Sweden moved up to top spot in Euro 2022 Group C with a 2-1 win over Switzerland at Bramall Lane.
Switzerland’s preparations for the game were hampered by a vomiting bug which forced eight players and 11 support staff into isolation.
Despite these issues, Nils Nielsen’s side defended effectively against their opponents’ frontline, only being undone by a Hanna Bennison late in the second half.
Inside nine minutes Switzerland thought they had been awarded a penalty, but following a VAR review referee Marta Huerta deemed Magdelena Eriksson’s coming together with Noelle Maritz unworthy of a spot kick.
In a quiet opening period it took 23 minutes for the first attempt at goal – and it fell to Sweden. Nathalie Bjorn kept the ball alive from a set piece, allowing Stina Blackstenius to loop a header straight into the grasp of Gaelle Thalmann.
Just after the half-hour mark Switzerland were almost gifted an opener. Ramona Bachmann seized upon a loose pass and raced through on goal, but she could not make clean contact with her shot.
In the only other real action before the break, Blackstenius saw a weak claim for a penalty of Sweden’s own turned down.
The favourites came out strongly after the interval, with Fridolina Rolfo fizzing a shot just wide after a few minutes and Blackstenius seeing her effort smothered by a determined Thalmann.
The pressure eventually paid off, with Rolfo smashing home after Kosovare had set her free with an incisive through ball.
Two minutes later, Switzerland flipped the script and who else would it be but Bachmann? The Paris Saint-Germain forward picked up Hedvig Lindahl’s punch and curled home an unstoppable drive to level things up.
Sweden kept pushing but were repelled by disciplined defending. They did almost grab a second goal when Thalmann spilled a cross, but Blackstenius’ goalbound strike was blocked in the area.
Switzerland then went close themselves. Coumba Sow arrived at the back post perfectly from a corner, only to see her stooping header blocked.
Switzerland were made to rue this missed chance not long after when substitute Hanna Bennison produced a wonder-strike to put Sweden ahead. The Everton youngster met a Rolfo’s stray pass on the edge of the box and unleashed a wondrous first-time effort that gave Thalmann no chance.
Three minutes from time, Sweden thought they had put the game beyond all doubt, only for a VAR review to chalk off Rebecka Blomqvist’s strike. Incredibly, Blomqvist then saw another goal ruled out – but her side held on easily to record their first win of the tournament.
All four Group C teams drew their opening game, so Sweden could be knocked off top spot if Netherlands beat Portugal well later this evening – or visa versa.
Here are your player ratings…
Hedvig Lindahl (GK) – 5/10 – Made a hash of clearing a cross in the second half with Bachmann punishing her emphatically.
Hanna Glas (RB) – 7/10 – Aggressive in the tackle and added something in the final third with her overlaps.
Amanda Ilestedt (CB) – 7/10 – Timed her tackles perfectly all game.
Nathalie Bjorn (CB) – 7/10 – So composed. Very rarely gave the ball away when her side played out from the back.
Magdalena Eriksson (LB) – 5/10 – Rightly saw a VAR review go in her favour, but set Bachmann through with a misplaced pass.
Flippa Angeldahl (CM) – 5/10 – A bit untidy in her passing at times. The first Swedish player to be subbed.
Caroline Seger (CM) – 6/10 – Lacked the legs but made up for it with her excellent reading of the game.
Kosovare Asllani (CM) – 8/10 – Looked bright throughout and set up Rolfo for the opener. Sweden’s creative hub for sure.
Lina Hurtig (RF) – 5/10 – The quietest of the Swedish front three. It was little surprise to see her taken off before her two colleagues.
Stina Blackstenius (ST) – 6/10 – Was a real handful with her intelligent movement and runs in behind.
Fridolina Rolfo (LF) – 8/10 – Always direct and swung in some decent crosses. Finished really well for the goal and then set up the winner.
SUB: Hanna Bennison (CM) – 8/10 – Came on and grabbed a fine winner. What a moment.
SUB: Johanna Rytting Kaneryd (RF) – 6/10 – Added energy to the ranks.
SUB: Rebecka Blomqvist (ST) – 6/10 – Denied a well-taken goal by the offside flag. She then saw another one ruled out. What a day.
Gaelle Thalmann (GK) – 6/10 – Made several good stops to keep the scores level early on. Fell hard after collecting a cross in the second half and perhaps should have gone off. She battled on and was well beaten for the winner.
Noelle Maritz (RB) – 5/10 – Tried and failed to buy a penalty in the first half. Passing could have been better.
Viola Calligaris (CB) – 6/10 – Assertive defending at times. Played a key role in Switzerland’s disciplined display for the most part.
Luana Buhler (CB) – 7/10 – As above really, though she did look a bit better when she was distributing from the back.
Eseosa Aigbogun (LB) – 6/10 – Fairly solid but she did not looked composed on the ball, particularly when put under any pressure.
Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic (RM) – 6/10 – Used her experience to draw a couple of fouls and relieve the pressure.
Lia Walti (CM) – 7/10 – Provided Switzerland with some bite in the middle. She kept them ticking in possession too.
Sandy Maendly (CM) – 6/10 – Battled bravely in midfield before she was forced off with injury. Hopefully it isn’t a bad one.
Geraldine Reuteler (LM) – 6/10 – Got up and down. Defensively robust without offering much on the ball.
Coumba Sow (AM) – 5/10 – Had a lot to do off the ball and remained disciplined. Not a lot to report in an attacking sense.
Ramana Bachmann (ST) – 8/10 – Dropped deep to try and get her team clicking offensively. Took her goal extremely well.
SUB: Rachel Rinast (LB) – 6/10
SUB: Nadine Riesen (LM) – 6/10
SUB: Sandrine Mauron (CM) – 6/10
SUB: Fabienne Humm (ST) – N/A