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Banušić backs Sweden to deliver when it matters

Sweden have "a lot left to give" according to striking starlet Marija Banušić, who knows the defending champions need to produce a performance against Germany on Thursday.

Marija Banušić celebrates scoring Sweden's opening goal at the WU19 finals in south-west Wales
Marija Banušić celebrates scoring Sweden's opening goal at the WU19 finals in south-west Wales ©Sportsfile

Sweden striker Marija Banušić is calling on Calle Barrling's team to deliver a performance more befitting the defending champions when they take on Germany on Thursday.

The Scandinavian side were unable to build on the early goal Banušić scored against Finland two days ago, as their opening Group B fixture ended in a 1-1 draw. The forward accepts they must do better with Germany, 5-0 conquerors of Norway on Monday, in opposition in Haverfordwest.

"We didn't play that well," the 17-year-old said. "We were too slow from back to front. It wasn't a good display. When we plan to do something but don't put it into practice, it's frustrating, but we will be better. We have a bit of work to do in training and hopefully next game we'll produce a better performance."

The Nordic derby in Llanelli was Banušić's finals debut, although she had already made a mark on this season's UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship by notching ten goals in six qualifying games. It took the Kristianstads DFF player only four minutes to add to that haul at Stebonheath Park. "It's always nice to score – the goalkeeper made a save, then dropped it to my player who passed to me and I managed to score," she said of her predatory finish against Finland.

While recognising that her team's tournament curtain-raiser "didn't go that well", the No15 wants to contribute to a successful Swedish campaign here in south-west Wales. "I'm always in good form and focused on scoring goals to help my team win," she said. "It's important to me, but most important is that the team wins. I have to keep helping the team."

The semi-finals remain the initial target for a footballer who is "enjoying very much" her first term as a full-time professional in Sweden's women's top flight, the Damallsvenskan. "If we keep working and fight for each other, and do a lot better than this, we can get to the semi-finals," she predicted. "We have a lot left to give."