UEFA Women's EURO 2013 hosts Sweden took a draw and a defeat from their two-game trip to Phoenix, Arizona – despite leading in both matches – but coach Thomas Dennerby saw positives.
Finishing off a year in which they claimed bronze at the FIFA Women's World Cup, Sweden drew 1-1 with the United States on Saturday in front of 18,000 fans at the University of Phoenix. Sofia Jakobsson's goal was cancelled out by Tobin Heath with nine minutes left.
Then on Tuesday they faced Canada at Grand Canyon University, going ahead through Jessica Landström only for the game to turn in the second half when the ball bounced in off Chelsea Buckland's shin and Christine Sinclair scored the winner with her hip in added time.
"A draw would have been fairer," said Dennerby, whose team had lost 1-0 in Germany last month in their first post-World Cup outing. "Especially since our second half was a lot better than the first."
Sweden travelled with 20 players and all but Antonia Göransson – suffering from a stomach bug – got time to show their worth. Marina Pettersson-Engström, Jessica Samuelsson and Emmelie Konradsson all made senior debuts against Canada while Emma Berglund played both matches for her first two caps.
"It was an incredibly fun match to play," said Umeå IK defender Berglund of her debut. "It's always fun to play the USA, who play hard and always egg one another on in that American way. You can tell that it rubs off on the spectators too."
The coach was just as happy with her display. "Emma Berglund put in a great performance," Dennerby said. "She played as if she'd been doing it for five years. Hers was one of the best debuts in my time as national coach."
Summing up the trip, Dennerby concluded: "On the whole, I'm most pleased with our defence." His team, excused EURO qualifying, have their next scheduled engagement from 29 February at the Algarve Cup, with the Olympic tournament also to look forward to next year.
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