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Rubensson penalty ensures Sweden beat England

England 0-1 Sweden
Elin Rubensson's 31st-minute penalty ensured a winning start to Group B for Sweden in a rematch of the 2009 final.

Elin Rubensson celebrates her winner
Elin Rubensson celebrates her winner ©Sportsfile

Sweden got their UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship Group B campaign off to a fine start thanks to a first-half penalty from Elin Rubensson.

The gifted forward, whose 31st-minute strike was her 32nd goal in 25th UEFA youth competition appearance for Sweden, was given the chance from the spot after England left-back Jasmine Matthews handled in the box. However, in a scintillating contest, the nation that beat Sweden in the 2009 final seldom let up.

Despite Sweden's cohesive team play, England had enjoyed the best of the early chances, with Danielle Carter wreaking havoc behind striker Bethany Mead, though the latter just lacked a finishing touch to go with her incisive running.

Clearly rocked by Rubensson's opener, England nearly conceded again when centre-back Jennie Nordin thumped a header just wide from a corner by lively right-midfielder Malin Diaz, who pulled the strings with aplomb from out on the flank. Showing admirable spirit, Mo Marley's charges then stormed back to create two fine chances through Bethany England before the break, though she fired agonisingly past the post on both occasions.

The pattern of the game changed markedly come the second period, as England's players adopted more direct tactics in their eagerness to level the scores. This approach played into the hands of Sweden's aerially adept central defenders Nordin and skipper Amanda Ilestedt, enabling Calle Barrling's side to attack effectively on the counter.

After Rubensson and Petra Andersson had both tested England goalkeeper Mary Earps, Therése Boström cut in from the left wing to send in a dipping right-foot shot onto the bar and away in the nearest the game came to a second goal. And though a driving run and cross from Carter in the final minute had the England fans on their feet, the Swedish defence again held firm to see out a vital 1-0 win.