Japan 2-2 Sweden
Sweden began FIFA Women's World Cup year with a draw against Japan in Larnaca, Cyprus as they faced up to life without experienced trio Malin Moström, Linda Fagerström and Anna Sjöström.
Svensson new skipper
The three players have 277 caps and 35 goals between them, and were in the team that reached the last World Cup final in 2003, losing to Germany, but having helped Sweden to this year’s edition in China they have decided to retire from international football. Victoria Svensson took over from Moström as captain and 23 minutes in her side were ahead through Lotta Schelin.
Aya Miyama equalised two minutes later for Japan, but Therese Sjögran restored the Swedish lead from the penalty spot on 34 minutes. Sweden, in the midst of their close season, tired in the second half having also lost the lively Lotta Schelin to a groin problem at the interval and Eriko Arakawa ensured a draw for Japan with eleven minutes left.
Sweden coach Thomas Dennerby said: "We couldn't quite cope in the second half and made a couple of simple mistakes, but I'm very pleased with the result given it's so early [in the season] for us." His team now take on Scotland in the same venue on Friday before playing in the Algarve Cup in from 7-14 March. The World Cup finals draw takes place in Wuhan on 22 April, with Sweden joining in the pot by Germany, England, Denmark and Norway, and the competition runs from 10-30 September
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