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Sweden won the battle for supremacy in Group C as first-half goals by Lisa Dahlkvist and Nilla Fischer proved enough to give them a narrow 2-1 win against the United States.
With both sides already assured a place in the last eight, Pia Sundhage's charges began the match as section leaders but by the end of it found themselves in second place, and facing the daunting prospect of a quarter-final meeting with Brazil. Dahlkvist and Fischer, from the penalty spot and a deflected free-kick respectively, scored the goals that inflicted the United States's first defeat of the finals. Though Abby Wambach pulled one back, Sweden held on for the win and the right to meet Australia on Sunday.
Sweden started in determined mood and Lotta Schelin might have put her side ahead on seven minutes when put clean through on goal. The excellent Hope Solo, however, saved with an outstretched foot. Fischer came close moments later only to send a free header over. Despite the best efforts of Lauren Cheney, who also fired over before sending a shot wide, Sweden took the lead from the penalty spot after Amy LePeilbet brought Schelin to ground as she again broke through on goal. Dahlkvist's penalty was true.
The United States almost drew level on 32 minutes when Amy Rodriguez looped a snapshot over Hedvig Lendahl and on to the bar, while Carli Lloyd's close-range shot was repelled by Lendahl's quick reactions. By then, though, Sweden had a two-goal cushion, after Fischer's 25-metre free-kick took a cruel deflection off LePeilbet.
The United States improved after the break, Lloyd's shot from distance flying just wide on 53 minutes before the same player was twice denied by Lindahl, and their goal arrived midway through the half when Wambach connected with Cheney's corner. Although Kelley O'Hara missed an opportunity to level four minutes from time, Sweden were worthy winners.
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