Sweden beat Canada in Paris to set up a Women's World Cup quarterfinal clash against Germany. Three things stood out from Sweden's round of 16 win that Germany should be wary of ahead of their showdown.
Sweden 1-0 Canada
A superb team goal and a penalty save helped Sweden beat Canada to set up a World Cup quarterfinal with Germany.
After a first half in which neither side dared to take control, Sweden struck. Following a quick piece of transition play, Kosovare Asllani curled a beautiful pass behind Canada's defense that Stina Blackstenius stabbed home.
Canada had a chance to equalize from the spot when VAR spotted a handball by Asllani, but Hedvig Lindahl made a superb save to deny Janine Beckie.
In an end-to-end finale, that included seven minutes of added time, both sides had chances to score but neither could find the back of the net.
The result sets up a Sweden vs. Germany quarterfinal. Sweden lost to Germany in the round of 16 at the last World Cup, as well as in the 2003 World Cup final. This time, with a spot in the semifinals at stake, the Swedes will be keen to get their revenge. Three things stood out from Sweden's win over Canada that Germany will have to master if they're to make the semifinals.
1. Defensive strength
Hanna Glas had a superb game at right back against Canada, forcing the Canadians to go down the other flank or down the middle. The 26-year-old, who plays her club football for PSG, read the game really well and continually positioned herself in spaces to shut down Canadian attacks. In truth, the entire Swedish defense continually won aerial battles and 50-50 challenges on the night as they kept putting themselves in spots to succeed. Sara Däbritz has been one of Germany's better performers at this World Cup, but against Sweden she will either have to raise her game even further to get the better of Glas or Germany will have to find another way past Sweden's defense.
2. Awesome Asllani
The 29-year-old striker showed off her playmaking abilities against Canada, sending a quiet reminder that if Germany are to have any joy they will have to shut down the former PSG and Manchester City player. After a surging run forward from midfield, Asllani delivered a gorgeous pass, weighted perfectly and curled precisely, to set up the decisive goal. A goal-line clearance denied her a goal that would have left her with the ultimate performance. Germany have been warned that this World Cup is not proving a stage too big for Asllani.
Goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl has over 160 international caps. Her experience paid dividends against Canada when the 36-year-old made an incredible penalty save to deny Janine Beckie. Lindahl is one of six players in the Sweden squad with over 100 caps. It is a team oozing experience and at the latter stages of big tournaments that can often be the difference between staying in the competition or going home. Perhaps none are more experienced than legendary Wolfsburg defender Nilla Fischer. The 34-year-old will be known in Germany, but she is just one of the many leaders in this team. Martina Voss-Tecklenburg's side will have to be ready for them all.