Third-place games aren’t usually worth your time. The battle between Sweden and England, however, showed just how competitive this Women’s World Cup has been.
Sweden grabbed third place at the Women’s World Cup against England on Saturday in a game that exceeded expectations for what is usually a dull and meaningless match.
After taking an early two-goal lead, Sweden looked as if they had paved a comfortable road towards a well-deserved third-place finish.
Sweden then doubled the score.
Game over? The drama was just about to start.
In the 32nd minute, England’s Ellen White scored, but the goal was pulled back following a VAR decision after it was determined she touched the ball with her hand.
For White, it was the second straight game where her goal was ruled invalid after her strike against the U.S. in the semifinals was determined to be just a foot offside.
The first half ended with Sweden up, 2-1, and in a strong position to win. England, however, had other plans. The Three Lionesses valiantly tried to pull themselves back into the game, but Sweden’s defense did a wonderful job preserving the scoreline.
England coach Phil Neville, speaking to BBC One, said “there was carry on from the semifinal, the emotion. The two goals sparked us into life and I don’t think I have seen us play better than we did after those first 20 minutes. We gave it our best shot, we fell short and we just have to make sure next time we are better.”
Despite the pulsating match, Neville, never one to mince words, concluded, “Well done to Sweden, but it is a nonsense game.”