One word echoed off the walls in Sweden's team hotel on Thursday morning: 'besvikelse'. The Swedish for 'disappointment', it was the sentiment that predominated for the likes of Lotta Schelin and Charlotte Rohlin, though both players remain hopeful for the future.
"I feel disappointment that Germany have gone through once again, disappointment over situations during the match, disappointment that we couldn't reach the final," captain Lotta Schelin told the press on the morning after her team's 1-0 semi-final loss to Silvia Neid's holders.
Despite the prevailing despondency, Schelin – along with the rest of the squad and the entire coaching staff – still mustered up the strength to meet the press for half an hour. Like all events involving the Sweden team over the past couple of weeks, it was a well-attended affair, albeit subdued.
If media interest in the team has been great, it fades in comparison to the adulation coach Pia Sundhage and her players have received from the Swedish public. All of Sweden's matches were sold out, and when they finally were eliminated by the narrowest of margins, Gamla Ullevi in Gothenburg rose as one to give them a standing ovation.
Speaking with UEFA.com, Schelin expressed her hope that the outstanding levels of public support will remain after the last ball has been kicked at UEFA Women's EURO 2013. "We've done something that people have appreciated, something that people will want to keep following," said the forward, who leads the race for the adidas Golden Boot on five goals.
Significantly, she does not feel that Sweden 2013 will prove to be a two-week romance between the team and their supporters. "I don't think so. I think we're doing something people will want to be a part of. And whoever wants to come along is welcome."
Central defender Charlotte Rohlin is also optimistic, and cannot wait for the tests ahead, with qualifying for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup due to start in September. She turns 33 later this year and has recently come back from a serious knee injury, but she formed a solid partnership with Nilla Fischer during the tournament and has lost none of her appetite for the game.
"My knee hasn't reacted negatively to playing frequent, tough matches" she said. "After being away for a year, it's like I want to make up for lost time. I'm absolutely aiming to play more championships. My injury lay-off and the fantastic support we've had here – it all adds up and makes me want to carry on."
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