Fridolina Rolfo scored one and set up the other as Sweden won bronze at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, with a deserved 2-0 win over Australia.
The victory, sealed by Kosovare Asllani’s superb second-half strike, maintains the Scandinavians’ remarkable 100 per cent record in four FIFA Women’s World Cup bronze-medal matches.
It also earned the Swedes a fifth podium finish – second only to the USA (8).
The match provided a sad end to a memorable campaign for the Matildas, who had been hoping to enhance their best-ever performance at the global finals and finish on a high in Brisbane.
The tone, though, was set inside the opening minute.
This was when Sweden carved through the leaden-footed Australia defence to set up Stina Blackstenius for a right-foot shot that forced an excellent save from Mackenzie Arnold.
It would prove to be the first of many opportunities for a team that looked fresher and faster throughout, and it was no surprise when the Swedes moved in front on the half-hour mark.
Clare Hunt’s clipping of Blackstenius’s heels inside the box was identified following a VAR review.
In spite of Australia’s best efforts at gamesmanship, Rolfo dispatched a textbook left-foot penalty low and hard into the right-hand corner.
The Matildas did have their moments, and Zecira Musovic was twice called upon to keep out powerful efforts from Hayley Raso and, later, Sam Kerr.
Sweden, though, remained the game’s most potent attacking force, and they made sure of another Women’s World Cup bronze in the 62nd minute.
This was when Rolfo teed up Asllani for a wonderful first-time shot that flashed low beyond the helpless Arnold.
Tony Gustavsson, Australia’s coach expressed disappointment over his team’s inability to secure the bronze medal, after a brilliant world cup campaign that won the hearts of the co-hosts fans.
“It’s a difficult moment to find the right words right now. We’re hurt, we wanted to bring a medal for this team, these fans and this nation.
“It’s now a second tournament that we played for a medal and missed out. Maybe we won something bigger than a medal though.
“It’s difficult now but when we distance ourselves I think we won something bigger than a medal,” he said.