July 2, 2011
Sweden edges North Korea in Group C
By Sports Network
Sweden earned some payback against North Korea on Saturday in the Women's World Cup.
Lisa Dahlkvist scored in the 64th minute and Sara Thunebro cleared a sure goal off the goal line minutes later as Sweden defeated North Korea, 1-0, at Impuls Arena in Group C.
Sweden will clinch a spot in the knockout stage later Saturday, as long as the United States doesn't lose to Colombia in the other Group C match.
North Korea advanced to the quarterfinals four years ago at the expense of the Swedes, who were eliminated on goal differential despite a win over the Asians in group play. It was the first time Sweden failed to advance from group play.
Sweden beat Colombia, 1-0, in its opening game of the tournament. North Korea, which lost its opener 2-0 to the U.S., will be eliminated unless Colombia wins against the U.S.
Sweden's inability to finish off scoring chances from its first match against Colombia continued against North Korea, as striker Charlotta Schelin wasted a chance less than 2 minutes into the game with a shot off target from 16 yards.
North Korea and Sweden each enjoyed spells of possession over the following 25 minutes, but neither threatened to break the deadlock.
Schelin's struggles continued late in the first half, as she took a pass from captain Caroline Seger on the right side of the area in the 30th but fired an open chance into the side netting.
She had another chance five minutes later after she collected a long free kick from goalie Hedvig Lindhal and drove into the area, but rushed an open chance to miss the target by at least 5 yards from close range.
Schelin, who assisted on Sweden's lone goal against Colombia, again showed her ability to be a playmaker early in the second half, but after a nice pass into space on the right to Dahlkvist, Schelin's teammate mirrored her finishing.
Dahlkvist was in alone in the 50th, but she nicked the ball with her left foot and then quickly skimmed it with her right, but only rolled a weak shot wide.
Sweden put the final touch on its attack in the 64th - seven minutes after it finally solved Colombia in its first match - when Dahlkvist redeemed herself.
Linda Forsberg started the play with a cross from the left wing to the right side of the area to Therese Sjogran, who volleyed a pass back across the six- yard box to the left post to Dahlkvist for an easy finish from just yards out.
Dahlkvist's first World Cup goal was enough, but only because Thunebro cleared a header from North Korea's Ri Un Hyang off the line in the 74th on the Asian side's first shot since midway through the first half.
Schelin tested North Korea goalie Hong Myong Hui again in the 76th, and Sweden settled back in and held on for its second straight one-goal win in the event.
Sweden ends group play Wednesday against the United States without captain and midfield leader Seger, who received a yellow card for the second straight game and will serve a one-game suspension.
North Korea plays Colombia in its final group match Wednesday.