Sweden squandered two second-half penalties as they had to settle for a 1–1 draw in their opening UEFA Women's EURO 2013 Group A match against southern neighbours Denmark. Next up, those immediately to the east to whom Sweden have never lost.
That history, Sweden captain Caroline Seger suggests, means 'caution' will be Finland's watchword on Saturday, and the Tyresö FF has a ready-made counter-strategy for coach Pia Sundhage.
"Fast passes, and giving the player with the ball many options. That's how to play against compact teams that retreat towards their own goal," said Seger. "Running a lot for each other, always giving each other several options. That's what I would say if I were Pia. To run them ragged."
Pace is an area in which Josefine Öqvist and Antonia Göransson on the Swedish flanks have few peers, but Seger also warned speed of thought would be as important as fleet of foot to undo a Finnish rearguard that held firm against Italy. "We have really quick players and need to put that to use. But there has to be a balance. So we need to be smart and help each other out," she explained.
From her position in central midfield, Seger will be at the heart of the host nation's efforts at Gamla Ullevi. An oft-inspired and inspirational presence, she and her team-mates showed their quality in the 4-1 pre-tournament dismissal of England last week only to struggle to reproduce that form on their Group A bow.
"We know that if our joint pressing works, it all becomes easier," Seger said. "When the front line starts to press, it's easier for us midfielders to follow. It's a domino effect. If one does it right, it makes it easier for everyone else to get it right. Hopefully, that will be the case tomorrow."
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