Sweden's bitterly disappointed captain Victoria Sandell Svensson said their quarter-final defeat by Norway at UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ on Friday was no way to end her international career after 166 caps.
Sandell Svensson, whose decision to retire had been made before the tournament in Finland, marked her exit with Sweden's consolation goal – her 68th in the national shirt – in their 3-1 defeat at Helsinki Football Stadium. However, it was all too visible afterwards that her late strike was no consolation for the 32-year-old forward, Sweden's most-capped player. "I feel really bad," she said. "It was my last game with the national team and this wasn't the way I wanted it to be. It's really tough right now."
Sweden had gone into the game as convincing Group C winners, buouyed by a fine run in 2009 which included victory in the Algarve Cup in March, and were widely expected to face Germany in the semi-finals. Instead, everything went wrong from the start and Thomas Dennerby's side were 2-0 down by the break. "We didn't play like we should have done in the first half, and that was the big problem in this game," Sandell Svensson said. "In the second half, we didn't have a choice but to go on the offensive. I feel that we had luck against us today."
Past and future
If Friday was clearly a low, the Djurgårdens IF DFF striker also has some high points to look back on during a record Sweden career spanning 13 years, with the pick of those better times being easy to predict. "Of course, the 2003 [FIFA Women's] World Cup," she said of Sweden's run to the final in the United States. "But the whole year with this team has been really fun until now. It's really bad that we didn't play so well today because this is one of the best groups of players I have played with. But I think they have a good future."
Dennerby, though stunned by Sweden's defeat, paid tribute to his skipper. "She's one of the best players Sweden have ever had," he said. "She has fantastic vision, good technical skills and she's a very nice human being. She's a great sportswoman."
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