Sweden ran out comfortable winners in Nice as they beat a very spirited Thailand team 5-1. Sweden had five different scorers in the game but Thailand managed to bag a very emotional goal for themselves at the end.
The game began just the way you would have expected it to, with Sweden on the front foot. It only actually took them five minutes to get themselves in front with Linda Sembrant heading home a free-kick from out wide. Following that, Sweden continued to attack and fears were growing that Thailand could be in for a repeat of their last fixture.
Kosovare Asllani was the next to get her name onto the score sheet as she demonstrated some fancy footwork to turn home a rebound. The ball was whipped in from the right wing onto the head of Lina Hurtig who nodded the ball back across goal. Replacement Thai goalkeeper Waraporn Boonsing made a great save but Asllani was ready and waiting. She picked it up, skipped past two players and turned it in at the near post.
After the second goal, Thailand actually started to grow into the game a little with US-born forward Miranda Nild coming the closest to scoring. She took an effort from 30 yards out that flew just over the bar. Sweden didn’t manage to get their third goal until just before half-time.
That one came when Fridolina Rolfo picked up the ball following a clearance from a corner. She made some space for herself and hammered the ball into the top corner. Boonsing managed to get a hand on it but not enough to stop it from making the score 3-0.
The second half yielded little in terms of clear cut goal scoring opportunities for Sweden. It took them until the dying embers of the game to bag their fourth goal as Lina Hurtig scored a lovely header in the 81st minute. Then, the moment we didn’t think was ever going to happen came, Thailand pulled one back.
Their goal happened as Sweden over-committed and Kanjana Sung-Ngoen drove forward. She had players in tow and it looked as though she would square it, but she decided to go alone as she hammered it past Hedvig Lindahl in the Swedish goal. You could see just how much the goal meant as the Thai players, coaching staff and chairwoman were all fighting back tears.
However, their moment last little more than two minutes as the referee stopped the game so VAR could look at an incident. Replays showed that as a cross came into the Thai box, Natthakarn Chingwong jumped to head it clear but the ball struck her arm. The referee ran over to the pitch side screen and after a delay, awarded Sweden the penalty. Elin Rubensson stepped up and calmly put her penalty into the left corner.
The result means that if USA beat Chile this evening, Sweden are through to the knockout rounds. Thailand are all but eliminated but they’ll be hopeful they can at least mark their tournament with a win when they face Chile next week.