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Norway stunned neighbours Sweden in the UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ quarter-finals with an ultimately comfortable victory that sets up their second meeting of the competition with Germany at this same stadium on Monday.
Sweden had began the tournament, and indeed the knockout phase, as the side tipped to be the most likely to challenge Germany for the title but they conceded twice late in the first half, and again to substitute Cecilie Pedersen on the hour, to ensure Norway repeated their success in the 2005 semi-finals. At that stage this time around, they will hope to do better than their opening 4-0 group-stage loss to Germany, who also beat them in both their first match and the final four years ago.
Although Sweden had looked masterful in winning Group C while Norway creeped through as one of the two best third-placed teams, a tight start was maybe inevitable between two sides who had already met twice in 2009 alone. It took 24 minutes for the first real chance to arrive with Nilla Fischer, replacing Lisa Dahlqvist in the Sweden midfield, having a long-distance shot tipped over by Ingrid Hjelmseth. Shortly afterwards, a corner was headed out to Kosovare Asllani, whose effort from the edge of the box looped on to the crossbar.
Despite those chances, the first goal, out of the blue, came at the other end. Lene Storløkken played through Elise Thorsnes with an angled ball and her shot deflected in off Sweden defender Stina Segerström. By half-time it was two. Trine Rønning, winning her 100th Norway cap, sent in a free-kick from the right which Sweden's Sara Thunebro could only direct into the path of Anneli Giske, who gratefully scored from close range.
Sweden coach Thomas Dennerby sent on striker Jessica Landström and Lila Nilsson on the right for Fischer and Asslani after the break. They began the half brightly, Landström driving the ball against the post, but Norway coach Bjarne Berntsen responded by sending on teenage discovery Pedersen and within three minutes she had run on to an Isabell Herlovsen flick and confidently struck past Hedvig Lindahl, before running to be embraced by practically the entire Norway squad.
Sandell Svensson departs
With that, Sweden's chance was gone, though they continued to push hard, substitute Louise Fors rattling the crossbar from a free-kick before Victoria Sandell Svensson turned in a corner ten minutes from time. This defeat nonetheless brings down the curtain on the latter's brilliant 13-year, Swedish record 166-cap and now 68-goal international career.
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