Sundhage's Sweden start in style
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
"This was just the start," said Pia Sundhage after her first match in charge of UEFA Women's EURO 2013 hosts Sweden produced a 37th-second goal and a 3-0 defeat of Switzerland.
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UEFA Women's EURO 2013 hosts Sweden wasted no time making an impression on new coach Pia Sundhage as they scored after 37 seconds on their way to a 3-0 win against Switzerland in Vaxjo.
Sundhage was starting her reign at a new stadium that will be used for next July's finals and Sofia Jakobsson got Sweden off on the right foot. Kosovare Asllani needed even less time after the restart, making it 2-0 34 seconds into the second half, and Antonia Göransson completed the scoring.
The crowd were on their feet after the very first attack. Lotta Schelin had set Asllani on her way down the left and her low cross was easily tapped in by Jakobsson.
If it looked like a potential rout, that was not to be. Sweden remained in control but did not really threaten again until the 20th minute when a couple of familiar faces were involved again. Schelin and Jakobsson, the front two selected in Sundhage's 4-4-2 lineup, combined outside the Swiss penalty area, and Schelin, wearing the captain's armband, struck a fierce shot that was steered away for a corner by Galle Thalmann.
Jennifer Oehrli came off the bench to replace Thalmann at the break and was also immediately beaten, well off her line as she was lobbed by Asllani. Oehrli did make amends with a fine diving save at Schelin's feet but after a string of missed chances, substitute Göransson eventually got Sweden's third and final goal, assisted by Asllani. "We said we'd go out and enjoy ourselves," said Asllani after the match, and she clearly did that – having a role in each of the goals.
Sundhage added: "We've now started our journey. This was just the start, and our passing in particular will improve a lot from here." She will have to wait until next year for her second game in charge, but plans to make the most of a November training camp with her team.
"We're going to do a job, we're going to talk football, feel football and it will take us far," said the Sweden coach.