth and final World Cup tournament, defender Nilla Fischer had the save heard ‘round Sweden as she stood her ground in goal and stopped a Lucy Bronze strike with her head.

85th minute: Yellow card for Hedvig Lindahl

It took a while but the first card of the match was issued, to Sweden’s goalkeeper.

83rd minute: English substitution

The Lionesses made their final substitution of regulation when Rachel Daly took over for Abbie McManus.

74th minute: English substitution

Veteran midfielder Karen Carney replaced Nikita Parris. England has one more substitution remaining unless the match goes to extra time.

72th minute: Swedish substitution

The Blue and Yellow made its third and final switch as defender Nathalie Bjorn was replaced by Amanda Ilestedt.

50th minute: England substitution

Jodie Taylor came on for the Lionesses to replace Beth Mead.

Halftime: Sweden 2, England 1

England continues to show how much it misses starting goalie Karen Bardsley, who allowed only one goal in the tournament but is sidelined for the second straight match because of injury. Her replacement, Carly Telford, has allowed four goals in the team’s last three halves of play.

Sweden’s goals, by Kosovare Asllani in the 11th minute and Sofia Jakobsson in the 22nd, provided a comfortable lead before the Lionesses offered two quick responses late in the half. Fran Kirby struck first for England in the 31st minute while Ellen White appeared to even the score in the 33rd minute before her goal was overturned by the video assistant referee.

White had another terrific chance in the final seconds of stoppage time when she was sprung free on a through ball by Nikita Parris, but her attempt was deflected away by Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl.

Fridolina Rolfo’s early exit could play a substantial role in how the Blue and Yellow approaches the second half. The Swedes made one substitution at the half, replacing Asllani with Julia Zigiotti Olme.

33rd minute: England goal disallowed

Ellen White initially appeared to tie the match — and move into the lead for the Golden Boot with her seventh goal of the tournament. But after video replay it was ruled that she committed a handball in trying to control the ball before turning to shoot.

31st minute: Goal, England

Fran Kirby put the Lionesses on the after a quality dish from Jill Scott snuck the ball past a plethora of Swedish defenders. Kirby’s left-footed boot crossed in front of Sweden goalie Hedvig Lindahl to sneak inside the left post.

27th minute: Swedish substitution

Lina Hurtig replaced Fridolina Rolfö because of what appeared to be a lower left leg injury.

22nd minute: Goal, Sweden

Sofia Jakobsson gave the Blue and Yellow an early 2-0 lead after a nice feed from Stina Blackstenius gives Jakobsson a chance to take advantage of a closing window in England’s defense. Jakobsson snuck the shot right past Lioness Steph Houghton for her second goal of the tournament.

11th minute: Goal, Sweden

Kosovare Asllani pounced on a poor clearance by the English defense, putting a close-range, low laser between two English defenders and past diving Lioness goaltender Carly Telford. It was the first shot credited to either team. It marked Asllani’s 35th career goal for her national team.

And we’re off!

England and Sweden begin their battle for the bronze on a sunny Saturday in Nice. The Lionesses look to repreat their third-place finish from 2015 while the Blue and Yellow seek to regain the bronze they earned in 2011. Sweden leads the all-time series, with 11 victories, four draws and two losses in 17 meetings.

Starting lineups

Setting the stage

Is there some measure of vindication in winning the third-place match at the Women’s World Cup? The teams best qualified to answer that question will meet for bronze on Saturday.

Eight years ago, Sweden took third, beating France in the tournament’s penultimate game after losing to eventual champion Japan in the semifinals. Four years ago, it was England that finished third, beating Germany after a semifinal loss to Japan.

Now it’s England against Sweden Saturday in Nice, the third straight all-European third-place match and a chance for one of these teams to leave France on a high.

There is another motivation on the English side, where forward Ellen White is tied with American Alex Morgan atop the Golden Boot standings. Both players have six goals, one more than American Megan Rapinoe, who missed the semifinals with a hamstring injury.

“I think [a loss] would be a huge disappointment, and we hold ourselves accountable for not getting to that final,” White said, via the BBC. “A medal would be something that we’ll be really proud of and we can look each other in the eye and think we did achieve something at this World Cup. It may not be gold but a bronze medal is still an achievement. Not many people can say they’ve got a medal at a World Cup and that’s our priority.”

England had been undefeated at the World Cup before the 2-1 semifinal loss to the United States. Sweden has two losses: a 2-0 decision to the U.S. in group play and a 1-0 loss to the Netherlands on Wednesday, with the game’s only goal coming in extra time.

England midfielder Karen Carney, playing in her fourth World Cup, said she would retire from the sport after Saturday’s match. And the Lionesses’ back line will have some uncertainty, with Millie Bright suspended after two yellow cards in the semifinal, and captain Steph Houghton undoubtedly still tortured by a missed penalty kick against the U.S.

But the counter-attacking Swedes have just three goals in their last four matches, and are coming off a 120-minute marathon.

“I would never forgive myself if we didn’t manage to recharge and give everything for the third-place match,” defender Linda Sembrant said, via FIFA’s official site.

What you need to know

When: Saturday, 11 a.m. Eastern.

Where: Stade de Nice, Nice.

TV: Fox, Telemundo.

Streaming: Fox Sports.

Pregame reading

England Coach Phil Neville has had plenty to say at the World Cup

After some early doubts, the leader of the English team now appears perfectly matched for his job. (Read more)

World Cup merchandise is hard to find despite sport’s growing popularity

Fans in France have flaunted their passion for women’s soccer and flexed their buying power by traveling to cheer in person. But visitors to host cities such as Paris, Le Havre and Reims have found little in the way of Women’s World Cup souvenirs to take home — that is, if they can find FIFA’s Official Fan Shops at all. (Read more)

Europe is rising

With England and host nation France joining perennial powers Germany and the United States among the top four ranked teams in the world, parity is far greater in the elite ranks than at the bottom. (Read more)

Lyon’s championship soccer club is a model of gender equity and a vision for women’s sports

The unparalleled investment into the Olympique Lyonnais superteam is expected to have a profound impact on the future of women’s soccer in the United States and around the world. In paying top dollar for top talent and providing facilities and working conditions on par with what men receive, the club has created a winning formula and established a model for women’s professional soccer across Europe and the United States, where the National Women’s Soccer League, the latest iteration of a near-two-decade-long quest to establish a viable American professional league, remains underfunded. (Read more)

The U.S. women are part of a movement. They won’t be the only female athletes to speak up.

Think about these amazing, defiant and relentless women as part of a potentially watershed period for both their sport and gender, writes columnist Jerry Brewer. Think of them drafting off the impact of #MeToo, being further galvanized by the political threats against abortion rights and Planned Parenthood and strengthening their determination over time to put up an even greater fight against the attitudes, sexism and unfair business practices of a male-dominated sports system. (Read more)

The USWNT is after something far more subversive than just better pay

It’s time to discard, finally, the nagging, jersey-tugging, chronic, small-minded doctrine that we must “contextualize” everything the U.S. women’s national team does as “relative” to the men’s game, writes columnist Sally Jenkins. Sweet kicking Jesus, what titans these players are. Mental giants who show up big under unimaginably hot lights of controversy. Drivers of explosive new TV ratings, not just in America but in France, England, Germany, Brazil, Italy, with a billion viewers predicted by the end of the tournament. (Read more)

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