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Rubensson fires Sweden into semi-finals

Serbia 1-5 Sweden
Elin Rubensson scored her third goal in two games as Sweden claimed a last-four berth at the expense of final tournament debutants Serbia.

Sweden's Elin Rubensson heads beyond Serbia goalkeeper Nevena Stojaković
Sweden's Elin Rubensson heads beyond Serbia goalkeeper Nevena Stojaković ©TFF

Sweden sailed through to the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship semi-finals with a commanding 5-1 victory that ended the ambitions of Serbia.

Calle Barrling's side were uncompromising and often devastating. Elin Rubensson scored either side of Pauline Hammarlund's emphatic finish, before a Jasna Djordjević own goal. Malin Diaz's fierce strike ensured a resounding victory against a Serbia team that by then were down to ten players after Nevena Stojaković was sent off.

Serbia coach Milan Rastavac admitted his side were overawed on their tournament debut, but they started matchday two with renewed hope. Jelena Čanković's penchant for cutting inside and threading neat, intricate passes created space for the marauding Ana Lilić, whose venomous shot flashed narrowly wide. Sweden were shaken, retreating into their shells.

When they broke free from their defensive shackles, on 31 minutes, Rubensson leapt highest to divert Jonna Andersson's delicious delivery past Stojaković. For all their intent and optimism, Serbia were soon swamped by Sweden's brilliance. Fridolina Rolfö fed Hammarlund who rounded off a buccaneering run with a ruthless right-footed finish.

Blending technical ability with free running, Čanković was shining amid a desperate situation and produced a sumptuous pass for captain Nevena Damjanović, who fired over. Serbia were leaving gaping holes at the back, meanwhile, and Andersson exploited them but lacked composure when clean through.

The start of the second-half bore an uncanny resemblance to the first. Serbia were positive and lively while Sweden soaked up the pressure and broke at pace. Just after the hour, Rubensson pick-pocketed Djordjević and delicately lifted the ball over the goalkeeper. Serbia reduced the arrears three minutes later, the ubiquitous Čanković turned provider for Marija Ilić, who glanced a neat header into the far corner.

Sweden were not about to relent, however, and Diaz surged down the right and her centre zipped invitingly across goal for the unfortunate Djordjević to put through her own net. Serbia's misery was compounded when stand-in goalkeeper Stojaković was sent off for a professional foul, before Diaz made it five with a thumping finish.

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