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Sweden overcome Italy en route to quarter-finals

Sweden 3-1 Italy
Sweden secured first place in Group A in emphatic fashion by defeating the Azzurre, who joined the hosts in the last eight despite defeat.

Sweden overcome Italy en route to quarter-finals
Sweden overcome Italy en route to quarter-finals ©UEFA.com

Hosts Sweden swept into the quarter-finals of UEFA Women's EURO 2013, scoring three times in the second half to defeat Italy and win Group A, though their opponents also went through as runners-up.

The teams came into their third group match knowing victory for either side would mean they topped the section. After a goalless first period, the Blågult took control, stepping up the pace devastatingly to delight the Halmstad crowd.

A half-time substitute, veteran Therese Sjögran made an immediate impact as her cross deflected off the unfortunate Raffaella Manieri into the Italy goal. After playing a bit-part role in the opener, Lotta Schelin was more central here as she struck her team's second goal two minutes later, latching onto Lisa Dahlkvist's header before gracefully rounding Chiara Marchitelli.

The Olympique Lyonnais player then teed up Josefine Öqvist for the third, which meant there were few nerves when Melania Gabbiadini reduced Italy's arrears 12 minutes from time.

Antonio Cabrini had introduced six new faces to his starting lineup following his team's 2-1 defeat of Denmark, surprisingly leaving veteran forward Patrizia Panico on the bench. When she finally emerged just after the hour, Italy immediately carried more threat.

First, a goalmouth scramble ended with Sara Thunebro clearing off the line. Minutes later, Sandy Iannella's acrobatic volley sailed narrowly wide but Italy's efforts were finally rewarded when Gabbiadini, also a substitute, headed in Manieri's long, sweeping cross.

With news of Denmark's 1-1 draw with Finland coming through at full time, both sides were able to leave the pitch with smiles on their faces and look forward to quarter-final encounters.

Player of the match: Lotta Schelin

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