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Sweden demonstrated their undoubted class again to claim a second win in Group C and book their place in the quarter-finals of UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™. For Italy, it was a sobering experience after their victory over England and they must regroup and try to revive their own qualifying prospects in Monday's final pool game.
The game was won inside the first 20 minutes when Sweden enjoyed complete control and scored through Lotta Schelin and Kosovare Asllani. As valiantly as the Azzurre tried to find a way back into the contest, they met only Swedish roadblocks and, apart from watching a couple of dangerous crosses fly past her area, goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl was a virtual bystander.
Sweden might have been ahead with just 17 seconds gone when Victoria Sandell Svensson played in Schelin but Anna Maria Picarelli was out quickly to block. They thought they had opened the scoring in the third minute when Caroline Seger forced the ball home from the corner only to see it ruled out for a push. Finally, in the ninth minute, they took the lead as the Italian defence was cut apart.
The build-up was slick and progressive, Therese Sjögran moving the ball swiftly to Sandell Svensson who spotted Schelin's clever run in behind her marker. Out came Picarelli but this time she was unable to prevent the goal. Schelin had been relatively quiet in Sweden's first game but registering rekindled her self-belief and it was her dangerous run in from the right that engineered the second on 19 minutes, Asllani steadying herself before finding the net.
It required a monumental effort from Italy just to repel the yellow onslaught. Consequently their own planned counterattacks were something of a rarity and celebrated forward, Patrizia Panico, cut an isolated, forlorn figure. She did manage a shot on the turn in the 35th minute but it scarcely troubled Lindahl.
The second period followed a similar pattern but Sweden's football became a little ragged as they kept Italy at arm's length. Italy coach Pietro Ghedin will be pleased with how his side, physically outpowered, did not give up the fight but they almost conceded a third when Sara Thunebro's long-ranger skimmed the bar. Sweden complete their group fixtures here on Monday against England, while Italy face Russia in Helsinki.
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