France stuns Brazil with late winner; Sweden qualifies for Women’s World Cup knockout stages with thumping win over Italy

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Women’s World Cup 2023: Live scores, fixtures, results, tables and top scorers

France put itself in a commanding position to reach the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup after earning a hard-fought 2-1 win over Brazil thanks to Wendie Renard’s late header.

More to follow…

Sweden hammers Italy

Sweden advanced to the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup thanks to a thumping 5-0 win over Italy.

A disjointed Sweden needed a 90th-minute winner to edge past South Africa in its opening Group G match, but the team looked back to its best at times against Italy as three late first-half goals ended the game as a contest.

After battling well for much of the opening 45 minutes, Italy’s resistance was finally broken six minutes before half time as Amanda Ilestedt, who recently signed for Arsenal Women, lost her marker to head home from a corner kick.

That goal opened the floodgates for Sweden, which doubled its lead five minutes later through Fridolina Rolfö after yet more sloppy Italian defending from a corner. Stina Blackstenius then made it 3-0 in stoppage time, tapping home after a sweeping Swedish attack.

A corner kick proved to be Italy’s undoing for a third time just five minutes into the second half. It was Ilestedt again who stole in at the near post to head past goalkeeper Francesca Durante for her second of the match.

Sweden added more gloss to the scoreline in injury time through Rebecka Blomqvist, who latched onto a long pass and calmly slotted the ball past the onrushing Durante.

There are only a select number of teams in Australia and New Zealand that could take the US’ crown and Sweden, ranked third in the world, is one of them.

This group has regularly felt the pressure of being labeled the country’s ‘Golden Generation’ and came so close to living up to that moniker two years ago, losing to Canada in the gold medal match at the rescheduled 2020 Olympic Games.

But Saturday’s win over Italy marks Sweden’s biggest victory at a Women’s World Cup since it beat Japan 8-0 in 1991.

Sweden reached the semifinals at Euro 2022 and the World Cup four years ago in France, and this performance firmly puts the team back on track to emulate or even better previous results.

Despite the heavy defeat, Italy still has an excellent chance of qualifying for the round of 16. Victory over South Africa would ensure its place in the knockout stages, but a draw would also be enough should Sweden beat Argentina as expected.

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