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Improving Sweden too good for Norway

"It is getting better and better," said Sweden coach Pia Sundhage after watching the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 hosts come from behind to defeat neighbours Norway 2-1 in Linkoping.

Marie Hammarström struck the winner for Sweden
Marie Hammarström struck the winner for Sweden ©Sportsfile

First-half strikes from Lotta Schelin and Marie Hammarström enabled Sweden to fight back from a goal behind to defeat Norway 2-1 in Linkoping.

The 4,792-strong home crowd were stunned into silence when Norway broke the deadlock after four minutes. Caroline Seger surrendered possession under pressure from Ingvild Isaksen and 17-year-old forward Ada Hegerberg pounced to fire beyond Kristin Hammarström and into the bottom corner.

The goal elicited a confident approach from the visitors with winger Caroline Hansen catching the eye with a combination of pace, close control and quick thinking. Her quality was not enough to keep the hosts at bay, however, as Schelin and Kosovare Asllani linked intuitively to level on 19 minutes, the former sliding the ball past Ingrid Hjelmseth.

Hammarström then capitalised on a misplaced clearance and found the net with a sweet strike from the edge of the area on 34 minutes. Sweden tightened their grip on proceedings from then on, yet failed to add the final flourish, with substitute Josefine Öqvist squandering one of a host of good opportunities.

"We scored two fine goals after altering the midfield shape," said coach Pia Sundhage. "It is getting better and better and it looks exciting up front, no matter who plays there."

"It was a really good game with both teams putting the emphasis on attack. There is still work to do defensively, but those issues can be ironed out over the next weeks," added Norway boss Even Pellerud. "We cannot really complain about the result although we had some decent half-chances."

Sweden return to action on 19 June against Brazil in Stockholm, and Sundhage names her finals squad six days later, with Denmark, Finland and Italy awaiting in Group A. Norway travel to France on 29 June for their last friendly prior to taking on Germany, Iceland and the Netherlands in Group B.

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