Sweden beat Germany on penalties to reach final

Germany 3-3 Sweden (aet, Sweden win 4-2 on pens) Stina Blackstenius hit a last-gasp equaliser before a faultless Sweden display from the spot.

Sweden celebrate after Rebecka Blomqvist's winning penalty
Sweden celebrate after Rebecka Blomqvist's winning penalty ©IFA

• Emma Holmgren saves two penalties in the shoot-out as Sweden prevail
• Stina Blackstenius breaks Elena Danilova's record with 18th goal of WU19 EURO season
• Sweden will meet either France or Spain in the final in Netanya on Monday
• 88th-minute Sweden equaliser takes tie to extra time and penalties
• Germany begin 2015/16 campaign in September's qualifying round

Rebecka Blomqvist calmly stroked in the winning penalty after Emma Holmgren had denied Madeline Gier and Felicitas Rauch as Sweden edged in a topsy-turvy encounter against Germany to book a place in Monday's WU19 EURO final.

Gier looked to have won it for Germany when she restored their lead with 12 minutes left but Stina Blackstenius was irrepressible. The striker scored one and played a part in a fine Tove Almqvist effort as Sweden overturned Rebecca Knaak's early header, then with the score 3-2 she fashioned a late equaliser. Blackstenius completed a fine performance with a penalty as Sweden won the shoot-out 4-2.

Even by Israel's high standards this was a sultry evening but there was no question of easing through the opening half-hour and Nina Ehegötz could have broken the deadlock inside 60 seconds. The opener was not long in coming. Jenny Gaugigl drove in a free-kick from deep and Rebecca Knaak got the run on Nathalie Björn to glance it into the corner.

There was no panic, and on 21 minutes Calle Barrling's team were level as Almqvist drove towards the box and, with the defence back-tracking, the midfielder rifled a shot inside the post. A pass from Linköping club-mate Blackstenius had released her, and the striker's pace and power caused problems all night. Just before she used both to good effect, rising to head in Anna Oskarsson's superb cross – goal No17 this campaign.

Sweden began the second period brightly, too, but slowly Germany came into it and just before the hour it was all square again as Ehegötz bundled in following a corner. Substitute Gier put Germany in the driving seat and that looked to be it, only for Blackstenius to latch onto Lotta Ökvist's long ball and find the net via keeper Lena Pauels and Michaela Brandenburg.

Blackstenius might have won it in normal time but Pauels stood up well, then squandered a golden opportunity in the extra half-hour, blazing over with only the keeper to beat. She and Sweden demonstrated far more poise in the shoot-out.

©IFA

Reaction
Calle Barrling, Sweden coach: This was the best youth game I've ever seen. It was fantastic. The way Germany came back was impressive – they made changes to personnel and tactics we couldn't cope with. Maybe I should have gone 4-5-1 earlier. We were stronger when I did.

Sweden's 2012 triumph
Sweden's 2012 triumph

It has been tight between us and Germany ever since we won in Turkey. When we beat them in the elite round that season it gave not only that team confidence, but me and Swedish football as a whole confidence that we can match Germany.

We practiced penalties yesterday. I told the players who were going to take the penalties, 'It's not you who are going to be the heroes, it's our goalkeeper'. Hopefully that took some pressure off them – they didn't look like they had any pressure.

Maren Meinert, Germany coach: I'm disappointed. We had two great teams here and a great game but one side has to lose. Still, with a game like that, with how we played in the second half and extra time ....

I was very pleased with how my team played but unfortunately we couldn't really deal with No9 [Blackstenius]. When we scored the third goal it looked like we had won the game but we conceded an unfortunate goal.

We must congratulate Sweden – they deserved to win it in the end. We gave all we had. We will look ahead to the next tournament and be better.

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